Boundaries of a Small Business Owner
When I started doing photography full time, Isaac was convinced that I was working 60+ hours a week. And I thought he was crazy until I started logging the time spent on my business. I obviously needed to set some boundaries because no matter how much I loved my job, the habit I was developing was extremely unhealthy. And my home was falling to pieces. Okay, that is probably a bit dramatic. But if I am being completely honest, that is exactly how it felt. The dishes were piling up and the laundry was out of control. I wasn't taking any time for myself. And I am not talking about a spa day... I wasn't even taking time for lunch. Instead of running my business, I was beginning to allow my business to run my life.
After setting some boundaries, I started to see that it was possible for me to stick to 40-45 hours/week. And sure, there are definitely weeks when I know that that number will be a little high (like next week when I am in Haiti or last week when I was in AL), but I plan in advance to take some time off to breathe before and after those long weeks.
- Stay Organized: Stay on top of email, create templates for everything, keep my equipment charged, plan blog posts in advance, create a list of things I need to do, etc,.
- Be Selective: After creating a list of everything I need to do, I create a list of things I HAVE to do that day. No excuses. I get those things done before I start working on projects that don't have to be completed that day. Those projects are my reward for finishing the "MUST" list.
- Say No: There are a few nights each week where it's 6pm and I am working on a video or a new marketing idea and I just want to keep going. These things are not on the must list or they would have been done earlier in the day, so I have to say no. Any ideas I have at the end of the day go in a handy notebook. And I have 5 minutes to jot them down or it turns into hours of work.
- Log Hours: By logging my hours, I am able to evaluate how to improve efficiency at the end of each week. Just create an excel doc and log where you are spending your time. By moving meetings 30 minutes earlier or giving yourself a time limit on social media, you can GREATLY increase your productivity.
- Turn it Off: When I used to visit my sisters or when Isaac and I would decide to spend some time together, somehow my laptop would end up on my lap. Just turn off the iPad, computer, or whatever else you are using that is keeping you from real relationships. You don't have to respond to emails at 9pm and you don't have to respond to texts. Enjoy your life. Turn it off.