Getting Control Over Feeling Overwhelmed
This next section, if you heard me shout it out a few times, I love this section. I love examining productivity to figure out how I can do more and work less. It's like the perfect combo. I wanna do more but I wanna work less. This whole class is built around that, the idea that when I first started out I worked so hard. I got such little sleep. And I wasn't getting that much done as it related to return. I was just spinning and spinning and spinning. And it wasn't until I stepped back and practiced a lot of self-awareness and a lot of self-reporting, let me report on exactly what I'm doing start to finish here and reprocessed it and got really smart about being efficient, that my profit went up 1,100%. And every month and year since then it's just gotten better and I've had a better handle on it. And why? Because I was examining the systems that I was operating through in my life, and trying to figure out how to do it better so that I could work less. And when I was actually working b...
e better at it. So, that's what this is about. I wanna work less and get more done. I'm gonna share with you this process that I've developed that I think is so helpful. But before we jump into that, I just wanna give you a quote that was in my brain when I started figuring out how to have a system in place that worked for me to be able to take care of things. What was in my brain was the following. Me to me, "Please don't let your passion, drive, and ambition override the time you need with them right here, right now. Figure out how to make it all work together." The "them" is my family. My family, the time I have with my husband and my children is what matters to me the most. And it's really easy to get caught up in one or the other. I spend a lot of time on my family and my business suffers. Or I'm really ambitious, and I make things work in my business but I hardly ever see them. Sometimes we feel like we've gotta make choices and it's either one or the other. I speak on the idea of work, life, balance a lot because I think this concept of making business that you love fit into a life that means the most to you is imperative to be able to manage both of those. And what I found a few years in was that I couldn't figure out how to not miss time with them, which meant the most to me, and also run a business that I knew I was capable of. I had the ambition, I had the drive, and no, I don't think those are negative words at all. I was striving for something. Well, no, I was struggling and wanted to be striving. And there's a big difference between the two of those, right? So, I said to myself, I don't want this passion I have for the things I wanna do and the work I wanna create to dwarf the time that I know I need to have with them cause they are growing up so fast and that's the pain point, that's what we answer with marketing as photographers. Children grow up way too fast. I can meet that need because photography stops time. My pain point was aligned with my clients' pain point, which made me easier for me to market to them. But when it came to doing things every day, day in and day out, and I look at a stack of things in front of me and I try to figure out how to do them, I would become overwhelmed. Have you guys had that experience, maybe? You try to look at a stack of things and you're gonna have that when you leave here, right? Okay, I just wrote down pages and pages of notes, and it's all so much, and I'm just gonna go to sleep. (laughs) I'm going to eat some pizza, and go to sleep. So, one of the first things that I want you to consider as we step through these things is I want you to think about how do you get it all out of your brain. Get it all off paper. All these things you have to do, how do we clear your head so you can be as creative as possible. And how do we get it off paper? Cause paper is clutter. It's hard to find. It's not easily trackable. It's hard to put it in a system that works for you over time as the information gathers and gathers and gathers. I want you to think about how you can strive to do as much electronically as possible. And I'm gonna put an asterisk there cause one of the resistance points I see a lot when I talk to photographers is, "Ehh, I don't really trust the internet. Applications will break. Or I feel if I put everything in there, what if it doesn't save and I lose it? I need to have paper. I need to be able to feel it and have it." Okay? Print everything out. That's your solution. If you need to have that, print it. But have an easy way to catalog all the things that you wanna think about and do and the things you're inspired by, put it all in electronic format. So, use these incredible tools that are available to you now more than ever. We've never had in the history of being photographers the access to these amazing tools that not only make our photographs look better but allow us to run a more efficient business. And to have to think about it all the time, we can actually put it places, have it live there, and not stress about them. Use these amazing tools. And I'm going to show you quite a few of my favorites. This is Mount Rainier. There's more to this story. (laughs) I led a mentor trek. These treks I'll do sometimes, as much as I love children and family photography and I have my name from a branding perspective wrapped around that. I love to travel, and I do a lot of adventure travel. I love landscapes, and taking photographs of places I went as beautifully as I can. And sometimes that means you have to sacrifice comfort to get the shots you want. This image I'd done on a mentor trek. It was a pop photo mentor trek series, which was a big sponsor by Nikon. And we had a group that we were in Mount Rainier which is ... Anybody here been there? Yep, it's pretty close to here. We flew into Seattle. We took a bus up to Mount Rainier, and what I didn't know, by the way, was that you lose all cell reception after a certain point. And there's no wireless or internet at the place we were staying in Mount Rainier. And to be able to contact people, you have to get quarters to call them from a pay phone. And that's all fine and good if you know that's about to happen. (laughs) I did not know that. And never in the entirety of me being a parent have I ever been non-contactable. Is that a word? Non-contactable? It is now a word. (laughter) I have never been non-contactable as it relates to my family being able to contact me if something happens. So, I had this kind of (inhales sharply) stress about it. So, I put all the communications out and said, these are all the ways you can find me. You can call the hotel here, they'll run down to my room and get me. And then I got into this space where I could just be creative. That's what the goal of the trip was. And I realized when we woke up at 3:30 in the morning, in the shivering cold where it's pitch dark, and we took the little bus with all the participants who were there with me and the other mentor leading the series. And we walked out into the muck and the dirt and the mud, and we set up tripods and got all our gear ready, and due to really slow shutter speeds we can maximize the light. And we are waiting for the light to hit just so so we can get this maximum reflection. And the clouds had to move away from here, so it was less hazy. And at the moment it occurs, it doesn't stay there for long. And then you click and you get the shot. And I could not be in a space where I could be so zen-like, and so creative and have only thing running through my head is all these technical considerations. The way the light was hitting, the way it was coming in, if I was thinking about all the other things I have to do now. And I have been on photo shoots where I'm like, "Ah, I've really gotta get those images turned out. My deadline's here and I've gotta run over here. My associate just called. And the coffee shop is on fire." (laughs) Or whatever, and it strips your creativity from you. This process is meant to be able to enable you to have this flow state, to be as creative as possible. Cause it's not all living in your head. All right, this question. Just how on this extraordinary earth am I ever gonna get everything done today? Tomorrow? Next year? When you think about all the things you wanna do that allow you that gateway to do things well, it's an overwhelming list. You're pain point is time management, and there's too much to do. What do you hear yourself saying when everyone says, "Well, why don't you do this?" (sighs) "I just haven't had a chance to get to it. I didn't really have enough time. Do you know the other things I'm doing? Do you? Do you ever ask about those things? Stop pressuring me." It feels like this kind of auto-response we have. "I'm so busy. I have so much to do. I'd love to do that. That sounds great. I don't have enough time." It's something we just automatically without processing, without self-awareness, without self-reporting, just fall into. And it stops us from doing so many things that we love. It stops us from becoming who we could be, these excuses that just are on autopilot for us. "I don't have the time. I'm too busy." Well, you don't have any less or more time than I do, than Kenna does, than I don't know, Ronald Regan had. (laughs) Then I'm trying to think about non-politically questionable people. Who's left? I don't. Well, you know what I'm saying! I can't think of one person. Bruce Springsteen! (laughter) I think he's beloved everywhere. You don't have more or less time than he had, right? It's just a matter of how you use it, and how you maximize it, and what you outsource.