If you're just joining in, welcome! If you're reading this blog post, please know, I am hopeful that some of these tips will help you succeed in your personal life, as well as in your career, as you organize both, separately! In Part 1, I admitted the trials I faced, being a new mom, working as a teacher and for myself, as a photographer. In last week's Part 2, I explained how setting boundaries and hours in business is beneficial.
This post will be the final part of the work-life-balance series. This week is all about organizing thoughts and delegating tasks.
TIP # 1: FIGURE OUT WHAT'S TAKING UP YOUR TIME.
Try timing yourself completing a task. Set a timer and be realistic. I like to make the best use of time. Give me five minutes and I'll probably take six, but I bet have something crossed off of a list!
Figure out when you most productive. For me, it's the morning and the freshness of a new day that motivates me. I don't want to work late into the night when I could be spending time with the family.
At home, I try to have a little bit of a routine, daily. I hate waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes, so before bed, I make sure to have the dishwasher loaded and the sink clean. This helps my morning time become work time, instead of house cleaning before I head to the studio. Also, I am totally sounding like a mom here, but making our bed in the morning helps my mood when I get ready for bed. Our bedroom looks nicer and that helps me relax, too!
TIP # 2: DELEGATE THE TASKS YOU CANNOT COMPLETE AT WORK.
This tip sounds expensive, but it can be such an investment! Write down each step from the time a client first inquires, all the way through completing the client's experience. Is there anything that you can delegate?
It was a headache to take care of bookkeeping and although my software does most of it for me, I didn't have the time to sit down and reconcile my bank accounts or run reports. I hired someone, whom I trusted and had a little background in this area, to take care of some of those things. Her work saved me accountant fees, which could be thousands of dollars. Right there, I saved money.
I also hired someone, who works behind the scenes, helping me with social content and marketing ideas. She also lays out my monthly newsletter after we meet and discuss upcoming events or blog posts. I don't know if I could have afforded the help a couple years ago, but now that social media is a strong part of my marketing, it's important and I can see the benefits. This sort of marketing is part of the job, and clears my plate a little, but still gives me some control!
TIP # 3: FIGURE OUT THE TASKS YOU NEED HELP WITH AT HOME
CLEANING. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I hired a cleaning person when I was working two jobs. She comes twice a month, and is super flexible with our schedules, if we need to postpone. I like to clean, but taking five to six hours to clean my house wasn't feasible, when I could take two or three sessions during that time, or get a big chunk of a wedding edited. I've learned how valuable time is and this was an area that I could delegate and appreciate after a long day at work!
GROCERY. I also take full advantage of Wal-Mart Grocery! If you're not familiar with this service, it's grocery pick-up that means I set a time, shop online, and pick up, all without taking my toddler into the grocery store! I actually went grocery shopping a month ago, spent more than I needed to, and after two hours, I was one crabby mom when I got home! Grocery pick-up will probably become more common, but it's something that I can save so much time and money on!
COOKING. Ok, this area is my biggest weakness. I am not a good cook. My husband does most of the cooking and he's really good at it! I hate cooking, actually. It takes me so long because I don't know how to do it well! However, I did get some Crockpot Recipe Books for Christmas and I can make a couple slow-cooker meals, and that is a time-saver as well. I would love to try out some delivered ingredient food service, like Hello Fresh. I have heard great things, but I haven't looked into this yet. If it's expensive, we will probably rely on the Crock Pot, or the Golden Arches!
TIP #4: FIND A BUSINESS BFF, OR A LOT OF THEM!
Go to a workshop. If you can't find the time or the funding yet, find a mentor who you can relate to and read their blogs or see if they offer a mentoring program over the phone or online. Over the years, I have grown a relationship with a few photographers whom I've admired because they were great at what they did, but as my life changed, their advice through blogs or workshops spoke my language! You can read more in another blog post, about photographer mentors who I found helpful. When I became a mom, I loved learning from mom-photographers because they were easy to relate to.
I try to attend a workshop once a year. I prefer to go away, and make it a small trip, alone! This year, I have decided to take a couple online, rather than choose only one to travel to. Last year, I attended Heidi Hope Photography's In-Studio Workshop in Rhode Island. The flight, the hotel, and the experience were so nice! I ate Chinese food in bed each night, just because I could! I came back, refreshed with business ideas, but refreshed as a mommy and wife, too! It was good for my soul, and my family!