Especially when you have a young family, it’s so crucial to ensure that you get to spend enough time with them around your work. But as a photographer, the amount of work that you put in will often directly correlate to how much money you make. If you want to support and provide for your family, that means being able to spend a lot of time working. So the more time you spend with them, the less productive you are, right? Well, not always. Here are five ways you can maximize your productivity at the same time as seeing your family more.
- Increase your rates
Don’t worry about losing clients if this happens – run the math and you will see that if you have less clients but earn more on each, you can still come out with a higher profit. This means doing less work to make the same amount of money, giving you more time to spend with your family.
Let’s take an example. Say you are currently charging $200 for a day’s session, and working four days a week. That makes $800 a week, which is what you currently need to get by. Now let’s say that you bring your daily charge up to $300 – it could be a big leap for some of your existing clients, and they might not all be able to carry on doing business with you. Let’s say you can only manage to fill three days a week of sessions now. That would still work out to $900 a week, which gives you more profit with less time spent in the studio!
Don’t be afraid to increase your rates. One top photographer likes to give the advice that whenever someone buys your highest-priced package, that’s when you should increase your rates. Charge what you feel you are worth, and not a single penny less. Remember that with experience, your worth should continue to increase.
- Organize your days hourly
If you struggle to stay on track and get everything done within your allotted working hours, then it’s time to set up a daily working schedule. Grab a piece of paper, and along one side, write out all of the hours of the day, starting from when you intend to wake up and ending at the time you would like to finish working. Take all of the tasks that you need to do and assign them a one-hour slot each. For example, checking and responding to emails could be the first slot of the day. If it takes you less than an hour to complete a task, then this is great news and means you are getting ahead of yourself – which means an early finish.
This schedule idea works in two ways. First, you ensure that you are never biting off more than you can chew with your goals for the day. Second, you become accountable for how you spend your time. If your cut-off point is when the kids come home from school, then you know that procrastinating or taking too long over one task could mean missing out on time with them. When you know exactly what you have to do and when, it will be easier to stay on track and be there ready to relax and have fun when the kids get back. This means more time with your family and a higher level of productivity.
- Ask for help
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it. This could come in a number of forms. Perhaps you spend all day shooting or editing, then finish your work day only to find the cooking and cleaning waiting for you. Even if you work from home and your partner does not, they might still be able to lend a hand to ensure that everything gets done a bit quicker.
You can also ask for help in the form of bringing on a staff member. A personal assistant or photographic assistant can lighten the load in a lot of ways. They might be able to answer emails and field phone calls for you, as well as chasing up invoices or looking over your accounts. Ordering equipment and props, sourcing locations, even taking care of advertising or social media – an assistant might be just what you need.
And how about speeding up your post-production process? You can do that by using Photoshop actions, which take care of the work you need to do in just a few clicks. Sure, you know how to do it all yourself – but why spend hours painstakingly correcting something by hand when there is an action which can take care of it in a number of seconds? When the end result is the same (or even better) than what you could achieve manually, it just doesn’t make sense to not use actions. Save yourself a lot of Photoshop time and go spend those hours with your family instead.
- Plan the things you want
If you have certain goals for how you want to spend your time, you need to plan for them. There’s no use in simply sighing and wishing you had more time – you have to really work out how you can do it.
Let’s say you currently need to work eight hours a day, six days a week to make your business viable, but you decide that you want to spend more time with your children on the weekend. How could you plan to make that happen? You could set out a structured plan for how to bring in more profit, so that you only need to work five days a week. You could start working nine hours a day, which gives you only a three-hour day necessary by the start of the weekend. You could plan out how to reduce your expenses so that you do not need to earn as much money. Everything that you do will add up to help you reach your goals.
If something doesn’t seem possible now, plan out how you can get there – and it will be.
- Turn off your phone
It may sound counter-productive, but stepping away from work can actually help you get things done quicker. If you set the times of your business and stick to them – no checking your emails or answering your phone, no bookings out of hours, and no compromises – then you will be able to spend that time exclusively with your family. Once you have this division in place, you will find that things work more smoothly. If your clients understand that you have set hours only, they will stop trying to call or email you at all hours of the day and night. You can structure your business more carefully, allowing a separation of work and home life which is beneficial on both sides.
How do you boost your productivity? Let us know through the comments section below.