So it’s been a little over 6 weeks now since I quit my full time job to begin doing photography full time. And it hasn’t been as easy as I’d hoped! There is definitely a transition period no matter how organized or motivated you are. In case anyone finds themselves going through the same situation, I wanted to share some points on what I’ve learned through the process.
1. DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF I thought the Monday after the July 4th holiday (the week I quit) that I was going to wake up just as early as I had been, and get to work! Have my schedule all planned out and just do it (sounds good, right?). Well that didn’t happen. At all. I ended up taking more than just a week off and I realized now that I needed a break! And it was ok to take one. I had been working 2 full time jobs for TWO years! I was tired and my body was rejoicing inside that I could finally catch up on sleep. And sleep is what I did. I was still getting things done the first few weeks but I allowed myself to sleep in and go to bed early and do things for myself so I could get rejuvenated to start this big adventure. I felt guilty for a while that I was doing this, but I couldn’t help it! My body was saying, “NOOOOO! Please rest for a while! I beg of you!” (my internal voice is British). So I came to accept that this was OK. I’m the boss now. I can take time for myself. And I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Since I had been working 2 jobs for so long, I just thought that I was supposed to keep working that much. It almost didn’t feel like I had done anything if I didn’t work for 14 hours that day. WHAT?! I know- it’s hard to break the old mindsets. But it’s true. Give yourself time to adjust and be kind to yourself.
2. GIVE IT TIME: YOUR PERFECT DAY WON’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT So that Monday, I was supposed to wake up, have quiet time, eat breakfast, workout, and start work. All before 9am. Again, WHAT?! Do I not remember that I’m not a morning person and the reason I only showed up for work on time (well, semi-on time) at my old job was because someone was making me?? Oh yes, then I was supposed to edit a whole session, answer email, make lunch and dinner for my husband and do 2 chores that day. Boy was I bummed when this didn’t happen. BUT I’m so much closer to that routine now then the first day. Things like these amazing To Do pads from Thyme is Honey and Power Sheets from Lara Casey have really helped me. If I don’t make a list and write things down then it will never get done. Because I had to figure out what’s going to work for me, and for us. We both have such irregular schedules so I had to actually go through a few weeks of working that schedule together to know what was going to work. Which leads me to my next point.
3. BE FLEXIBLE Allow your days to be different. I think I’m pretty good at being flexible and accepting change so this one wasn’t bad for me to adjust to. Some days I have sessions to shoot and some days I’m holding meetings and at all different times and places. It will help to look at your schedule and plan where you’re going to get work done and be able to space your time out. Be mindful to not cram things in and overbook yourself. That way when other things do come up and friends want to randomly hang out, you can.
4. SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUTS AND GETTING UP TO MOVE This is huge! I am a workaholic, obviously. I will sit at the computer and work for 8 straight hours and only get up to go to the bathroom. This is bad! I’m starting to have really bad circulation and pain in my legs and I think because it’s so easy to sit here and work work work! To stay on track, an app like 30/30 is really great for tracking your time and setting reminders to get up and move. It also helps to look at the schedule of the next day to plan when you’re going to workout. Because if you don’t plan it, it won’t happen! Working out is so easy to skip (eh, kinda like this morning…). And check the weather! If it’s going to rain tomorrow, I’m probably not going to go to the pool and it might be a good day to do yoga. But if I wake up and it’s raining when I had planned on swimming, I pretty much go back to bed and chalk it up to bad weather.
5. ACCEPT THAT BLOGGING (OR OTHER TASKS) TAKES LONGER THAN IT SEEMS Can I just say that blogging takes soooooo long! I thought I would be writing some awesome posts now that I have more time and I’d be posting on Facebook and Instagramming and blah blah blah. But it takes SO much time! I now know I need to plan my blog posts because of the time it takes out of my day and schedule it in. I’ve already taken 1 hour just creating this post! Even though some things don’t seem significant enough to schedule or put on your list, don’t be naive and schedule it in!
6. DO THINGS THAT FIRE YOU UP This is so important. I mean didn’t you quit your job because you wanted to do the thing that excites you?! That you want to do for the rest of your life? We can’t forget to do other things that fire us up and excite us. Even if it’s as small as lighting a candle in your office (because I can do that now ;). All of these little things will boost your energy and keep the creative juices flowing. You want to go write your blog post or have your quiet time at the beach, well do it! That’s the beauty of working for yourself. And again, you may have to schedule some of these things. If I want to do a styled shoot, it’s not just going to magically happen. I have to plan it. But if your favorite spice girls song comes on and you want to get up and dance, then get up and dance! I won’t judge you 🙂
7. PLAN FOR THE NEXT DAY I sleep so much better when I’ve written down everything in my head, all the “to-do’s” floating around up there, and have my schedule written out for the next day. So when I wake up I’m not forced to think about and try to prioritize what I’ve got to do that day before I’ve had my coffee. When you set yourself up for success, your day goes so much smoother. If you’re going to workout, pick out your workout clothes and lay them out where all you have to do is put them on. Pack your lunches or prepare your food for the next day. Heck, make your coffee (iced in my case) so all you have to do it pull it out of the fridge in the morning. No mixing needed!
8. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS I think I struggle with this the most. Identify the things that distract you throughout the day (tv, phone, music, animals, etc) and make an effort to get rid of them. I’m the worst with my phone. I’ve turned all of my notifications off and will start to put it in another room while I’m working on something so I’m not tempted to randomly check social media and then all of sudden lose 30 minutes in the day. I am so grateful to have a room for an office where I can shut the door and close myself off from the rest of the house and not have to hear or see the tv and can keep Lucy from starring at me with those sad “play with me” eyes. At the beginning I thought I could continue to sit on the couch all day with the tv on because that’s what I would do when I would come home from work (and so I could spend time with Michael) but I quickly realized that I wasn’t being very productive.
Now it’s time to take a break and do something that fires you up! *cue Spice Girl’s music*