The beginning of busy season can be an exciting time. You get into the groove of shooting regularly, and you get to spend the summer and fall months doing exactly what you love: creating memories for your clients. After a few months of busy season, though, it can become overwhelming. With long days, and even longer nights, busy season overload begins.
When you experience overload, your business suffers, and so does your health. How can you tell if you are headed toward busy season overload (or are already there?). We have 6 questions you can ask yourself to find out, plus solutions to help you avoid the stress and headaches that come with the hectic busy season.
1. Are You Exhausted?
Are you exhausted and overwhelmed daily? If your answer is yes, this is because you are heading toward busy season overload (or are already there). You may be having trouble sleeping at night because of your stress, or you may be exhausted after shooting the wedding day.
Recovery Tip: Make sure you are working at regular hours during the day, and get a good night’s sleep. Avoid getting up too early, or staying up too late to work on projects. This can help you feel more rested, which will allow you to be more productive. Also, ensure you are packing proper meals (and water!) for wedding shoots.
2. Are You Stressed?
Are you dreading the long day, the constant timeline changes, and the unexpected issues which wedding shoots have? This is a sign of busy season overload, and is likely because you are so exhausted, you can barely think about organizing the shoot, giving directions, and capturing every image from the day.
Recovery Tip: Hire a second shooter to help you on the wedding day. They can capture images, so you do not need to be in two places at once. They can also communicate with the couple, and help organize parts of the day, like the family formals.
3. Are You Behind?
Is it unusual for you to be behind on sharing images with vendors, blogging, or sending finalized products to your clients? If you are drastically behind, this is an effect of busy season overload. Perhaps you’ve taken on too much, or maybe you do not have the time to work on your daily tasks with all of the additional items added to your list.
Recovery Tip: Write out the tasks you currently have on your list. Figure out which are the most important items you need to complete. Create a schedule for the important tasks, as well as deadlines, and then make a schedule for items that are not high priority. This can help you focus on what really needs to be done in a day.
4. Are You Creatively Blocked?
Have you been shooting at similar locations, and notice you are struggling with finding new ways to shoot wedding day moments? Your creativity is likely dwindling because of the stress you feel from busy season overload. When your mind is on your to-do list, or all of the upcoming weddings you have, it can be difficult to be at your best when it comes to shooting.
Recovery Tip: Take your mind off wedding photography for a moment. When you create a schedule that gives you free time, use it to focus on other things you like to do. If you love to cook, sign up for a cooking class. Or, take one of your free weekends you aren’t shooting to go on a trip with your family or friends.
5. Are You Out of Time?
Do you often look at the clock and realize your entire day is gone, but you haven’t accomplished much on your to-do list? Or, is your family constantly telling you they never get to spend time with you? This is a clear sign of busy season overload, because you do not have work/life balance. Without free time, you may begin to resent your photography business.
Recovery Tip: Find ways to free up your time. Outsource tasks you do not need to be a part of, like your wedding photo editing, album design, and even household chores. This can give you time to spend with your loved ones, and to do other things besides work!
6. Are You Less Motivated?
Have you been skipping out on vendor meetings, replying to emails, or interacting with clients on social media? If these are things you are usually on top of, this is a sign of busy season overload. If the stress is too much, and you are overbooked, you may be less excited to take care of some of the things you usually do.
Recovery Tip: Get out of the house, and away from the computer. Grab coffee with vendors or fellow photographers, so you can talk about life, busy season, or brainstorm ideas. The company will help you feel better, in case you are feeling a bit blue, and any ideas you come up with can ignite your creativity.
Busy season overload is something to identify and eliminate as soon as possible. Once you take action, your stress levels will lessen and you can focus on your business. How can outsourcing your editing needs drastically improve your workflow, and free up your time? Our Guide, How to Integrate ShootDotEdit into Your Workflow, shares insider tips! Grab your copy today.