12 Tips for Productivity

29 Apr
Wild Beauty :: CO

Wild Beauty :: CO

 

So much of running your own business is about staying motivated and focused on your goals, and about time management.  It’s pretty common for the people around me to express surprise or admiration about how much I manage to accomplish in any given week.  It’s come up enough that I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

  • Self Care: Your body is the vehicle that you use to accomplish tasks, and treating it right will go a long way towards maintaining your energy level and focus.  Eat right.  Sleep well. Work out. Drink a lot of water.
  • Peak Performance Times: Everyone has their own time of day when they work best.  Some people jump out of bed ready to tackle the day.  Others (me) are sloths who don’t feel awake until about 10 AM.  Once you start to realize your brain functions best at certain times of day, it’s an easy leap to realize that you will benefit from scheduling the more complicated, deep thoughts or creative tasks during that time frame.  For me, after a long day, my creative juices just stop flowing so I try to get the difficult stuff done either in the morning, or after my afternoon break when I feel refreshed.
  • Know How Much Your Time Is Worth: Narrow your to-do list down to things that really matter.
  • Have a System: Everyone has a process that works best for them.  Find yours and use it.  If you go into each day organized, with attainable goals and a system that works for you, you’ll see productivity soar.
  • Set Deadlines: It’s so easy to fall into the trap of procrastination.  If you set yourself deadlines to accomplish tasks, you have a clear way to stay motivated and hold yourself accountable.
  • Is There a Better Way?: If you approach the world with the attitude that there is always something you can learn, then you’re bound to find ways to be more efficient at your job.  Continue to educate and improve yourself.
  • Why Is This Important or Necessary?: If you can’t answer that question, there is a good chance you aren’t spending your time wisely.
  • Stay Positive: Negativity can kill motivation quickly.  Yes, there will always be people better than you at XYZ.  But what other people do doesn’t define your journey.  Know that your efforts are enriching your life, and surround yourself with people who value what you are contributing to the world.
  • Take Breaks, but Make Them Reasonable: We only can stay focused on something for so long.  It is completely reasonable to get up from your desk, stretch your legs, clear your mind and come back re-focused.  The trick is to keep the breaks manageable, so that they don’t become a distraction.
  • Evaluate What’s Necessary and What’s Distracting:  One of the biggest secrets to my productivity is that I rarely watch TV.  I’m not opposed to it, per se, I just see it as a waste of time when I could be working on something else…like a productivity blog. 😉  Once you’ve identified whatever your distractions are – TV, social media, etc – limit them when possible.
  • Get Involved in The Community: We are stronger as a group, and networking can have a huge impact on how effective and efficient you can be.  I’ve frequently met people who had a skill I didn’t know I needed until I needed help with it.  Getting involved in your community is a great way to make connections, and build a client base at the same time.
  • Stay Up-To-Date on Changes in Your Town/City/Community/News: Staying in the know can prevent you from having to do double work when you belatedly find out something impacting your project has changed.  Always stay informed, especially about laws or regulations that may impact your work.

 

  • Bonus Tip: Create a lifestyle of learning and productivity outside of the work environment.  Beyond just running a photography business, I’m also dedicating time these days to salsa dancing lessons, horseback riding, travel (aka experiencing new things) and writing classes.  I’ve learned to play instruments and sing (poorly), I’ve taken kickboxing classes, and I’ve tried learning to cook and attempted to learn new languages (also poorly).  None of those things are necessarily related to photography, but all of the them strengthen the brain or encourage creativity.
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Firestarter :: Iceland

12 Apr
Firestarter :: Iceland

Firestarter :: Iceland

 

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

5 Apr
Pure Serenity :: Iceland

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

The Land of Fire and Ice

8 Mar
Fire and Ice :: Iceland

Fire and Ice :: Iceland

On this most recent trip to Iceland, I learned that Icelanders have a phrase that roughly translates to “It’ll all work out” because the weather is so unpredictable and makes keeping plans difficult. That flexible, positive attitude is one of the many things I’ve come to appreciate during my visits there. It’s also pretty spot on for how Landscape photography goes. Haha

While trying to take this series of shots, I got soaked by a big wave because passing tourists asked me to take a photo of them which distracted me, I got crowded by 103733672829 other tripods when they saw what I was on to, I was distracted again by some photographer forcibly moving a boulder sized chunk of glacier to a spot more to his liking which was at the edge of my original composition (ummmm? thanks dude?) and my battery died. But in the end, it all worked out. 😊

Big thanks to David Pasillas for his input on this edit!  This shot is three blended exposures, some luck and a little bit of magic pixie dust.

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

27 Feb
A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

 

When we start out as landscape photographers, most of us probably don’t go into it realizing the weight of the responsibilities that come with it. You see, these days, every like, and double tap and +1 you get represents a responsibility to be a leader.

Part of that means being a good steward and protecting our collective “office”, the planet. There is a lot of debate about what exactly that means, but it benefits all of us -photographers and non- to embrace things like Leave No Trace, and to actively work to conserve our wild spaces.

The second part of this is to be a role model. Whether you like it or not, what you do and say makes an impact, and by choosing to break rules or ignore courtesy, you’re green-lighting that behavior for others. This shot is a particularly memorable example of how one person’s sense of entitlement/elitism, can ruin an experience. Last October Melissa and I decided to detour to see this beautiful canyon despite the rain. It involved a moderate, if somewhat slippery hike up to the first lookout. I had just set my tripod up and begun focusing my camera when a…let’s call him “gentleman”…. walked up and demanded I move so he could take a cell phone snap. I explained I had just set up my composition, and would be just a moment. Rather than wait politely, he put his arm directly into my frame, then crowded me on a slippery cliff-edge, to intimidate me into moving. If you know my friend Melissa, you know she doesn’t put up with rudeness and used it as a teachable moment to remind the gentleman of his manners. Lol

The outdoors are for everyone to enjoy and simple consideration and courtesy can go a long way towards helping everyone fall in love with (and subsequently see the value in protecting) nature.

Windswept :: Scotland

20 Feb
Windswept :: Scotland

Windswept :: Scotland

“When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” -African proverb

I went to Scotland with a long list of spots I wanted to see, knowing of course, that I’d only actually get to photograph a handful.  One of those “spots” was the drive through Rannoch Moor, which is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful drives on the planet. ❤

Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

13 Feb
Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

 

It’s snowing and sleeting here today, so I spent my time daydreaming of warmer nights under the stars. ✨🌙❤

This was taken in lower VT, and is the first night sky photography trip that I brought the dogs along for. I wasn’t sure if they would be good, to be honest, but they surprised me by being patient and well mannered to whole night (which is quite an accomplishment for the younger dog).

The only time they started growling was after everyone else had left, and something big started moving in the woods behind us. It didn’t take long for whatever it was to move along.

Who’s a good dog? My dog! (Sometimes.) 🐶

For those of you looking to learn a bit more about star trails, you can check out my article in Light & Landscape (Issue 31), or wait for the upcoming book on night sky photography! 🙂  Want to know more about that?  Sign up for my newsletter, and follow me on social media for the latest updates.