As January 1st loomed closer and closer, I started to think about my word for 2014. I tried different words on for size, sitting with them. Letting them simmer. I kept coming back to “Intention”. 2014 is the year that I wanted to both work and live with intention. With that, I started to pick up business planners to use towards this goal.
In the many years that I’ve been a professional photographer, I’ve never been one to set goals. I kept track of where I was at — when I was a wedding photographer I could tell you how many weddings I had every year, and as I transitioned my business to focus solely on boudoir, I could tell you how many boudoir sessions I had every month and every year as well. I had financial targets, and I noted when I hit them and when I surpassed them. I marketed in some magazines, did a little networking, and had a website.
I feel as if I have floated along in some ways. I have been VERY focused on defining who I am, where my passions are, what drives me as a photographer. After all, I did transition my business to be even more all about me. I discovered I am the Avenger of Sexiness, and I have a Superpower.
But what have I truly done with that outside of changing the messaging on my website? What more could I be doing? What if I take what I know about me and blast it to the world?
What if I was intentional about my business?
What could I accomplish if I was far more focused in my goals?
When Stephanie & I first started working on Vivid & Brave, I told her that I could reach 100 woman a year with my message and my camera in my hand, but I want to reach 10,000 a year. 100,000 a year. I want our voices to be heard. I want us to grow in our confidence and to rediscover our beauty. I want us to be able to speak without fear.
I need to stop, to make plans, to quit floating along. Life has been very good, but if I want to reach as many women as possible, it is time to focus.
That was when it started. I found myself picking up business planners, and then more business planners. Matter of fact, I may have gone a bit overboard with the planners. Oops.
- My Bullet Journal – a free method of using a journal to track everything you need to do.
- Spiral notebook planner from Target
- Desire Map planner from Danielle LaPorte
- 2014 Create Your Amazing Year in Life & Business Workbook
- 2014 Making Things Happen PowerSheets
- Design Aglow – The Big Picture: An Essential Planner for Studio and Personal Success – here is my full review and how I personalized it to make it uniquely my own. This one is by far my favorite.
The great part about the three years I have spent focused on defining myself and what lights me up means that I can tell you all about what drives me, who I want to work with, and all of the other fundamentals. I’ve already implemented those things.
January has been focused on working through these planners and setting up systems for myself. My photography business already has systems in place and things run smoothly over there. I need LIFE systems though.
Setting up LIFE systems
Creating a Space to Work
Just like we talk about creating a sanctuary for when you journal, I have to have a space to work as well. For me, the two are not the same. I reorganized my standing desk (an Ikea hack) so that I can start my workday there. I made space for my daily business planner, so it is always at my fingertips. I curl up on the sofa with my laptop when I need to write blog posts, but my day-to-day work takes place at the standing desk. More statistics and benefits to using standing desks vs normal desks at deskview.co/blogs/products/portable-standing-desk , some have even become portable which as you can imagine, opens up loads o possibility.
Two Day Planners
I keep two planners running at all times. Inspired by a conversation with my friend Audrey Michel, I keep a Bullet Journal, which is a list style of journal of everything I think of that I need to do. (Thanks to Karen Walrond for sharing that last fall!) Then each day as I start my work day, I pick up the brain-dump Bullet List journal and select the items from there that I will focus on getting done that day. Instead of being faced by a daunting list of a lot of things I want to do, I can pick and choose the ones that can reasonably be finished in a day. It is far less intimidating to have a shorter list of things to do, and yet I have the peace of mind knowing that everything I need to do is still noted as well.
Setting Work Hours
When you’re your own boss, this can be one of the hardest things to do. It wasn’t until I started to analyze my time that I noticed the patter of just floating along in my business also meant that I was letting my work take up all of my waking hours it seemed. Since I wasn’t set up with a system of direction, I’d just move from one thing to the next without being focused. Giving myself a stop time means that I push myself to get the daily task list done quickly.
Personal Reading & Journaling Time
In working towards shutting my brain off and conditioning myself to think about work during work hours and relax outside of that time, I’m reading every night before I go to sleep, and for 30 minutes or so every morning. (I just started reading The Goldfinch on my Kindle, in case you’re wondering.) After my personal reading time I get breakfast and then spend 20-30 minutes free writing in my journal before I start my day.
I’m actually only two weeks in to this, as I started to implement it mid-month after Stephanie went home from her visit to Houston. It has been going really well so far. I’m giving myself permission to not be “always on” like before, and I feel far more focused and intentional when I’m working. I’m still working on not cramming too much in to one day, so that will be a focus for February. I’ll update you on what else I add next month, along with what I learn from the process of using my planners.
How about you?
Do you have a planner or a system that you love? We would love to hear from you in the comments! It seems as though everyone can use help with this in one form or another!