It is already near the end of January. I have been working on finishing my long-term photography project for what feels like a really long time — almost four years this spring. I am getting close to finally finishing! However, the hardest part, for me, is finding enough time to finish this project. Beginning this year, I have made a few changes, outlined below, which has helped me to complete this endeavor.
1. Identifying your most productive time: Everyone has a time of day where they are most productive and alert. Figure out what this time is for you, as it is best to carve out time during these optimal times and leverage these times accordingly.
2. Getting up earlier: Several days a week I am waking up one to two hours earlier than usual. I am most productive in the mornings and this time provides me with a quiet house, fresh eyes, and a clear mind to work before diving into the day. It has really helped me, so far.
3. Scheduling regular dedicated work time: Often, the time escapes us very easily and, before we know it, the day is almost over. To avoid this, I consistently schedule ‘work time’ devoted to my photography project, and I select times that will not likely have conflicts in order to make the work time possible. I have found this scheduling really helps keep me on track.
4. Getting plenty of rest: I am able to do my best work when I have had ample rest, especially since this project requires significant concentration and focus.
5. Getting regular exercise: Exercise provides a reset, which is always helpful and, new, unexpected ideas often flow in during these times.
6. Taking breaks: It is helpful to take breaks when needed. Breaks are essential and provide space and help provide a new perspective once returning to the work.
7. Avoiding interruptions: I have found it helpful to turn off my phone; email; and social media to prevent distractions. It is amazing how small interruptions are very disruptive to making progress on a project.
8. Saying “No.”: It is really easy to take on more work and commitments; and then you find that the time that you have carved out for your project is gone. While I am trying to finish my project, I have found it is best to limit any additional commitments in order to preserve work time.
9. Being Open: While you are working on a long-term project, the work and direction often changes. It is therefore important to stay open, as these projects take on a life of their own, and this is where the ‘big magic’ happens.
19. Keeping the Faith: Having faith is probably the most important component to wading through any large endeavor.
“You have extraordinary treasures hidden within you. Bringing forth those treasures takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion. We simply do not have time anymore to think so small.” — Elizabeth Gilbert