Business Lessons: Taking Time Off

A little blogkeeping: For me, some of the most interesting posts on other photographers' blogs are the ones about things they've learned while running a business. I get business questions from time to time and I thought I'd start another series to address some of my "aha" moments. I'll keep my FAQ posts strictly about photography and Business Lessons will be about ... business! :) Feel free to e-mail me questions at any time ( My perspective obviously isn't the only one or the right one, but hopefully I can help at least one person along the way. Having worked in an office for the first five years of my professional life, I got pretty used to structure. I had a structured work day, I knew I had weekends off and I had a certain number of PTO hours set aside for my pre-planned vacations. There was not a lot of spontaneity in office life.

Figuring out a work-life balance in this new season of my life is probably my biggest struggle in self-employment ... as you can probably tell because I talk about it all the time! It's really, really hard for me to take a whole day off because my office is in my house and it's SO easy for me to pop in and check my e-mail or look at my business Facebook page on my phone. Plus I feel like I need to be doing things constantly or I'll get behind.

It's taken me a year to realize that this is not healthy. Or maybe it's just taken me a year to burn out from always being plugged in. Being plugged in all the time doesn't make me better at my job. In fact, I get less and less productive the longer I work without a full day off ... completely off, no thinking about photography. Because even though I love photography and it's my passion, it's still work.

It's been increasingly important for me to schedule my work day into chunks of time and stay super focused during my scheduled work hours (see an example schedule here). Then when my schedule says to close my office door, it's super important for me to listen and go do something completely unrelated to work.

And you know what I've realized recently? I can be spontaneous and take a random weekday off if I schedule my days on in the right way. It feels really good, especially when these two are waiting to hang out with me all day ... without a camera in front of my face. :)

Nathan and Rosie_0001