Are you a multi-tasker or context switcher? Or are you good at keeping focus?
Either way, you want to read this, as either of these habits could be costing you and your photography business a small fortune…
The Dangers Of Context Switching
Focus is where it is at if you want to make great progress.
Most of us have the habit of context switching. This is something that I learned from a mentor called Todd Herman.
Basically, we don’t focus on one thing until completion. We start too many things or have too many projects on the go at the same time. This dilutes our resources and means that it takes us far longer to get any one project or task finished and therefore get results.
I once read a great story about this which explains this really well…
Imagine that you are on the side of a big valley and you want to build a bridge across to the other side.
Too many people start building 5 bridges at once to try and get to the other side. Yet you only have a certain amount of resources (time, energy, money, confidence, building materials) to dedicate to building these bridges.
It’s going to take a lot longer to get across to the other side of the valley if you are building multiple bridges rather than focusing your resources on the one bridge, right?
How To Speed Up Your Progress
For example, you might have three projects you want to complete – SEO’ing your website, putting in place a new sales funnel with email sequence, designing a new sample album.
Many photographers will work on each of these concurrently. For example, working on the website on Monday’s, the sales funnel on Wednesday’s and the sample album on Thursday’s.
However, if instead, you decided to work on the website the first week (which is 2-½ days work) then instead of taking three weeks to get it finished, it will be finished within one week. You will start to see the benefit of it much quicker and then you can start on the next task.
When you context switch, you will more quickly find yourself overwhelmed and heading for burnout.
You are more likely to feel like giving up when you have too much going on. When you are trying to build multiple bridges.
Do This Now…
So, grab a pen and paper and list down all of the bridges that you are trying to build in your business right now.
List all the tasks, jobs, projects that you are working on.
Write them down, all the different parts or areas of your business that you are working on, that have different focuses or require different skill sets and that is causing you to jump about or stray a bit.
A foundational principle is that nothing will be done to the level it needs to be if you are working on too many things at once.
So have a think right now about how many bridges you’re currently building. Write them all down and then I want you to pick one task, a project to focus on first.
Once you’ve finished building that first bridge, that first project, then you will get to the other side so much quicker, more cheaply and you will be in a better place confidence and mindset wise.
Then, when you have that first project finished, that first bridge built and are reaping the benefits, you’re able to gather up all of your resources, learnings, revenue that it generates and start building the next bridge, working on your next project.
This is a far more powerful way to go about your business…
Add to that, you now have a much greater chance of being successful than those who are continually context switching and getting overwhelmed because they are trying to do too many things at once and never getting any finished.
Therefore, it’s really important to pick one project, task, out of all that you want to do, that you might currently have on the go.
The way I normally choose is which will give me the biggest return on my time and effort balanced with how easy and quick it is to achieve (to give myself a win).
It’s really important as a business owner, often one who works alone, that you don’t overwork yourself and end up with burn out.
We all have so much more going on in our lives. Our business is just one part of our life so it’s important to ensure that the time we do spend in our business is incredibly focused and a good use of our time.
Trying to jump ahead and do too many things at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, confused and plain miserable.
The other key thing to remember is that, especially in the early days of your business when you are trying to build momentum, you should only be working on things that generate revenue – attracting leads/enquiries, converting these leads to clients, shooting for clients, selling a product.
Anything else should be secondary to the main project you have chosen to focus on as they are costing your business money.
So rather than spending time posting on social media (most of this does not generate leads)…
… entering competitions,
…becoming a better editor when your editing is more than good enough for the fees you are charging and the size the image will be printed at,
…or whatever it is that you SPEND your time doing,
Focus on generating leads and booking clients, generating revenue for your business.
That’s your main job as a photographer, a business owner.
Make sure that, especially when you are doing all the roles in your business, that the ones you focus on are the ones that are generating revenue.
Don’t waste time and energy on the “stuff” outside of these priorities. Or you will never reach the levels of success and income that you desire.
Don’t get easily distracted by “bright, shiny objects” or the latest and greatest magic bullet.
Focus on your strategy, get into your rhythm and follow the process in my frameworks.
You will find it a much more enjoyable experience when you do stay focused, and more importantly, you will get better results more quickly.
Image already added