This isn’t a photography post. Well really. It applies to photography, and just about everything else I do in life. A few years ago, maybe 6 or so now actually, my life changed a lot. A change for the good. It all started off with a book recommendation from one of my good friends. The book is titled Be Great: The Five Foundations of an Extraordinary Life by Peter H. Thomas. This blog isn’t going to be about promoting the book, I mean it is a great book, and I think you should read it, however I won’t overly get into the details of the book. In fact I forget a lot about the book, and now that I am writing this I will put it back on my pile to re read it.
Byron what are you yakking one about then? Well, basically the book follows Peter’s life, and the major focal point was time management.
Let’s rewind. Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in a day? Do you ever wonder how successful people do all the things they do? I did, and I still do, but here is the secret. They only have the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year that you do. What is the difference? Are they lucky? Are they special? The answer is no. The answer is they use their time more effectively than everyone else does. Before I read the book, I felt like my “to do” list always got longer, and longer. I couldn’t breath, I was ready to quit, I was about to break. I was a hobby photographer, and I worked a shift work job in which I am at work 15 days a month. Which as I write that, now sounds silly. I should have all sorts of free time! I didn’t, and maybe you are reading this and agreeing that you don’t think you do either. Again I will say it. Everyone has the same amount of time in every single day. The Rock, Steven Tyler, the Prime Minister, Elon Musk, they all adhere to that one constant we all do. They are just using their time more effectively than the rest of us.
The breakdown. How did my life change after realizing that I had poor time management skills? A lot, my whole though process changed, and I completely changed my life. That very week I cut off my tv, everything except for Netflix. According to statistics Canada most Canadians spend 2-3 hours a day watching television. I realize I can do that watching Netflix also. However I find with Netflix, and having to actually search something out, I only watch if I am actually interested. I don’t find myself getting caught up in “the next show” on and therefore spending my whole evening on the tube. My next major change was selling my gaming system, which was a huge time thief for me. Easily between the two I had saved myself 2-8 hours a day right there. The adjustment was huge, now years later, I don’t miss either at all. In their place I have enlisted podcasts, and music. Music, the spice of life, I don’t really need to speak on. Music is essential to the soul, enough said. Podcasts are great. They are ways to learn, enrich your mind. I have learned a lot about photography and other things through podcast. The beauty of both, is that you can listen to either, while completing other tasks. Multitasking, as it were. Phones are another huge distraction. Phone screen time might actually dominate the whole category. That being said most people cannot function with out. They are hugely instrumental in engaging with people over social media, planning, networking, etc. I have made a conscious effort to limit my “browsing” time and try to use my phone for social media marketing, business, and communication alone. Making these small changes freed up all sorts of time, hours and hours per day. Using this time for self education, wellness, and putting into my hobby became instrumental into my growth.
It didn’t end there. There was a lot of cutting, which in some instances included people as well, which is unfortunate, however necessary. Not that I don’t ever see my friends or family, just weekends long for partying, and carousing have ceased. I still like to get out and have fun, however it is limited. Not a popular choice for everyone, but it boils down to what you want out of life. What you want. That is ultimately going to be your starting point. You wouldn’t be having this eternal battle, if you were not trying to tackle projects in your life that you are not having time for. The goal here is to break it down into a simple form. What do you want. Write it down, perhaps it is 3 or 4 things. I wanted to grow my photography business, be more healthy, and get myself in a better financial situation for example. I wrote these things down. Then I walked through my daily routine. What was I doing every single day to better my position in these areas? What was I doing that wasn’t? Every single choice I make on a daily basis boils down to this simple structure. Am I buying the right groceries to be healthy? Will playing 5 hours of video games a day help me grow my business? Do I need a new car or will my old one continue to serve its purpose? All these thing, and everything else adds up quickly to distract you from your goals.
No body is perfect. Obviously this quick blog isn’t an end all, be all tool. I just hoped that if you are struggling as I have that I can inspire, and motivate some of you, and also re-motivate myself. I am not telling you to not have any fun, or take in a movie. There is time for all of that if you budget yourself accordingly. Ultimately it becomes a matter of what goal you are looking to achieve. I definitely have found time to grow my business. It is definitely not where I want it to be, it may never be. However everyday I keep heading in the right direction. I have definitely let myself down in some areas. I don’t frequent the gym as much as I should, I don’t always make the right nutritional decisions. However I am going to rededicate myself to that. It starts with a list, and the question “Is what I am doing right now benefiting my goal in this area?”