There are a million-ga-zillion articles out there talking about photography. How to shoot; how to run a business; how to build your portfolio; how to post-process; what kind of camera to buy; what kind of lens to buy; what kind of accessories to buy. So many of these articles have probably addressed the same issue that I’m about to talk about. But in light of the crazy week I’ve had in dealing with some growing pains (namely the dreaded time management issue), I wanted to share just some thoughts that I’ve had as it’s applied to me.
To begin with, running a photography business isn’t simply about the art of creating an image. It’s about so much more than that, and this pie-chart (very accurately) illustrates my point:
In my case (and this may apply to many of you), I should have two pies: I’ve yet to go full-time with my business, meaning that I’ve also got another full-time 9-5 job that I’m very passionate about. Juggling both careers, which are not at all related, has been quite a challenge for me this year, as I’ve really struggled with balancing time spent on my business and time spent with my family.
Clinton and I don’t have kids yet, so our time together is simply our time together: just the two of us. When we got married in August 2008, Pobke Photography was not even a blimp on my radar. I didn’t own a DSLR; I didn’t own any photography books; heck, I didn’t even know I wanted to be a photographer! Our evenings consisted of boardgames, cooking dinner together, occasional movies and lots of wine. Fast forward one year, I was four months into running my own business. A business that I loved and cherished and was so very proud of. Clinton has been and still is my loudest cheerleader. He checks every single blog post before I click “publish” and comments on every single photo, liquoring me up with compliments and showering me with adoration. But while I spent every night pouring over my work and checking, rechecking, triple checking and editing my images, he took over a lot of our household duties: dishes. Cooking dinner. Laundry. Ironing. I slowly developed this sad routine of sitting in front of my computer, editing with my right hand and eating with my left. On the rare weekday evening, I’d get up and quickly do the dishes so that I could rid my consciousness of the guilt. Oh the guilt. It ate me up. But I felt justified in putting everything else on hold so that I could just…publish…that…blog post.
He really does deserve the Husband of the Year award. But the other night, after a full day of ridiculous amounts of guilt, I said: “Honey. We need to talk.” And we sat down, and I poured my guts out to him. I knew I was not balancing life the way I should. I just wasn’t happy doing the things the way that I was doing them, but I just didn’t know how to fix it. It wasn’t fair to me, and most importantly, it wasn’t fair to my husband and our relationship. So we broke it down very simply: it wasn’t about NOT blogging or NOT working late at night. Our solution was to do the simple things that we love doing together, and prioritising those things first. And by doing so, we spend more time being actively together – something we took for granted. On Monday night, we tried this out. I didn’t go near my computer after work. Instead, we came home, unpacked the groceries, and cooked together, ate together, and did the dishes together. And when all was said and done, I edited images and worked on Pobke Photography stuff for an hour, guilt free, resentment free. We were both giddy and smiley, as if it were a Friday date night. The best part is that we both did what we would’ve done last week (him: reading; me: editing), but with the added bonus of having spent more time with one another where it counts.
It sounds really trivial and simple, and you may or may not be judging me for having been such a terrible person. But for what it’s worth, I think I needed to experience this in order to appreciate the ability to juggle several things at the same time. I’m convinced that even if you have five jobs, there’s a way to make it work. I’m not saying it’s easy. But I’d say if you’re lucky to be doing something you’re SO passionate about, then that’s reason enough for you to say that you WILL find a way to juggle the two. And you know what? I hope that in three months’ time, I can say to Clinton: “Honey, we need to talk. Cooking dinner and having wine and going on walks and playing boardgames aren’t enough. Can we please figure out a way to spend even more time together?” so that we always prioritise our family life first.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on time-management. For those of you with two jobs (mom AND photographer; photographer AND another career; blogger AND mom, etc.), how do you find the best way to balance your time? Is it a learning curve? Is there one piece of advice you can pass on?