Productivity Tips from Maine Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

Summer in Maine is just unmatched. It’s what makes the blizzards and below freezing winter temperatures so worth it- knowing that summer is on the way! (And if you ask me, I think Fall is even better!) And the first thing I notice about summer’s arrival? All of a sudden, sitting at my desk is often the absolute last thing I place I feel like being. When it’s “vacationland” weather out my window, and I am staring at photoshop & mailchimp- suddenly working from home is such a struggle! Most days my hustle wants nothing more than to float out the window and be found sunbathing at the beach! 

Friends often ask me, “How do you motivate yourself to get work done? If I worked from home I would never get anything done!”

Is it always easy? Definitely not. But honestly the answer comes down to one simple answer…

I remember what it was like to NOT work from home. 

I remember what it was like to hate my job. To dread that waitressing shift. To hate CLEANING TOILETS. To feel unappreciated at that hospital. To dread hours of commuting to jobs that meant nothing to me outside of paying my bills. There were no goals. There was no freedom. I had one job where you needed leave the office to run an errand at lunch time- and it felt like such a treat to leave and get outside that we had to share the task amongst the office because it wasn’t fair for one girl to get to do it everyday. I felt like I never got outside. I never had a weekend off. I was miserable.

Outside of photography, nannying is the only job that I have ever felt any fulfillment doing, so when it comes down to staying motivated, it’s because I deeply appreciate the privilege of it all. What drives me to get work done when I don’t necessarily FEEL like getting the work done- is remembering life before this. And it fires me to hustle so I can keep it. I want to feel like it’s January in June. I want to be spending each work day thinking and acting strategically, not just existing! I really don’t want to waste the second six months of the year.

But I also want to enjoy the summer. Because I want a business that serves my LIFE and not a life that serves my BUSINESS. So how can I do both? This has been the question on my mind ever since perfect ocean breezy temps landed at 65 around here. How can I still grow my business, launch new projects, book more clients, and reach those huge goals- and STILL have beach days? and STILL have lunch with friends in the Old Port? and STILL get out on the boat with my family? and STILL plan that hiking trip? and STILL have a LIFE?!

I need to get more done, in less time. Period. And stop WASTING any minutes of my office hours. 

Shanna Skidmore has been sharing a #takebackthesummer challenge. Normally I don’t jump on such things, but Shanna is one of the few creative industry leaders out there that I hands down want to learn anything I can from- so I wasn’t going to miss it! She structured a 7 day challenge on getting your summer back- getting back to what really matters to you this season- and removing the obstacles that are keeping you from it.

It inspired me to share this post with you because I have been finding that overall productivity, especially as a business owner, for me, has not been this ONE magic app, (even though Planoly and Trello and Honeybook are my current top contenders!) or this ONE huge schedule change- but it’s the really small things. Little things that if I do them everyday, or as often as I can, my productivity soars and I then have more time to be outside enjoying the summer!

  1. Declutter: This honestly helps me to be productive more than anything else. Simply taking 30 minutes and doing a declutter sweep around my office, house, and car- does WONDERS for my ability to focus during my office hours. File those receipts, throw away the junk mail, get the dishes cleaned and out of the sink, throw the five paper coffee cups in your car away (no? just me?)- you get the idea! Time and time again, even if I am on a time crunch, even if I am looking at a todo list that is days worth long, and it must get done in just hours, taking that time to declutter and prepare my work space, rather then jumping right in, does so much! For me, decluttering as quickly as I can makes it less overwhelming. Set a timer if you have to! I have found the best time to do this is the end of the day so that when I wake up in the morning I am ready to go- with a clean desk- and clean kitchen counters! (Is this what if feels like to be a real grown up?)
  2. Distractions: You’ve heard it before, and goodness I need to be SO MUCH better at this too. Close that Facebook tab when you are trying to get your blog posts written. If you can’t through editing 3 images without scrolling Instagram, turn your wifi off. I used to put Netflix on when I was editing- and I noticed that even though I felt more entertained, it was taking me so much longer. Now I listen to creative business podcasts- or youtube interviews with entrepreneur leaders I admire. For me this sets the atmosphere for getting stuff done, and hustling during the time I have set aside to hustle. I recently heard an interview with Arianna Huffington (the co-founder and editor in chief at the Huffington Post) and she shared that she has two phones- one of them has no data plan- and that was her family phone that she used on non-work hours. So when the workday is over, she is available for her family to reach- but work stays at work- with no distractions- and this helps her to truly rest when she’s home. Now while not everyone can justify the cost of a second phone, it was a huge reminder of the importance of keeping work at work. That’s not always easy when you work from home, but I try to stay aware of how much I am thinking about business decisions & distractions during my set time of rest- because then when I come back to the office- I am ready and motivated because I truly had time to shut my brain down and rest! I have learned the hard way that keeping my business brain going and “half-working” into the evening or planned time off does NOT get more done, it just makes me feel more drained!
  3. Discover the hang-ups: Take a look at your business and ask yourself, what isn’t working? What is taking WAY too much of my time that really shouldn’t? What task desperately needs a system? For me in this season, it has been email management. So I am really excited to dive into my crazy talented friend Kathryn of Creme Brands Inbox Rescue Webinar teaching this week! I recognized that email was taking me too much time, it has been a huge feeling of stress and overwhelm in my day, and I knew I needed to take time to create a better system- so that my work day is more productive- so more gets done in less time- so my business can still be growing while I still get to enjoy the summer! What are your current hang ups? What’s taking too long? How can you make it more efficient?

I hope this inspires you start being more productive with the time you have, so you can grow your business while still enjoying the summer!

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** I have been absolutely loving the excitement and feedback over the Sales Guide that I released last week! This guide is a resource for the portrait photographer who is looking to see their work printed in the hands of their clients, sharing my experience in doing so without a studio, and fitting for both local clients and the families I travel too as well!

I’ve decided to extend the launch sale for just 5 more photographers, ($50 off!!) AND if you have purchased the Sales guide I’ll be personally inviting you to a FREE PRIVATE WEBINAR with me where I’ll be sharing additional tips, behind the scenes, AND you can ask questions live!

I am SO excited about this idea! If you purchased the guide you will receive an exclusive registration invitation by email at the end of the week! See you there!!

 

Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n

I am so thrilled to finally be sharing more favorite images from the styled concept shoots at The Fount Workshop from this past May! As I mentioned in this post here, one of my favorite parts of the venue we chose this year, was the variety it provided for our styled concept shoots. We practically squealed with delight when I walked into a bedroom with white walls, white floors, white bedding, and the most incredible window light seeping in.

We knew it was a perfect spot to photograph Joanna and her little one. Alma did SO well for our shoot, and as you can see in the images below she was so close to falling asleep on her mama- but I imagine the view of 20 photographers behind me may have been a bit distracting! I photographed them both for a few minutes at the beginning of the shoot, using both digital and medium format black and white film, and I am sharing a few of my favorites with you here today.

Hair & Makeup by Molly Stilley | Her Dress: Ralph Lauren (currently available for resale! Contact for details.)

Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n Yarmouth Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n IX3A1425bgP i n Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n IX3A1394bP i n Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com P i n

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To learn more about booking your Maine Maternity, Newborn, or Family Portrait Session, or the popular Motherhood Collective, contact Tiffany via the Connect link in the menu, or email directly at TIFFANY@TIFFANYFARLEY.COM

Tiffany is local to the Portland, Maine area and is currently booking 2016 Sessions.

Tiffany Farley frequently travels for maternity, newborn, and family portrait sessions and has clients from Bar Harbor to San Francisco.  To find out details regarding her upcoming travel dates to a city near you including Southern Connecticut, Rye New York, Prince Edward Island, Iceland, Acadia National Park- or to book a custom travel session, please contact for more information.

 

If you’ve been paying attention so far in 2016- you’ve probably heard that Snapchat is the new social media to utilize as a business owner. (Who would have EVER thought?!) I admit I was really hesitant at first. I thought to myself, there is no way that I can handle another social channel, and honestly, not having a clue how to use it kept me from jumping in for a long time. I kept thinking, THIS is how my parents must have felt when they joined Facebook. (You’re supposed to do what? You add friends? What’s a status? I don’t get it.)

And I certainly didn’t feel like putting crazy animal faces on my selfies was in anyway a brilliant marketing method to reach my ideal clients. Am I right? 

Then I got a perspective shift. I love learning from other entrepreneurs, and various creative business podcasts are my favorite to listen to throughout the work day- especially on days where I just don’t feel like being very productive- it totally helps me get my head back in the game! I’ve been listening to Gary Vaynerchuck for a couple years now (disclaimer: listen at your own risk! Not always the cleanest language- but I’ve learned SO much from him so I just filter the good from his content- and let me tell you- it really is often very good!)

I recently listened to a video interview where he was talking about the value of consumer attention. He used the brilliant example of TV commercials. He asked the audience- if for some rare moment you are actually watching TV in real life time, which hardly no one does anymore, and even then it’s often because you probably dropped your remote and can’t find it to fast forward, (my LIFE) and an actual commercial comes on- what’s the first thing you usually do?

You grab your phone and start scrolling. Huge industries and companies are still spending billions of dollars on TV commercials and no one is watching them because marketing for today is just not the same as marketing even 5 years ago. Consumer attention is more valuable than ever. Business owners need to start thinking outside the box.

And I understood it more. It’s not about the crazy filters. (You will get addicted just the same, trust me) But it’s about people wanting to see something that is real. They want to connect to what is authentic. As consumers we want more behind the scenes. We want to see the process. We want to get to know the person behind the brand. I got thinking about the business owners I had begun to follow on Snapchat, and hands down knew that what they were doing, just simply sharing real life with me, was working because I definitely felt way more connected to them as a business and a person than I did just scrolling by their pretty, curated image on Instagram. It took me a level deeper in how I felt about them because I was seeing glimpses of their LIFE.

So I started trying a bit more on Snapchat. Slowly. Showing a mix of editing sneak peaks and office behind the scenes, to the unedited “real life” that never makes the Instagram cut. I still need to be thinking of ways to be more creative with it, and learning it better, but I just came across this feature that was part of a Spring update that I am totally loving and wish I had found it sooner, so I wanted to share about it with you!

One of the fun things about Snapchat, and why it is growing increasingly popular by the day, is the opportunity for genuine interaction. (You know, that whole SOCIAL part of social media) There have been many times where I want to comment on someone’s snap- or respond. There have been times where I wanted to ask for feedback- but the only way I saw you could do this was by sending a full direct snap or text chatting in the direct messaging.

BUT. If you open your direct private messaging, on your type tool bar to the right you will see a video icon. Now if you just press that once, it “calls” the other person for a Facetime feature of sorts. But if you hold the video icon down, you will see a circle pop up, it gives you the ability to send a quick, small circle video response in your private chat thread. The video is cropped to a small circle, and it’s not a full snap, so there’s less pressure! And it’s so fun!

This feature creates an incredible opportunity to not only better build relationships with your Snapchat friends, but you can answer questions directly, efficiently, and with the signature of Snapchat- a fast, personal, real time feel. And it’s much quicker than typing your response!

Hope this was a helpful tip! Looking for other ways to creatively use Snapchat as a business owner? The Rising Tide Society blogged about how to create custom geofilters on Snapchat this week- check it out HERE!

I’ll see you over on Snapchat, Happy Friday!