I am dreamer.
I truly believe I will fulfill my dreams in my head & my heart.
My calendar and clock would disagree. Some day, I will have the means to hire a housecleaner or perhaps an assistant.
Some day, my children will be in school & I will have more time for working then…. Let’s get real, the minute I have a task off my plate or more time to myself, I’m going to fill it with more tasks, goals, dreams, & fluff.
It’s not that this article is going to give you all the time in the world, but hopefully give you an in-your-face way to see the reality of the time you can give to your responsibilities.
Whether you are child-free, working a full time job + your photography business, working exclusively your photography business, or most of the time working from home with your children, like me, knowing how much time you truly have for work is key.
Well, in my house, even with a little organization it always feels like chaos, but it’s easier to turn my mind off when I know what I am supposed to be doing during a certain time. After revisiting this chart, I also have cut back on sessions, increased my pricing, & have come to an understanding with how much time I can truly dedicate to work.
Why not just work on the fly? Our to-do lists are never ending. I think we can all agree there. Eventually, if you keep taking on more than you can handle, your clients, your family, & even yourself will feel the harsh truth that you are not giving them the attention they deserve.
And yes, I say yourself too, because if you lose yourself from giving all of your time to others & your responsibilities, you will start to feel physically & mentally drained. I know you know what I mean – those late nights staying up til 3 am working on editing & blog posts & cleaning your kitchen can only carry you so long.
HERE’S WHERE THE COLOR-CODED TIME MANAGEMENT SHEET COMES INTO PLAY.
I start with a blank Excel sheet. It sure looks like there’s a lot of time when it’s blank!
I add colored sections to this chart in order of priority as I go.
Green. This time works around my husband’s work schedule & is the only time we have as just the 4 of us. This time includes our family dinnertime, baths for the kids, when Dave or I can squeeze a shower in since the other parent is home for the kids, and when we just play & enjoy our babies. This time can also be shared with friends & family. I make damn sure I do not give away this time for business unless I absolutely have to.
Peach. Dave is working & I’m at home with our 2 year & 5 month old sweetie pies. It is not fair to them to see my back at a computer all day. This time is designated for all things mommy: diapers, snacks, crafty activities, playtime, play dates, & more diapers. This is also a time for a balancing act between giving them my full attention and trying to clean or cook dinner. Ain’t no easy role here!
Purple. There was a time when this would have been first priority. This section is a mix of time for myself & my husband. It’s a time to rest my brain & hopefully enjoy peace & quiet as the kids should be asleep. I'll be honest and tell you this time often includes editing... but that's part of the fun, so it can't really count as work all that much, right?
Blue. Countless times I am wishing for more blue on my chart. I love working for Colorvale® & my own photography business. With this chart, I can realistically see the amount of hours I am able to put into working so I can be sure to never over promise & under deliver.
Pink. If Levi is napping and I can throw Kendall in front of the tv for 30 minutes, I can sneak a little work in. More often than not, my kids do NOT nap simultaneously, but occasionally they do. So this color represents hope: hope that I can accomplish something other than changing yet another diaper. In my Planner, I will add the things I’d like to get done, not necessarily must-dos.
I guess you can’t really “borrow” time, but this chart can’t be perfect. Some nights, I do have to give up a little family time to get things done – I try to designate one night when Dave is home to do so. Sometimes, he has his own responsibilities & needs a night too (mowing the lawn in the summer, changing he brakes on a vehicle, whatever). You can see those nights are labeled as ‘Marie Night’ or ‘Dave Night.’ We try to keep these pretty consistent so we have a general idea of how our week will look.
Make this chart work for you.
My chart looked very different before I had kids. I would have time blocked off exclusively for exercising or running errands. Now my days are fulfilled with all things mommy hood. I challenge you to create your own. Start by adding the things most important & things you cannot change – each with their own color. You will know what tasks get completed within your own color boxes.
Then, think about how long it takes you to do your tasks: conduct a session, edit, a blog post, and so on… What areas of your chart would you like to have more time for? Do you see any blank spaces or pockets of time where you can add a little time for business (something simple like returning calls or checking emails)?
Perhaps during your lunch break at work, so that at 8 p.m. you can have some, as I’d call it, Wine Time? Hint: Carry your Workflow Book so you can work on-the-go in the little bits of time that may pop up. If it takes you 45 minutes to do one blog post, is it realistic for you to have a blog post every other day? If it takes you an hour drive round trip, 90 minutes to conduct a session, 3 hours to edit a session, is it realistic for you to hold 3 sessions per week?
Makes ya think, doesn't it? Now it's time to start taking control & stop neglecting certain areas of your life.
This chart is a starting point for your goals. It feels great to achieve your goals & motivates you to continue. Goals should always be a challenging and a little out of reach, but now with your chart you can make sure you are setting attainable goals!
And then, of course you didn’t think I’d finish without this little plug, did you? You need to stay on track by using your Photographer’s Planner by Colorvale® to keep it all straight!