Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks | Separation of Work and State (of mind:)


“We are taking time off spending time with baby Gray, but have put together our favorite Tips and Tricks from the last two years for us all to review!”

Today we wanted to touch on a subject that has been at the forefront of our lives lately – truly putting your business in its place so that it doesn’t overtake your life!

Back in August of 2008, our business was growing fast and we were having a ton of fun with it all. The problem was, we had put our personal relationship on the back-burner and that month came to the realization that we were barely spending any quality time with each other. So, we decided to take a drastic step and have Jody quit her day job that she had at the time. It was hard walking away from the extra income, the awesome insurance and the “security” of that job. But ultimately we knew that if we did what was right, we would be rewarded with something much greater; a strong relationship with one another that will last far beyond any cool photos we will ever take.

So, we know that everyone out there reading this is in a different place in their business, but we also know that ALL of us deal with how to keep the reins tight on our business and making sure that we are devoting enough of our spiritual, emotional and physical energy to ourselves and our loved ones. Today we want to challenge you to ask yourself the following:

What one thing you can do right now to tame your business and give some time back to what is truly important?

After Jody quit her day-job, she was home about 2 weeks (and it was awesome!) but then we realized that we had a major problem! Our office was in our living room! At that time we had a small, one-bedroom apartment that we were living in so that we could save money for a house. We wanted to sacrifice so we could buy a home faster, but figured out really fast that it was not worth it if we went crazy and could never turn work off.

Having an office in your living is hard because work is always staring you in the face and even if you turn it off physically, you may still be mentally in it. So, we decided to spend a little more money a month and move into and rent a two-bedroom apartment so that we could have an office, start keeping regular business hours and get our brains switched off from our business. It was the best thing we ever did and we are still, to this day, working on ways to keep our marriage first and not let our business take over our lives.

Once we bought our new home, we decided to have our office in one of the upstairs bedrooms and try and make it the most peaceful place with brighter colors and some art on the wall that is inspiring. We didn’t want it to be dark and depressing, but light and airy because that really helps us feel excited about coming into it during the week. We each have a desk (you can see Jody’s hiding on the bottom right) and have a cozy chair on the far left as a place to catch up on our business reading (not seen in the photo). We also picked this room because it has lots of natural light and a small balcony that we can go out on in the mornings with a coffee and focus on the tasks at hand for the day.

And the most important part of our office. The door, closed at 5pm! :)

No matter what or where your office space is, we highly recommend making it a place that helps you feel at peace and is also a place that you can close up at the end of the day.

It may be fun and exciting to have and run your own business, but if you find that every conversation you have is about photography and all your friends and activities are on that same topic, then you might want to consider that work has taken over. We had a photographer who came to our Shooting and Post Production workshop this past spring and told us she desperately needed to get her editing time under control after her daughter came up to her and said, “Mom, I wish you would spend more time with me then you do with your computer.” How heart breaking is that?! We may love what we are doing, but life is really about those that are around us and their needs. Jody and I want to be available to serve and love each other with our full attention, we want to be able to have time to give to those that need us most (like serving at our church, the local Boys and Girls Club, or helping the homeless in our city), and we want our lives to be about way more than just running a cool business.

Here are a few other things that we do to keep our business at bay:

– At 5pm, iPhones go in our bedroom and ringers are turned off so they don’t disturb us and we don’t check email and Twitter

– We don’t turn the TV on, but instead take 10 or 15 minutes and sit on the couch or lay on the floor and just talk to each other. Talk about how the other person feels, what they are going through and how we can help each other

– Breathe! We started breathing every morning and every night. We lay down on the floor, close our eyes and take 5, deep, slow breaths. Afterward, we tell the other person one thing that we are thankful for. Laying down on the floor and stopping everything to just breath slows down your limbic part of your brain and helps to realign your body and mind. It has made a huge difference in our stress levels and is awesome!

– Date nights! We have a date night every Thursday night and we have a cash budget in our personal finances to go out and spend time, money and energy having fun and enjoying each other

The result? More peace!

Leave a comment below and let us know what areas of your business you think may have sneaked in and taken over some or all of your life AND what you are going to do about it this week. Ready? Go be relaxed!