As a Wedding Photographer working from home in Leeds, I always want to utilise and maximise the hours in the day.
The past two years I have started working from home, it's taken a while but I now have a day to day schedule in place that helps me keep my productivity and creativity at a high level. My schedule is always being improved and this is a rough guide to my ideal working day from home.
Being a Photographer and in the creative industry, my daily routine can change very quickly, so keep that in mind whilst taking a nosey through my schedule. I’m certainly more productive in the morning, so my daily schedule is heavily based on that, feel free to use my routine and amend as you wish!
7.00 AM | WAKE UP & START THE DAY
Ok, I may have been telling a fib before, I am definitely more productive in the morning, the problem is I just need to get out of bed. This is one of the more challenging aspects of working from home and not having to make the train and be at the desk for 9am. I'm usually up, after a few nudges from Joanne, for 7.15am. We have a morning brew before Jo leaves for work at 7.50am.
7.50 AM | CHECK THE DIARY AND TAKE A SEAT
I usually aim to be at the desk for 7.50AM & I start the day with Social Media. Social Media is definitely a must for creative businesses but it is also one of my biggest distractions. If I'm not careful I can easily find myself spending 45 minutes reading through Facebook and Twitter, especially if one of my friends posts a great link or article.
I focus my Facebook posts on my latest Wedding Images and schedule the posts for the evening. I check my messages and notifications on Twitter, share some of the awesome Weddings from the Bloggers I follow and write a few posts. I finish with posting one of my useful blog posts on my personal LinkedIn Profile.
8.20AM | READ AND REPLY TO EMAILS
I usually wake up to a fair few emails, I used to have a bad habit of reading emails and thinking 'I'll reply to that email this afternoon' BAD IDEA! I make a conscious effort to reply to every email as soon as I have read it. That way I keep my inbox clear and keep checking back a few times a day.
8.50AM | WORK ON THOSE AWESOME WEDDINGS
Now I have completed all my administration jobs I can start working on why I chose this career, creating amazing Wedding Images for all the awesome Brides & Grooms. On Average, I have 3-4 Weddings to edit at one time, that may seem a daunting task for some Photographers out there, but I have a brilliant work flow policy I keep to, which keeps me inspired and focused whilst editing them 2000+ Wedding snaps! Look out for a blog post on my design workflow soon.
I created my own 40 minute policy when it comes to editing Weddings and Designing Albums. After around 40 minutes I start to become easily distracted and loose concentration, after 40 minutes I will usually take a 5 minute break, grab a coffee, put clothes wash in (points from the Mrs) or give the house a very quick tidy. I really benefit from taking a short break from the screen, once I arrive back I sometimes carry on working on the same edits or I occasionally swap to another awesome Wedding.
12.30PM | LUNCH BREAK
Another bad habit I had, more often than not I would sit at my desk to eat or even worse totally forget to eat! I used to use every minute of the day to work on my editing and design, now I've learnt I really need to take earned breaks to keep my creativity flowing. I usually find myself taking 45 minutes for lunch, I'll often use this time to catch up on The Walking Dead, do the washing up or a bit of book reading.
1.45PM | BLOG POST
In the afternoon I really struggle with the creative juices, instead of risking editing Wedding Photographs and making mistakes, I choose to work on my blog posts. I have several Blogs including the featured Wedding Blog, Wedding Photographer Blog and my Commercial Blogs. I usually post on each one of these a few times a week, so I take an hour a day to write up content for them.
2.45PM | BACK TO ADMIN
I spare another half an hour in the afternoons to catch up on my emails, reply to any comments on Twitter and connect with a few new faces on Social Media.
3.15PM | OTHER JOBS, MEETINGS AND GET FIT
I rarely have a day as a photographer that is identical to another. By this point in the afternoon I used to be climbing the walls, I've learned to use this time to run any errands, nip to the printers, grab a coffee in town or go for a jog.. currently on a health kick!
This time also keeps me open to anything that pops up during the day. I'm part of a few Business Groups and I'm often scheduled for afternoon meetings so leaving this time free really keeps some availability in my diary.
6PM | TURN IT OFF
We don't have any Children, so this allows me to work until 6pm. When Jo gets home I try to make a conscious effort to chat to her, speak about our days and squeeze in an hour of tennis in the summer months. I make a mindful effort to close the door on the office and limit any emails and social media contact just through my phone.
7PM | SCHEDULING KICKS IN
As many of you know the nature of Wedding Photography means most of your potential clients are surfing the web and Facebook once they’re home, kids to bed and sat down in front of the TV. Most of my Wedding advertisements are scheduled for 7 - 8PM, this in return means I often receive several enquiries and messages in the evening. I try to reply to most communications promptly, even if this is just an initial email to say 'Hi it's Luke, thank you for the email, am I ok to drop you a message in the morning? Can't wait to discuss your awesome Wedding Day!'
9.00PM | CALL IT A NIGHT
Around 9pm I'm usually done for the day, I may still receive a few enquiries but I try and use this time to catch up with Joanne, chat about our day and relax!
This plan is just a very general day, I wish everyday would run as smoothly as this schedule but it rarely does. It's a fantastic way to help keep your daily jobs on track, but be prepared you may have to stray away from the schedule from time to time.
Create a weekly task list | A weekly task list is a great way to keep track of your work, if you set achievable tasks and goals on a Sunday Night or Monday Morning, you can spread the work load across the working week.
Allow for ‘me time’ | During the Summer Months I'm capturing Weddings on a Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Whilst Jo may get some peace and quiet and free use of the TV, the weekends are my busiest time, not that I'm complaining, I love capturing Weddings! For me it's very very important to take some time out, I would love to say I take Monday & Tuesday off, but I can't. I'll often work Monday & Tuesday morning and give myself the afternoons off.
Don't work on the same thing for too long | My editing time for Weddings is 6 weeks after the Wedding day. Does it takes 6 weeks? Of course not, but I would never dream of editing a Wedding in one go, not even one week. I need to keep coming back to the edits, tweaking certain things and work on other Weddings I have.
Feel free to add comments, use the schedule and let me know if you have any more tips on daily routines for creatives!