January 27th, 2018
Every year around this time I sit down to reflect and re-work not only what worked but what didn’t work in the 12 months. What isn’t serving me and what I need to edit out of my daily routines. There are a few big things I’m temporarily not doing in 2018 and even though it’s a big change I couldn’t be more excited about them all.
Let’s dive in, number one…
1. Not taking on portrait clients…
This is not permanent and won’t last all year but for the next 3-6 months – I’m not taking on new photography clients.
Gasps. I know.
This was a long time coming, I’ve sat with this decision and gone back and forth a dozen times – exhausted my closest friends and family with this subject. It’s the hardest and scariest decision I’ve had to make to date. I had to let lots of people know I wouldn’t be able to photograph them in 2018 (potentially really letting them down which made me sick to think about). So why did I decide to do this? Well that brings us to the second thing I’m not doing in 2018…
2. Trying to do it all
I’ve fought this tooth and nail (I’m kinda stubborn) for years. I’ve ignored everyones advice and guidance — every single course I’ve ever taken drills this into our heads and yet I’d ignore it. The advice you ask? Having focus and picking “one” thing to work on at a time. I realized last year I hit a bit of a (self-created) plateau – Last January J was only 4 months old and trying to do it all left me burnt out more frequently than I had ever been before plus I wasn’t growing at the rate I wanted in any of my businesses. Don’t get me wrong, there were amazing moments, memories and opportunities but also a lot of inner frustrations that was hard to explain when on the outside it ‘looked’ like everything was great.
My first baby step was to hire help. I now have two incredible assistants one who heads up the shop and the other who helps me with operations – making sure I’m staying on track.
One night while we were in Greece I had a bit of an epiphany sitting on Yiayia’s floor after we put J to bed. Something clicked while I was explaining what I wanted for the next year to Ko (honestly I think I was just so fed up) — focus on ONE thing at a time. Something’s gotta give. I couldn’t be everything and everywhere at all times like I used to (back when I would just work 7 days a week) I wanted more structure, more of a schedule and more time to create the things I’ve dreamed up.
I decided to take Q1 + Q2 to focus mainly on this blog + my shop.
I’ll also have more focus monthly as well along with themed work days to batch tasks. For example: January has been mainly about the re-launch of this blog + lining up this year’s creatives. February is going to be mainly about the shop (secondary will be the blog) and so on and so forth. Already this is making a massive difference not only in my energy level but in my happiness as well!
For the last 5 years I have always had a full shooting schedule in my calendar. It feels very weird/scary and different to now see an open-ish calendar and filling it up with some of my own projects. If I’m being honest – I’m already getting the itch to be back to shooting which makes me exited for Q3 + Q4 of this year for when I get back into it (hopefully in a new studio space!)
Going forward I think I’ll be breaking up my year in three month chucks to focus — this is the fun part testing what works and what doesn’t – re-working and editing constantly till you find what fits best with where you’re at! I used to work 7 days a week non stop – that doesn’t work anymore for me. I have a little one who I want to spent as much time with as possible and a life outside my business I’d like to enjoy (ha!)
3. Not prioritizing my ‘create’ time
This is another reason why I made the decision above. I realized I wouldn’t prioritize my creative time to play and experiment and try new things. I have a list (more like a booklet) of photo ideas, cinemagraphs, levitation images in mind — new prints to create and collections to launch etc. It’s a very long list and a good one for that matter. So this year I’m making my work a priority. Again — both terrifying and exciting. I feel like I did 5 years ago when I had quit my day job and was just starting out. I haven’t felt this scared/excited in years — I love it.
It’s been fun creating these images on Instagram the last two months (1, 2, 3, and my favourite 4) and getting such amazing feedback. There was a lot of re-gramming going on in 2017 and I really don’t want to repeat this for 2018.
Some things came up in Jan (more on that soon) that set us a little behind schedule implement my create time but its a good thing and I can’t wait to share it with you guys soon!
4. Being a hoarder
There is no excuse. I’m just a hoarder. I usually blame what I do for a living (you never know when we are going to need this useless and difficult to store items for a prop) but our condo though it looks tidy in images was not. Our closets were like the Narnia wardrobe. You could go in and get lost for hours never knowing what new treasure you’d find. Ko is no better than I am – he’s so sentimental and loves holding onto to things.
We took January and seriously de-cluttered like we have never done before. We were ruthless. I also brought my besties in to help with this because they are amazing at calling me out on when I’m being a hoarder and when I actually need to keep something. We put over 10 bins into storage – another 3 bins for donations – and a whole WACK of goodies to giveaway here on the blog soon!
Now that we’ve been living in a tidy and clean place I never want to go back. Everything that comes into our home now has a place or it has to go.
5. Negative Mindset
I really don’t want to use the “A” word here (cough cough *Algorithm*) but 2017 was a bit of a doozey for lots of people in my industry. I cannot remember ever paying more attention (and worrying) about numbers and growth. For years I would just work hard, put out what I loved an enjoyed and that was that. I was too busy doing shoots and creating the things I wanted to create to pay much attention to anything else. Then like everyone else I started to notice engagement dropping, less interaction and a plateau of growth.
Enter: the comparison game.
Like everyone I’ve fallen down the ‘rabbit hole’ of comparison and negative self talk more than a few times last year. To be honest, I was worried how I was going to transition from being mainly known for travel photography to incorporating more of my family and daily life with my twist. I didn’t know how much I wanted to share of my family or how much people cared to see. I think I’ve finally found my grove and mix of what I want to be doing – I’m sure this will change again about 100x but the difference is now I’ll let it happen vs. fighting it.
Through going away in September and getting some much needed distance from work and social media I realized how backwards my mindset was. I truly believe the trick here when we go down that rabbit hole is to stop and create what you want to create – something that exists you! It feels good to be back on track for the last few months.
Go back to why you started, go back to why you love what you do and it will click back into place.
The reality is, even if no one was watching or reading I would still be doing this everyday. Its who I am and what I’m meant to do! So if you’ve been feeling like this too you’re not alone, we’re all feeling it to and lets go back to creating amazing things for each other to get inspired by!
As always, I hope this post gave some of you some inspiration or help – I think we’re all craving more real-ness and though you may feel alone I assure you we’ve all felt the same way you’re feeling now!
Lots of love, Anna
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