How to stay productive as a photographer

I don´t think people know this about me but I get distracted very easily. This has forced me to learn and create systems that stops me from procrastinating. I am that person that binges the whole series in a single sitting, Checks my phone every other minute and does every other thing before the thing I am supposed to. This is probably more common than you think.

Researchers say that we spend roughly 55 days per year procrastinating. The average person spends 3 hours 16 minutes on their phone per day which is almost 50 days per year spent on a phone. This is not only bad because it takes valuable time from your day. But also because it´s easy to get in to a bad spiral where it makes you feel bad for not doing the things you are supposed to, insecure and in general harm your mental health. So today we are talking about how to stay productive as a photographer working from home.

How to stay productive as a photographer (video)

It´s a marathon, not a sprint

As a creative, photographer, artist that does a lot of work from home it has been really important for me to create a system that works so that I can get things done and keep on progressing. But equally as important, if not more, has been to find a system that works in the long run. Where I know that I will be able to sustain it and live a life that I enjoy.

We humans have a set amount of energy in our daily reserve. When that energy-reserve is all empty we just simply wont be able to handle any more work and the only way to refill it is be resting. This is important to know because it means we have to be smart with how we use the energy we have.

Four step process is how to stay productive as a photographer

The fundamentals to how I work is a quite simple four step process. And the key here is to keep it simple. This process I am working from might seem a bit time consuming at first when you are in the head-space of trying to get things done. But you need a Strong foundation before you can start. This is so that you can clear your head and leave space, energy and brain capacity for the things you are working on.

The four step process

The first stage is to set up a clear goal. This forces you to sit down really think about what it is you really want to accomplish and why. Of-course you should write them down. Writing things down is a way, for me at-least, To empty my brain. When it is written I don´t need to have it in my head anymore because I wont loose it. They also say writing your goals increases the chance of you accomplishing them so that´s always a bonus.

Second step is to set up a clear plan on how to reach that goal. What steps are necessary to take to move towards that goal. Try to brake it down in to smaller pieces. It is much easier for the human brain to handle smaller tasks that feel reachable than ones that are big and far away. The smaller the better.

The next step is the execution of that plan you have created. If you have a clear path from the previous step this is going to be a lot easier. I also have a few tips and tricks I use to stay more focused in this execution part of the process. But more on that a little bit later.

But first we have the last step and that is to reguarly evaluate how its going. this is good for two reasons. one it makes sure you are working on the things that will move you towards your goals and prevents sidetracks. The second thing is that it is very motivating to see the progress that you have done. It is a way to trick the brain in to feeling more motivated be seeing past results.

This is basically the process I am using to make sure i am working on the right things and how to stay productive as a photographer.

Productive photographer workspace

Productivity Tips and tricks

As I said before I have some small tips and tricks on how to stay productive as a photographer that might help you staying more focused on the work you are doing.

First of all I like to set up clear work hours. Maybe not 9-5 but rather just specifying before I start working, For how long I am going to work that day. The important part here is to set that number and then keeping to it. Really forcing yourself to stay true to what you said. We need to practice to respect our own saying. So its better to say a few hours less and really sticking to it than to saying too many and then braking your own promise to yourself. We are tricking and starting to teach yourself that what we tell us is actually important. This one thing will over time change the way you see yourself and your self respect.

Pomodoro method

The next tip on how to stay productive as a photographer that works for me is the Pomodoro technique. If you haven’t heard of it before it is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s. This method is based around you working in intervals with short breaks in between. This works great for me if I have a few hours long work block. I can then split up my time in to intervals. A study from the 90s says that the human brain can only stay focused for a maximum of 90 minutes before it is going to need a rest. So the Pomodoro method is a great way to give your brain the rest it needs.

As I said in the beginning of the video, I get distracted very easily and when we do get distracted when we are in our deep focus it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to that same focus, according to a study from the university of California. So if we want to get more done we should try to eliminate all those distractions.

turn of the Phone
Eliminate distractions

For me this means to have a clean workspace where can feel at peace. Maybe having some headphones on with music on to lock out any other sounds. And the most important one, putting away my phone. Put it away so that you don´t see it. Turn on airplane mode so there are no notifications.

Games for productivity

You could also try some of those apps that gameify the whole experience. I have this app called forest where you plant trees. The whole premise is that the longer you focus the more and bigger the trees grow and if you leave the app the trees die. And the more trees you grow the more coins you earn and then you can buy new trees and so on. So if you like these kinds of apps that gameify the experience that can be an option as well.

Work out

the last tip or trick that I have is to regularly workout. Maybe not the flashiest productivity hack you can find but it really does help having a healthy lifestyle. I am not saying that you should go from zero to running a marathon everyday. But working out and moving your body regularly is going to improve your concentration. And on top of that living a healthy lifestyle is just going to improve your life in general.

I know that all of this is a lot and that we have talked about a lot of different things on how to stay productive as a photographer. We have to be nicer to our-self and realize that there is no point in working our asses of if we wont be able to sustain it and live a life that we enjoy.

If there is something I want you to take away from this it is that you need to find a system that works for you. maybe you can take some inspiration from me, maybe not. But remember that if you want it to stick you have to turn it in to a habit. Creating new habits are hard and breaking bad habits are even harder. It takes time for them to change so give yourself that time.

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