Productivity

Ep 95. Avoiding Overwhelm in the Midst of a Busy Season

avoiding overwhelm
I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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Are you feeling overwhelmed in the midst of a busy season?

Right now it’s the holiday season and everybody seems to want family photos.

I’m sure you can relate. Maybe your busy season during a different time of year, but the holiday season tends to be one of the busiest for us photographers and can cause a lot of overwhelm. So, I want to just unpack today and give you a few tips and strategies for staying sane in the midst of a crazy season. If you’re ready, let’s jump right in.

Consult Your Future Self

This has been an incredible game changer for me. This tip is something that is going to help you avoid future overwhelm. When I asked myself these questions that I’m about to share with you, it changed my entire perspective. Anytime that you are getting ready to schedule something, I want you to ask your future self..

How will I feel if _______?

And then fill in the blank. So for example, say you’re a brand photographer like me and a past family client reaches out to you. They would love to have a newborn session, but you don’t typically do newborn sessions. You love this family and they’re longtime friends, but you really just want to focus on brand photography. Ask your future self this, how will I feel, if I schedule this newborn session that I don’t normally do?

Now, I want you to put yourself in that session. You’re showing up to the session, with all your gear in tow, and you’re getting ready to do the newborn session. Put your future self in those exact shoes and ask yourself..

How will I feel when I show up to that session?

  • Are you feeling super confident?
  • Do you feel like it’s totally worth it?
  • Are you loving it?

Or do you sort of have that feeling of overwhelm and dread, where you’re like.. why did I schedule this? That should give you the answer. If you’re like, yes, I’m going to feel great, then that’s a yes. If you’re not going to feel great, then that’s a no. I also want you to ask yourself this question too:

What will my future self need?

I think a lot of times, as photographers, we get really wrapped up in the idea of book more, book more sessions, book more sessions. That’s all I want to focus on is book more sessions. I’m going to take whatever sessions come my way. It doesn’t matter if it’s my niche, I need the money. When we get that scarcity mindset of feeling like there’s never going to be enough and we always have to take whatever is presented to us, we start to feel that overwhelm creep in. Because we know that it’s not in alignment with who we want to be. So it’s very important that you consult your future self every time you’re making these scheduling decisions. Now you can use this tip with any area of your life, but always remember: when you’re making decisions, consult your future self.

Plan Ahead

Look ahead on your calendar and see what you have going on. I have made the mistake many, many times, even now, where I will book sessions, and then they’ll creep up on me and I will have forgotten to get a babysitter for that day or to plan meals when you’re out doing sessions. Then I’m scrambling last minute trying to find a babysitter or making arrangements for meals and stuff like that. But if I look ahead, and I make it a priority every single month at the beginning of the month to look ahead, or a few weeks out, and see what sessions I have coming up and what I need to have prepared for that session so I’m not feeling so much overwhelm. Always planning ahead is something that you will always thank yourself for. So just make it part of your routine.

You may have heard an episode that I did a little bit ago, Episode 83 The Importance of a Personal CEO Day. Inside that episode I unpackaged not only why it’s so important that you plan ahead, but how to plan ahead, and what are some of the things that you should think about. It’s just having this time block set aside every week to ensure that things don’t slip through the crack, because you are constantly aware of them.

Get Organized

The next tip that I have for you is going to be super impactful if you are in the midst of a busy season right now and you’re like..

I did not consult my future self..

I definitely forgot to look ahead..

Now I am literally feeling so much overwhelm and I don’t even know what to do..

What I want you to do now is make a list of everything that needs to be done. I know this can feel daunting and overwhelming, but if you don’t get it out of your head, it will continue to fester up. You will not be making any traction or progress because you’re going to be overly stressed.

Create that list of everything that’s on your mind that needs to be done. Don’t prioritize anything at this time, don’t organize anything. Just get it all out and get it on paper.. A glorified brain dump, if you want to call it that. Then once you’ve done that, go through and start to decide what are the actual business tasks and what are personal tasks that you have to do. I do this on Trello because I love being able to drag and drop each task and put it in its appropriate place. So I do the brain dump, and then I start to organize it according to the business tasks or personal tasks that I need to accomplish. Then I start to prioritize the ones that need to get done first and which ones have a low priority and can wait.

Set Realistic Dates

The next thing to do is to set realistic due dates. So if you have client work that you’re working on, those can definitely be higher priority, and put the due date that you told the client. Now if you are feeling pressured, because maybe you told them a due date, and you need to change the due date, give yourself a little bit of grace here. Be honest, reach out and communicate with them about the delays in delivering the work.

If you are just honest with them, and you show them that you truly care about them, they will be so much happier that you reached out. Instead of just feeling a ton of overwhelm and forcing yourself to get them done and they’re not the greatest quality because you were rushing. Or not saying anything and just hoping they don’t notice because let’s be honest, even if they don’t notice, they still deserve to know. I think sometimes we give ourselves deadlines that our clients don’t even really care about, and we also try to hold ourselves to these really crazy deadlines, and they’re super unrealistic.

We just need to be honest with our clients and release that pressure on yourself.

Next, I think it’s super important that you learn how to time block. If you haven’t heard this concept before, maybe you’ve heard me talk about it, and you just haven’t really implemented it yet. I want to invite you to a free pre-recorded masterclass that’s ready to go for you. You can grab it over at thepurposegathering.com/productivity. There’s a workbook that goes with it, and I teach you step by step how to time block. It is life changing and I promise you that it’s going to help you stay organized and avoid overwhelm.

Ask for Help

My next tip for you is to ask for help! I know this can feel hard, but it is so important to do and you should not ask for help in a passive aggressive way. Asking for help by enlisting your spouse and your kids, and just saying, “Hey, I’m going to be super busy this weekend, I would really appreciate it if you could do XYZ.” Give them a list of things that they can help with. Again, going back to planning ahead, you can order in meals, you can do meal delivery, grocery order pickup, or hire someone that does meal prep and delivery. During a really super busy season you could also hire a house cleaner, or a friend to come clean your house. That would totally be cool, too.

Make Time for Rest

The last tip I have for you, is to make time for rest. I know this feels super hard, because I am in your shoes, I am in the midst right now of an extremely busy season. I think of this tip right now “make time for rest” and I’m like, how?

The reason we have to make time for rest is because without rest, our list will not get done.

Without rest, our list will not get done. We have to be rested and fueled.

So not only do we need great sleep, we also need great nutrition. We need to prioritize working out even in the midst of a busy season.

Because again, if we are not taken care of, we are not going to be our best selves in finishing the to do list. It’s going to get done, but it’s going to be messy. It’s going to be at a cost.

  • What cost are we willing to pay to get the list done?
  • Are we going to be snapping at our spouse and our kids?
  • Are we going to be staying up super late trying to get everything done?

I think it’s important that we make time for rest. It could even just be 15 minutes a day, where you intentionally set aside time to do something restful for yourself. That’s it! Start small and remember, 15 minutes a day is better than zero.

Give Yourself Grace

This is just icing on the cake right here. Give yourself grace. When you’re in the midst of a busy season. It’s tough, and it often feels like you’re the only one. You’re looking around at everyone else and we start that comparison game again. Everyone else seems like they’ve got everything under control. They’re on top of things and I’m so behind. We need to come back down to Planet Earth and recognize that everyone is dealing with their own stuff. The best thing that you can do is to focus on how you can find rest. How you can prioritize your to do list and how you can give yourself some grace and avoid overwhelm.

ACTION STEPS

Alright, friend, I hope that you enjoyed these tips and start implementing them today.

  • Consult your future self
  • Make sure you’re looking and planning ahead
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Give yourself some grace

As always, Mama, I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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