Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stress - Free Productivity :: Part 2

Last week I wrote about being overwhelmed, and how I was in a constant frenzy of trying to “get things done”.  As promised, I’m sharing a few simple changes that helped me. 

1. Chill Dude.
I am pretty type A in how I hate wasting time, plan a million things, try to do things efficiently, and so on. I recently read an article describing the type A person and was exhausted just reading it! I finally realized I don’t have to be a perfectionist about every little thing. I don’t always need a list. I needed to chill! So, that was step one. It's amazing how much it can help when you let yourself off the hook.

2. Work smarter, not harder.
By August I was working one less job. Even though I only worked 9-11 hours a week with that job, it is amazing what a huge difference it made when I didn’t have it anymore.  Now my mornings and weekends were “free”, which gave me the time to grow my business.

3. Start the day the best way.
Waking up early, reading my Bible, and working out first thing makes my entire day so much more productive. I forced myself to start getting up at a decent time. The later I sleep, the lazier I am throughout the day. Early morning is also about the only time I can read my Bible without my mind racing in a thousand different directions. Working out first thing gets it out of the way and gives a feeling of accomplishment. I like that a lot. 

4. Make a Schedule.
I started to structure my mornings very strategically.  I have a fairly strict schedule that I hold myself to.  It does change a bit from week to week, but the general idea is the same.  I have time slots for responding to emails, returning calls, editing photos, or working through books.  I usually try to plan everything out the night before.

5. Keep Learning.
I’m not good at reading books. I can think of a million other things I rather to do instead, but I bought and started working through business books. I’ve been learning so much, and I’m getting better at the book-reading thing! 
Podcasts are my new favorite way of learning. I used to watch (more like listen to) shows while I edited or worked on spreadsheets. With podcasts I can keep learning while I work. 

So there you have it! Now obviously I realize not everyone can quit a job or have their mornings and weekends free to plan, but find ways to be smarter with your time. Try to get to bed a little earlier so you can wake up a little earlier. Don’t stress when you can’t do it all. Remember people are more important than your to-do list!

If you have something to add...I'd love to hear it! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tim and Meagan :: Engaged

Today I'm sharing Tim and Meagan's engagement photos! As you'll see below, this photo session was full of fun! Photographing this couple's engagement and wedding photos seemed so easy. They were so comfortable in front of the camera, and just really fun to hang out with. Tim and I grew up at the same church and were friends as kids. Meagan and I worked together at the camp coffee shop a few years ago. It was crazy when I found out they were dating! I was so happy to be their photographer. Soon I'll share some photos from their wedding day.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stress-Free Productivity

I have probably mentioned this before, but I love productivity. I  always have! As a young homeschooler, I had my list of lessons and homework to get done, and loved marking things off of that list. When I was in middle school, I remembering asking one of my sisters (who was in high school) if she was almost done with her school for the day. She said “you’re never done for the day in highschool”.  She meant that you didn’t just do lessons and the assigned homework for the day. There were research papers that took several days to complete. There were terms and questions to memorize for the week. Math took longer to complete, and there was always a test to study for. I remember thinking that was SO depressing and that it sounded horrible. I didn’t want to be doing school all day and have more to finish at night. When do you get to play??

A few years later I knew what she was talking about; first with school, then with work. I worked my day job and came home to edit pictures, write a blog post, or respond to emails. My off days were spent catching up.  I started to think a 9-5 job sounded great. I wanted to come home and have nothing else work related to do.

I actually struggled for quite a while feeling like I just couldn’t get everything done. At the beginning of last year, I worked four part time jobs and was constantly stressed out. Whenever I complained about not being able to get things done, my sister would say “just quit something!” It really was my own fault.

Last August I started to make several adjustments that changed all of that considerably. The changes were very simple, and at first I didn’t even realize that they were helping. Somehow I had time to meet friends for coffee. I was able to enjoy time with family without thinking about all the work that needed to be done. I wasn’t constantly stressed out, and I even had time for the Sunday school class I was teaching. I was ENJOYING life!

I’ve got to run for now, but next week I’m going to share some tips that helped. Maybe it’ll be helpful to someone else who’s feeling like the work will never get done!