Naturally, the photography industry has greatly suffered during the pandemic, and many of us have found ourselves at home, dealing with job cancellations and empty client books. But, just because you have suddenly acquired valuable time on your hands that you normally would have spent on your business or creative endeavors, it does not mean you need to push yourself into extreme productivity.
You only need to look back at your most recent emails from all the companies or individuals you have subscribed to to start seeing a trend. Productivity and effective time management is being pushed through advice on what to do while you are self-isolating at home with no clients to work with. Whether it is a new webinar to listen to, an online group to join to exchange tips and tricks, a new course to pick up or a tutorial to follow, you will find that it has become the norm to assume that self-employed individuals or small business owners will be using this downtime to work on their skills, learn a new one, or perhaps generate a successful idea or business plan . But, should they?
Everyone's working-from-home situation will be greatly different, depending on if you are by yourself, with a partner, or a bigger family. Some of us have other jobs or businesses alongside photography, while others have had photography or videography as the sole income and business generator. Some of us have partners, housemates, or family members who are not used to working from home alongside us, so it is harmful to assume that we all fit in the same box. It is equally as harmful for us to assume that we need to follow a similar action plan that our friends, acquaintances, or people we follow on the Internet use.
Having said that, many of us will truly benefit from using this downtime to spruce up our business plans, especially the points relating to cancellations and insurance, catch up with work that has been left behind, create new content, or work on other to-do list entries that we have always not had enough time for. However, it also means that many are left coping to care for their family, dealing with demanding health needs, or struggling to maintain normalcy during the newly acquired working-from-home situation. We have found ourselves in an unprecedented situation, and the majority of us don't have experience in dealing with or responding to this.
When your mind is preoccupied with pressing issues, such as health, food supplies, and life quality, it is inevitable that your productivity as a business person or as a creative will suffer. Just because you might observe others around you using this time to bring out new products, books, services, or creatively using this downtime in their favor, it does not mean you need to follow suit. Your health and that of your family and closest ones is the priority in order to gain back any type of normalcy in the near future, as is damage control of your business. The latter requires a lot of energy and strength already.
Adding unnecessary stress on top of the already existing issues is the last thing you need for your mental and physical health. Only you can determine how you need to use this time. If anything, this is the perfect time for you to regain any part of selfishness that you may have lost by tirelessly working towards your business or creative projects. This is the time to reconnect with yourself, your own mental health, and your closest ones. This is not the time for you to feel pressured to become a productivity machine that spits out new ideas and projects every day. Use this available free time to strengthen yourself, your relationships, and all your other needs before you jump into new responsibilities or start creating an unrealistic to-do list. Remember, your goal should be to come out stronger through this, not create more obstacles.
Have you felt the pressure to be high performing and productive during self-isolation? How do you cope? Share your experiences below!