The Value of all that you Love - part 3 of 1 2 3

by Anurag Sharma Published 01/11/2011

To me, time is, without doubt, more valuable than money.
I am 40 years old, married with two young children. I work (yes, my other job) for a software company based in Preston, Lancashire. I live in a beautiful village, near Lytham. I was 18 and a half stones in weight (107 kg) and I was diagnosed as a diabetic on April Fool's Day 2010. At first, I thought it was a joke.
A progressively unpleasant 'joke' that has the very real outcome of eventually rendering me blind, having to lose my feet, causing a stroke and worse.
A 'joke' that was all of my making.
A 'joke' that put my life straight into perspective.

You cannot buy back time. Time is unforgiving.

Once it goes, it will never come back.

Ever since the day I was diagnosed, I have tried to spend more time with everything and everyone I love. I have endeavoured (and there have been lapses) to control my diet and my health. It isn't always easy but I have focus.

I don't want regrets of not having been there for my children. I want to see them grow up (I mean really see them day after day). These moments, these days, never return. Never ever. They are so young and in a matter of years, they are gone.

My workflow, nowadays, means that I am spending less time on weddings and charging more for it (which also initially results in fewer weddings being booked). I started recording everything I started doing in my business.

Making a note of the time spent. This way, I got an idea of how much I was putting into a wedding. I then streamlined my workflow to reduce the time I was spending. Like controlling my weight, it is not always easy. I found writing down what I ate and how much I weighed, day by day, helped enormously. I applied a similar principal to my business (notice I don't refer to it as photography). A piece of paper and a pencil is all you need.

Now I also keep an up-to-date list of things I need to do with my business.

I spend the fixed amount of time I have, working through that list, top to bottom. When I run out of time, I stop. Everything has to wait. My time is needed elsewhere. This is the right way. It's not always easy but it works.

Every click of the camera has a consequence. 3,000 images? How does that translate to the downloading, the selection, the processing, the presenting, the printing, the uploading, the burning, the expectation, etc? It just takes away more and more of your time. I now take about 1,200 images on a wedding day. I don't miss the other 1,800. My next milestone is 800 images. I know it won't happen overnight. I know this. I know I'm an O.K. photographer and I also know I can be better. I have booked myself into training courses to help me improve. I know I have a lot more to do but only within the boundaries of my life.

Take a look at your life, know what is important to you and anchor yourself

to it. Don't delude yourself. Don't escape from what faces you. The art of photography and the business of photography are two different things.

Don't spend an inordinate amount of time fiddling with things. Fix your time.

Stop spinning those plates you don't want or need to. Fall back in love with the things that you want to spend more time on. You may already be there now.

I still don't have enough time to do all that I would like to with my business because I still have to think about that finite resource in terms of my family.

At the moment, I have set aside 18 hours a week for my business, excluding those weekends I cover weddings and other shoots. Not much time huh? I will make more time as I reorganise my life.

I went down from full-time to part time recently in my 'other' job. I've finished with my school posts. I intend to leave my part-time job, just before the 2012 Convention, and devote the remaining time to my family, my photography and my business. The things I love. I've talked it over with my wife and we can do it.

I still read, watch and listen to all things photography and business related.

I just do it in my own time. I listen to interviews when I drive. I read before bed. I also photograph my friends and my children a lot. I spend more time with other photographers, meet up, share and do photo shoots. They are really good with me. It's time spent together. Time doing and being with the things and people I love.

I am not trying to be someone else. My life is my life and now I know my limitations.

Sure, I need to think about the 'competition', the other photographers grafting it, marketing hard, networking constantly, getting work. But that's not me, not now. I could do that if I had to, if money was the overriding factor in all that my life is, if I didn't have the responsibilities for others - my presence here, for my family, is more valuable than that.

I really don't want those photographers who are about to start or indeed have already started, to go through the cycle I described earlier. Sure, everyone has to start somewhere (and everyone is different) but you can choose where you want to go. You can plan your time accordingly. Forget the money as being the overriding factor. You'll find a balance. Learn not only the craft of photography but the craft of business. Just don't go jumping into it head first without spending the time.

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1st Published 01/11/2011
last update 07/04/2022 09:18:03

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