I had my first engagement session of the year last night and while I was pumped to get back into what I love to shoot the most (couples in love!), it also got me thinking about my time management as a small business owner. I’m the owner and sole photographer of JFP, which means I’m the boss and I make the rules. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the rules because it’s just me and I have no boss making sure I actually do what I’m supposed to be doing. But when it comes to my schedule and having down time, I try my absolute best to make sure I obey.

The JFP time management rules are as follows:

1. No work in the evenings.
After Ally takes her afternoon nap and is up for the remainder of the day, there’s no more JFP work. Sometimes this means I stop work as early as 4:30, which probably seems kinda crazy for most small business owners, especially my fellow photogs. But it allows me to spend family time each and every day of the week with Ally and Brian. And heck, sometimes I even get to go out for some girl time! There are occasional evenings where I might spend 30 mins to an hour to catch up on emails or finish some quick editing, but I try to keep that as rare as possible.

2. Only 2-3 portrait sessions allowed per month during wedding season.
Sometimes I have five weddings a month (this August, for example…when did August become so popular??) so adding hundreds of portrait session pictures to edit on top of thousands of wedding pictures just isn’t smart. Besides, can you imagine shooting a wedding every weekend and then shooting multiple portrait sessions throughout the week!? I need to keep my energy up for what’s most important and that’s my weddings!

3. Only 2 meetings/sessions allowed per week during non-wedding season.
This rule takes a little from #1 and #2. During the off-season, it’s easy to get a little stir crazy and just book a bunch of things out of anxious-ness and excitement. But that can also take away from family/down time and amount of energy. I know I wouldn’t be very happy spending a bunch of nights away from my family every week and I’m pretty sure they’d be bummed in return.

4. No computer work on the weekends…ever!
Whether it’s busy wedding season or not, no serious computer work is allowed on the weekends! Now I might sit down and answer an urgent email or two (because communication is SO KEY!), but it’s never for an extended period of time. Of course it’s important that I keep up with the JFP Facebook page, my Twitter and Pinterest because social networking is constant and a priority for small businesses, but I can do that on my phone when I get a free moment here and there.

So that’s a little bit on how I manage my time. Work time is obviously super important, but so is non-work time. What would this world be like if everyone worked all the time!?! I don’t think it would be very pleasant at all. These time management rules keep me pretty pleasant, so if you’re a small biz owner, especially a photog, consider adapting some of these rules for yourself. The creative brain needs a break every so often and your friends and family would like to see you. 🙂

And because every blogger and every blog reader loves a good picture or two, here’s a sneak peek from my engagement session last night (only evening appointment of the week!). David and Johana are getting married in ONE WEEK…on a Thursday! So you’ll be seeing a lot of them over the coming weeks!

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[…] sane this year, I’m only going to accept a few more bookings for this fall. I wrote about my time management practices and only booking 2-3 portrait sessions each month during wedding season earlier this year, and […]

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