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Do You Value and Respect Your Time?

Intro by Skip Cohen

It’s another gem from Chamira Young’s archives, and it’s one of my most favorite topics, talking about the most important commodity in our lives – the one most people waste the most…TIME!

Think about everything you do each day and how much you waste time. I’m not talking about day-dreaming, I’m talking about working hard, but not smart. We rarely question so much of what we do each day.

One of my most favorite time-wasters to criticize are photographers who spend so much time on Facebook criticizing other artists’ work; trying to make a point in hopeless threads that go nowhere and working hard trying to impress your peers when it’s the clients who deserve your attention.

I’m not suggesting you not participate in any of the Facebook forums, just think through what you’re getting out of the discussions. Make it a point to give and take in ways that help others and yourself. It’s great to ask a question you need help with and just as terrific to help someone else through a challenge – but stop “right-fighting” if everyone doesn’t agree with you.

And in terms of your day-in-day-out pattern of working, stop a few times during the day and take a few minutes to examine what you’re working on.

By Chamira Young

How often do you question what you are doing during the day? Never? A few times? All the time? How do you make sure that you aren’t wasting time?

You start measuring your pursuits.

Measuring and planning your pursuits is fancy terminology for making sure you are making your plans worthwhile. If your goals, ideas, or wishes don’t move your business forward, then it might be time to take them off the to-do list.

If you had two hours right now, what might you be doing? If you’re a photographer, you just rolled your eyes or maybe started sweating. You could be doing nearly 200 different things right now, right? But how many of those things are going to be worth your time?

No, not half. No, probably not even half of that. Less than five things on that list of 200 things you think you should be doing right now will actually move your business forward successfully.

Revamp your website, test your new gear, send out emails, respond to old emails, mail out thank you cards, and more. Those are all important tasks, but only a few of them will be worth your time and energy in the long run.

Every task will eventually need to be done, this isn’t about putting off all of your work either, but if you have free time, be sure you are using it to make your business grow more in the future to pay you back for your investments.

The Two-Hour Time Trial

How can that be? Well, there are ways to plan your pursuits and measure whether they will be worth your time or not. Ask yourself these questions as you think of your to-do list. These will help steer your decisions and help prioritize your goals.

Does it bring new business? Is what you are going to spend two free hours on going to build your client base with new members? Is it going to increase bookings, or leads, or go straight to the profits?

This is the lifeblood of your business – paying clients – and they cannot be ignored. Lots of photographers want to redesign their website and change the fonts and colors to their email newsletter but will those things bring new business that will pay your back for the two hours you spent? Probably not.

Does it have an outlook for future potential? Are these two hours going to make your life easier today? This week? This year?

Though that can be good, you want to spend most of your time on things that are going to build your future. Thinking long-term and building strategies that will allow your business to grow more now so that the future potential is nearly unlimited is a key to the success of your business.

Does it improve efficiency? Two hours of work compared to two hours of dissecting your work to find a way to be more efficient are two very different concepts.

Make a list of your entire process from the time you find an interested client until the very final steps. List each step out in detail so you can visualize the whole process. Then, find a way to make it better, smoother, and more streamlined. That’s how you improve efficiency and build a better future for your business.

Does it put you in CEO Mode? CEO mode is when you are being the boss of your business, not the worker within your business. Many of us are too comfortable staying behind the camera when we should be reading through the tax codes, contract guidelines, or marketing data.

Find tasks that need to be done and can only be done in CEO Mode. Take a break from the creative side and step into the suit and tie to make meaningful and impactful business decisions. You are the CEO of your company, after all. 

Does it improve your skill set? Learning is not the same as growth. Is your time being spent searching for education or implementing action?

Find books, blogs, seminars, or conferences that educate you and then make sure you take action on those new ideas and strategies. Improving your skill set should have a direct correlation with the growth of your business. Otherwise, you are wasting time, money, and resources learning skills you aren’t using.

Time to be the Boss

If you have two hours of time to be doing something that will build your business, make sure you are asking yourself these five questions.

These will guide you to make better choices with your time which will lead you to make better decisions for your business as a whole. It’s easy to stay busy and tied up with mundane, and seemingly important tasks, which aren’t giving your business the life that it needs.

Bringing in new business, creating future potential, improving your workflow and efficiency, working in CEO Mode, and bettering your skill set are all ways that will give your business exponential growth. Those other tasks you may want to spend your time on have finite profits and should take a small amount of your time.

It’s time to be the boss of the photography business you run and use your time wisely.