Growing Your Business AND Enjoying the Summer

June 21, 2016

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

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!

________________________

** 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!!

 

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