Want to know how to boost your productivity and achieve more in your photography business? If so, read on. I’m sharing eight productivity tips which will help you get more out of each day, and help you smash your 2021 goals!
Productivity relies on positive habits and consistent action!
The first thing to realise is that if you want to boost your productivity, you need to be prepared to plan your day and to make consistent action a habit.
New Year’s resolutions and good intentions are one thing, but motivation will only get you so far. It’s only when we completely commit to our intentions that they become a habit.
Anyone who has started a new fitness regime in January and then boycotted it a few months later (yep, I’ve totally done this) will know that if you don’t establish positive habits that become a non-negotiable part of your routine, it’s easy to lose momentum and give up altogether.
Habits are what keep you going. Habits ensure consistent action. They commit you to take small steps toward your goals; to always making progress and keeping focused.
Without habits, it’s easy to find excuses and reasons to not do that thing you planned, whether it be exercise, blogging, posting on Instagram. As we all know, once you’ve NOT done something once, then it’s far easier to not do it a second time and a third time….until you end up never doing it!
Eight positive habits to boost your productivity
Habit 1 – Plan your day in advance
I believe that it’s essential to consider in advance how you intend to spend your day if you wish to boost your productivity. Particularly now – during lockdown, when your day may lack the structure it once had – planning the day can make a huge difference.
If you’re intentional with your time then you can potentially get lots more done!
Ideally, plan the day ahead on the evening before. That way, no time will be lost each morning as you try to figure out what to do first. That precious first hour of every day is often when we are at our most creative and productive, so don’t waste it planning your priorities. Prioritise your planning instead!
My daily planning process currently looks like this:
- On a Sunday, I set a goal for the coming week (informed by my goal for the quarter),
- Then, I set myself three main tasks for the day ahead (which move me towards achieving that goal). Any more tasks than this per day and you may end up feeling overwhelmed,
- I map out the day hour by hour, so I know roughly when I should be starting and finishing each task,
- and, I aim to focus solely on these tasks (ignoring all distractions such as emails, social media etc.) until they are complete.
The final step in this process is to spend a few minutes at the end of each day reflecting on progress and any insights gained. Do this, and it will help you acknowledge your achievements and solidify the learning.
Then, the planning process continues again.
Habit 2 – Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable
To be more effective in each working day, you’ll need to be focused and committed to doing the work. Deadlines can help with this!
When we have a deadline to work towards we’re more likely to crack on, whereas when we allow ourselves an open-ended time frame to complete a task, it’s much easier to let that time drift and then, the task doesn’t end up getting done.
Parkinson’s Law states that we allow work to fill the time available and that we naturally pace ourselves to finish a project just in the nick of time.
So, if you find yourself guilty of letting projects take up too much time – whether that’s editing client images or blogging, for example – a great way to become more productive is to set yourself deadlines. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to spend on a task and see what you can achieve.
If you haven’t tried the Pomodoro technique before, do. It involves focusing on a task in 25-minute stints with a five-minute break in between. It’s a great way of getting more done.
Habit 3 – Focus on ONE task at a time
Context-switching – the act of flitting your attention from one thing and onto another – is a productivity killer. Instead, by focusing on one task at a time, you can save time and get so much more done!
Focusing on editing? Put your out-of-office message on, put your phone on silent, log out of social media. These don’t need to be dealt with immediately. By getting into the zone and focusing on the one thing you are working on, you’ll be more productive.
Related reading: The fundamentals of successful photography marketing
Habit 4 – Themed days and batching
Similarly, having days allocated for specific tasks, and batching tasks together, are great ways to get more done in less time too.
When I’m planning out my week, I allocate specific days to client work and have set days in the calendar for each client that I work with. I also allocate a set day to focus on my marketing, content and planning, and any other priorities.
Marketing activities and your blog and social media content can be done in one go and created in bulk in advance. So, if you don’t already, why not establish a marketing day to plan, create and publish your marketing content?
Related reading: Content planning tips for photographers
Habit 5 – Let go of perfection
Striving for perfection is sure to curb your productivity. It can lead to procrastination and tasks can end up taking way longer than they need to.
I know this can be a common struggle for photographers, but try to let go a little more. Remember, perfection is subjective anyway! In the end, it’s better to hit publish on that blog post, launch that new service or do that Facebook Live than not do it at all.
Habit 6 – Eat the frog!
You may well have heard of this expression, ‘eat the frog’? If not, well, it simply means that you get the task that you are most dreading out of the way first.
So, if you literally had to eat a frog, and were dreading it, then the best way to tackle it is to get it done first. That way, with the unpleasantness of eating the frog over with at the start of the day, it can only get better from there!
How could you apply this analogy to the tasks in your business that you are dreading? What tasks could you do at the start of the day so that you don’t waste your energy dreading them?
Habit 7 – Regularly review what’s impacting your productivity
The working day can literally fly by, but reflecting on how you are spending your time every day will help you to identify where time was lost and which tasks took longer than you expected.
With this knowledge, you can then plan better for the days ahead. You can boost your productivity and performance simply by understanding where you are currently losing time and by finding ways to avoid this in the future.
Habit 7 – Turn off distractions
If you do identify that you have lost precious time in your day by being unfocused and unproductive, what was it that distracted you?
Turning off distractions such as email and social media notifications can really help to boost productivity.
- Log out of social media apps when you sit down to complete a specific task so that you don’t find yourself randomly scrolling the newsfeed
- Only look at emails a couple of times a day (morning, lunchtime, and evening), rather than when they come in.
- Put your phone on silent
- Ignore the doorbell/phone/postman.
Distractions will always be there to take you away from the task at hand, but you need to be focused in order to be productive with your time. If you don’t, the only person to blame will be yourself.
Habit 8 – Keep it simple!
It’s so easy to overcomplicate things and waste precious time, so try to keep things simple instead. Try to do too much, or have too many things going on at once, and you’ll barely get anything done at all!
One thing I’ve done this year is to ditch the fancy planners! Unless you know that they work for you, I’d recommend that you to resist the temptation to purchase a beautiful hard-copy planner or journal that looks so lovely that you won’t want to fill it in!
While there are lovely planners on the market (and I’ve tried many over the years), you don’t necessarily need one in order to be more productive.
It’s natural that even the best-laid plans will change. So, I personally much prefer a basic month-to-view calendar print out which I can scribble on and reprint if necessary. Grab the one I use from my freebie library here.
Let me know in the comments below which of these eight habits you need to do more of, and what other things you do habitually to boost your productivity. I’d love to hear your tips!