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?
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?
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”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273231047.
- Photography: Devlin Photos