For any of you who have tried to change current habits, you know that it can be hard. Like trying to stay away from the cookie jar type hard. We try and try so hard but then we are left with one thing…guilt. Ever since last Fall, there have been some habits that I have begun implementing that I think have really changed my perspective on productivity. As business owners we know how difficult being productive and motivated can really be. I mean let’s be honest, our bosses can be a real pain in the butt sometimes – lol. One of the biggest photographer tips I can give you is that you have to want to make the change, to implement change.
We all have some habits that we have developed that may not be the best for us. Habits that leave us feeling more stressed, unmotivated, and/or unproductive. Hey, it happens and I’m not saying it’s your fault! It’s a habit that we have been conditioned to believe that this is the “right” way. I’ve fallen victim to this as well, so don’t worry you’re not alone.
The most important thing that you remember is that you have to:
Be Aware Of The Habit To Change It
First things first, you have to be aware of the habit to change it. Ever since I was aware of some of the bad habits that I was doing, I’ve been implementing strategies and practices to help break these habits. This is the key folks! I’m happy to report, that they are working! So I’m giving you the lowdown on what healthy habits I have formed to break old habits. As well as popular habits that I tweaked to best fit my needs & goals. In turn, these habits have made me more productive and motivated within my own business. And can hopefully help you with yours!
Admit Your Role In Forming The Bad Habits
In order to start implementing change, you have to admit the role that you played when forming some of those bad habits. I know, it’s not really the thing that you want to do because who wants to admit they’re wrong? NOONE. However, this small but mighty step is the most important step to moving forward in the right direction. Once you have taken this first step, you are then ready for phase two.
Try And Identify The Root Of The Problem
You’re then going to want to try your very hardest to identify the root of the problem. Whatever bad habit that you have formed, where do you think that it came from? It can be easy to blame X, Y, and Z for all of your problems. However, if you have yet to know A, B, and C then you can never truly fix the problem.
Hearing the words “root of the problem” may deter some of you. However, I encourage you to look deep within your habits, schedule, and own personality and determine the WHY behind all of them. This again is another difficult step to do. It will be LIFE-CHANGING once you have actually nailed down the root cause.
I Kept Waking Up Feeling Like A Failure
I have to admit, I fell into the pattern of waking up and basically feeling like a failure within my own business. The never-ending to-do lists, the messed up sleep schedule and never feeling productive really messed up how I viewed myself and my self-confidence within my business.
This sucked… bad.
My sleep schedule was all over the place. I was going to bed late and sleeping in, and especially in the winter months, I felt like I was getting nothing done. Ugh, it was the worst. This to-do list of mine was growing out of the wazoo. I had no idea how to fix feeling like I was being the most unproductive business owner in the world. Until I found the perfect answer! Here is how I fixed it.
I Created Two Different To-Do Lists
Something so easy and so simple, how could I have not figured this out sooner?!
- My master list is basically my brain dump list. All of the things that I want to do in my business are put on this list. Courses I want to release, updates I want to do, and house projects I want to work on, are all put in this master list.
- My daily list is more everyday tasks and ones that I know I am capable to complete within the day.
What this essentially does is helps me in keeping my “big picture” tasks in check. Without giving me that overwhelming, looming feeling that I’m not getting anything done. So how exactly do I do this?
Utilizing Planning Platforms: Trello
Trello is a great way that keeps my business and personal life in check. You’re able to create separate boards and checklists that help keep everything that you want to be done/goals that you have/etc all in one consolidated place. I use Trello for social media planning, communicating with my assistant, managing my wedding workflows, and more. It’s accessible, easy, and user-friendly. Which is why it’s one of my most-used and highly favored software to use on the reg.
Choose Your Top Three
Some of you may have heard of the “top three” rule which essentially is choosing 3 things that you have to get done that day. Whether it be a gallery that has to be edited or sending out those emails that you have been dreading for a while. That way you know that no matter what, as long as you finish those three tasks for the day you are on the right track.
While that worked for me for a while, I slightly tweaked this to better fit me and my own goals. So rather than choosing 3 things that I have to get done that day, I write down 3 things that will help me in bettering my business each day. Whether that be sending out an email blast to better connect with my community (hey friends!) or even podcast planning! These things push me in the direction that I want to go in which makes me feel 10x better than writing only 3 things that I need to get done for that day. Think of this more like a form of self-care than a habit you are trying to form.
Make Your To-Do List The Night Before
I also try to make my to-do lists the night before if I can. That way once I wake up I have already set myself up for success and I don’t have to worry about that pre-sleep anxiety that we can all get from a never-ending to-do list.
Periodically Check Your To-Do List
If you can, I always try to recommend revisiting your to-do list before the work day is over. So several hours before my work day is over, I will check through my daily to-do list and see what else is left for me to do. This not only helps me stay on track but supports me in making sure I can thoroughly complete those tasks before I “clock out” for the night. As entrepreneurs, we know that clocking out is NEVER easy, but this is the step in the right direction.
Even if you have not been able to complete all of your tasks, even if you can tackle a good chunk of your list you can leave confidently knowing you tried your very best to get them done.
Incorporate Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is one of those things that I had been doing for a while but I never knew the name of it… until NOW! Think of it as doing something that you have to do with something you get to do
Such as working out and listening to your new podcast episode – something you have to do which is working out to fuel your body and something you get to do which is listen to your podcast. It’s essentially like having your cake and eating it too.
You Need To Break The Routine
We have all fallen victim at some point or another to the habit loop. You are in a constant loop of having your cue, then routine or “habit” and then your reward. A common example is, your alarm. It goes off, that is your cue. You then hit snooze, that is your routine. Then your reward is getting an extra 5 minutes of sleep. Hence the habit loop! So in order for you to make changes and see REAL results, you need to fix the habit loop and routine.
Photographer Tips | Changing Habits to Increase Productivity
While I could go on and on about these photographer tips and totally geek out about it… you can listen to more tips and tricks on how to increase productivity on my newest podcast episode on Clearly Focused!
Photographer Tips | Changing Habits to Increase Productivity
And just remember, you are not alone. We all form habits, some worse than others, and the most important thing is recognizing those habits and putting in the work to change them! If you like reading all about these photographer tips, then feel free to check out some other photographer tips and resources here!