Addicted to the Busy

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Are you always busy? When that group email or Facebook event invite gets sent your way, are you never able to go because you have to work?

Weddings are a weird industry, everyone knows that you work a lot of weekends but then it is also expected that you are contactable first thing Monday morning. If your marketing campaign has been successful and the bookings are healthy, you may well find that suddenly weeks and weeks are stretching in front of you with no proper break. Every wedding you take on has a significant amount of admin and for us photographers, there is that mountain of post production. Throw in a few double or even triple header weekends and that mountain can quickly become Everest.

The business is yours and so it’s quite normal to want to manage every aspect of it. There are also certain things you definitely can’t outsource, but if you look at the situation objectively, do you think you could actually be addicted to being so busy?

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Like many addictions, the first thing is admitting that you have a slight problem. If you find yourself checking emails or your social media on your phone right before you go to sleep and then again first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed; If your social life is only with people that are in your industry; If you cannot take a holiday anywhere without wifi in case you miss out on something important hitting your inbox; If you cannot just take an entire day off and relax with your nearest and dearest… then have a think, is all this activity becoming an addiction?

When you work hard to build something up from nothing and make a name for yourself it feels great to have a full diary. Being so busy can often mean you are giving up your evenings for meetings, events or Skype calls. There is always something that needs your attention or a task lurking in the office waiting for you to deal with it. It can be difficult to switch off. More often than not, The Busy is very much a necessary part of building up your business, let’s face it nobody got to any position of success by sitting on their backsides. But I’m talking about when you have already put in that groundwork and you’re getting a nice flurry of bookings, but you can’t stop saying yes to things. Isn’t this the time when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labour?

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Many of us thrive on always having something to do and the thing about being busy all the time is, well, it kinda makes you feel important. But if life is all about balance how do the busy addicts factor in some down time?

I’m only shooting half the weddings this year that I shot two years ago. I’ve scaled it down from 40 to 20 and there are lovely little pockets of free weekends over my summer. I’m very lucky that the Photography Farm has taken off and so supplements some of that income and it fits in quite well with me having a young family. However I do still love shooting weddings and don’t want to give that up completely. 20 weekends being taken up with work is way more manageable than 40, but at first I found the adjustment a little disconcerting. I’m the girl who organised a huge week of photography workshops in January when I could have been polishing off the leftover Christmas selection boxes. I then went straight to Paris for a photo shoot. The first Saturday that I had completely free this year, I literally could not chill out. So I decided to cook a Thai curry from scratch (which I’d never done before) £65 worth of ingredients and four hours cooking time later, it was incredibly delicious but my husband looked at me and said “You literally cannot just do nothing”.

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I’m getting more used to some free weekends now and really relish them, sometimes we make plans, sometimes we wing it, sometimes we all just wear our onesies and watch movies. I’m having drinks with those friends that I used to be too busy to catch up with, I’m on top of my workflow and not terrified of my inbox. Those weddings that I am shooting, I am super excited about and full of energy for. I’m not thinking “Please hurry up and get on that dancefloor, so I can go home, back-up and get ready for the next wedding”.

So I dare you to take some time off this week. Get away from the computer and away from anything to do with work. Catch up with old friends or just sit in the park and read a book. Lie on the grass, close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the sounds of life around you, feel the earth spinning around the sun and think The Busy can wait just for one day, one afternoon or one hour. I’ve been loving posting photos of these moments on my Instagram. I’d encourage you to do the same, feel free to tag me in them so I can see the Busy Addicts taking a proper break! Just like with a Power Nap, taking a Power Refresh will find you with renewed energy and perspective for dealing with The Busy… tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Devlin is a wedding photographer from Brighton and a regular contributor to The Green Room. She hosts the three-day long Photography Farm on a regular basis. The next Farm will be taking place from the 9th-11th July. Lisa is also currently taking bookings forFarm Elements, one or two day non-residential workshops taking place over the next few months in Cornwall, Bristol and Manchester. For enquiries or bookings email Lisa on lisa@devlinphotos.co.uk or call 01273231047.

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12 comments

  1. Fab article Lisa and I was nodding most my way through it! I do spend probably 95% of my time doing something to do with work, whether it is research, phone calls, social media, emails or networking but I’m so good at switching off for that 5% that it makes it really hard to get back! I try and only do short bursts of time off otherwise I lose my momentum. Is that normal!? I also daren’t mention having time off over social media as when you have a serious to-do list that’s well, not been done, I feel wrong parading that 1 hour that I had to go for a quick drink/pee/get a pint of milk to those waiting on me for something. Hmm. I hope I reach your happy/busy soon 🙂

  2. Great post. I am a terrible busy addict – if I find I have a free weekend it actually makes me panic because I feel like I must have forgotten to do something! I’m still building up my business though, so I feel like I still need to be going full throttle.

  3. Missed birthdays, no summer holidays and no quality friends and family time or time to just chill and get on with life at home over the past couple of years has made for some necessary revisions to the summer wedding schedule this year. Yes – I’ve turned down work but I can’t buy back what’s most important. And that includes my sanity! 🙂 Great post Lisa.

  4. Great post Lisa and something I can certainly relate to. being a wedding planner and a blogger means that free time is a pretty hard thing to come by, but its something I’m really working hard on this year. After 4 years of building my business, I now feel it’s time for a bit of me time.
    I’ve cut back on the weddings I am taking on and now enjoying Sundays off, date night and trying to finish my work at 9pm every night instead of 10pm/11pm.
    It’s still tough and I’m forever feeling guilty when I’m not at at my desk, but life is for living after all!

  5. I’m also really careful to limit the number of weddings I take on each year – no more than 25. It’s so important to have that family time (I have a little one), or else what are you working for?

  6. Yup, great post! All sounds sooo familiar – and a very timely read, as I have just realised how busy this year is. I have made a decision to keep at least one weekend completely free each month in 2014. It’s so hard to say no, especially when someone gets in touch with a wedding that sounds so completely wonderful… but it is so true, you have to know when to slow down a bit as well. So, so important to stop and enjoy your own friends and family as well. Thank you for making me even more determined to stick to the plan for next year! Right then, for now, deep breath and on with The Busy 😉

  7. A very interesting read, I definitely have been taking notice of my free time recently and for the first time ever since starting 7 years ago I’m aware I need a break now and then and I’m enjoying my little breaks. Definitely good for the soul and a rested mind is a more creative mind after all! 🙂

  8. This weekend I went on a hen do- it turned out to be in a remote location without any signal. After a feeling of panic it turned out to be just what I needed. How often are we totally unavailable to the big wide world? I feel refreshed and ready to start a new and productive week. A great post, thank you 🙂

  9. Amen, I read this when you first wrote it and have been thinking about things today and hit up the green room for some advice and inspiration. The Busy could not be more true and it is time to start saying no to things and carve out some free time. x

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