Taking Breaks

My mind wanders. It races sometimes. I have great ideas that I often don’t have time to write down, let alone make happen. My to do list overwhelms me. As anyone who works full time from home knows – your business can become your life. As small business owners, often we ARE the whole company. There’s marketing and advertising, customer service, human resources, accounts payable and receivable, public relations, the clerical stuff like copying and filing and phone and email and social media – oh, and, also the photography and editing and design itself – and usually it’s one person doing the job of several departments. It can definitely get overwhelming. I remember about a year ago I had a period of time where I just could not pick up my camera. I could not look at another photo. I could not blog or post on my Facebook page – I just had to step away. This was after 7 years of working almost non-stop, and I mean things like checking email and editing photos until 2:00 a.m., saying yes to every booking and working every Saturday in the spring, summer, and fall, and then having 10 weddings and 20 boudoir sessions to edit in the queue – I hit the proverbial wall. All of a sudden I had to stop, or die – yes, it felt that dramatic. All of a sudden this amazing profession that I love so much felt like a “job” – something I never wanted to feel and never want to feel again.

Taking a step back was the best thing I could have done. It was a time of contemplation and brainstorming and exploring what I actually want to do. And one of the most important changes that I made is – I take breaks now! I stop working at a certain time, for example, if it’s after 9 p.m., that email can wait until morning. I don’t book shoots every weekend. I accept a limited amount of weddings per year. And most of all – especially on the days when my mind wanders and races and my to-do list overwhelms me, I take my camera, and I go for a walk. Sometimes I take my dog and we explore the neighborhood. Sometimes I get on the subway – strangely, a crowded subway train just gliding along over and under the city, makes me feel extremely peaceful, especially when I have good tunes in my headphones. And I just let this city inspire me. I let something other than weddings and brides and boudoir and marketing and email and SEO and blogging fill my mind. And it is always wonderful, there is always something unique that catches my eye. It’s like yoga for the mind.

And the great thing is that I love photography – again, still – and I look forward to every upcoming wedding and shoot. The passion and motivation is back, possibly even more than before!

I highly recommend taking breaks, taking time for yourself, setting a schedule and not letting work overwhelm you. Don’t let work become your life. Don’t let your passion become just a job.

I have posted some of of my NYC photos before here – and now, here are a few more recent ones!

These prints and more are available for purchase on my Zenfolio site!

All images protected by copyright © Kamila Harris.2012.All Rights Reserved