Bag it, Better it, Barter it

CATEGORIES: Allyson Portraits, Weddings

This is a saying my life coach and friend, Meadow Devor, taught me a few years back….it’s been about 2 years now since I first seeked her help.  I was frustrated, tired, bored and wondering why I did what I did.  Two years later, my life is simpler, happier, better, richer and fuller than ever!  {This is not a paid commercial by the way}

I was going to title this post “Simply Simple” but the title I used is what got me here.  As we’ve officially entered wedding season, if you’re a photographer, this is the begining of the “push” where we work weekends and often 6 days a week.  I’m about in my 10th year of shooting weddings, and I’ve chosen to simplify my life and now find SO much more time on my hands I hardly know what to do…and my life is happier than ever before.  Dan is happy because I’m not working as much and am not as stressed, and I’m happy because I still do what I love, I just bag, better or barter what I dont’ want to do!

Please know, I’m not writing about this for my own benefit, I’ve done it, but I know that there are many of you out there who could likely use this advice.  Here are some examples of what I’ve put into place to get where I am…

  • Hired a completely trained office assistant – Cady is the best – a recent Brooks’ Graduate and a lifesaver!!!  You simply cannot do everythingn yourself!
  • Blog calendar – I try to schedule my posts each week and keep a running list of things to write about – writing doesn’t come very natural to me, so I have to plan this stuff!
  • Grouping appointments – when possible I schedule consulations, proof review sessions etc all on the same day, so I might end up with 4 appts or more on one day, but I only have to look super nice for one day and my other days are not all broken up with appointments!
  • Finish BEFORE the deadline!  Work on projects and complete them before they are done – this reduces stress levels a bunch
  • Have a complete list of second shooters – and schedule out the years worth of Jill and my weddings with an assigned assistant, this helps them plan too.
  • Hired an accountant {with 3 businesses, I was crazy to do this myself…and I wasn’t very good at it!}
  • Switched all bank accounts to a bank with incredible Bill Pay!!! {this seriously saves me hours each month}
  • Unsubscribe from waste-of-time junk mails!  I did this to EIGHT companies this morning – not only does it save me time, it saves me money because I’m not seeing a bunch of stuff I don’t need!
  • Have one month with a mission – for instance for me, January is “home maintenance month” I schedule any regular annual home maintenance for this month.  Also late December, early January is “website update” time – to get a fresh start for the year on the website.  This year I also redid the blog and had a goal of finishing it by February.
  • Make a list – of all the things you want to get done, big and small, and put deadlines on them:
    • Dan and I keep goals lists broken down with deadlines – 1 year, 2 year, 5 years, 10 years etc…and then break down the goals into baby steps, you’ll get there if you write it down!  This might be the most important point in this whole thing…so take note!

Now, with all this spare time on my hands, I don’t sit around eating bon bons watching TV – in fact I hardly ever watch TV.  I do keep busy around our home, this winter I painted the entired inside of our house {with a little help from my mother in law – thanks Char!}, including sanding priming and painting the trim – we have a LOT of trim!!!   Now it’s on to the yard.  Last year it was putting together the new studio and a new website.  This year I’ve also put together a big project which will hopefully be announced within a month or so, a goal of mine for over 2 years!  These are all things that are on that “goals” list that I was telling you about above.

OK so enough about me. What are you going to do to simplfy your life?  Start with some of the above points, it takes a little time to get everything set up, but after about 6 months, instead of running around frazzled and tired, you’ll find yourself with more energy and more time.

I’m going to end this long post with this idea….people and things are either adding energy to your life or sucking it out – are there people or things you need to “cut out?”  think about it….we only have one life to live, might as well make the most of it!

Here’s a photo to keep this post visually interesting!!!  It’s from our DC trip, part of my personal project on trains.


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