Recorded: Welcome to the ReWork with Allison Tyler Jones, a podcast dedicated to inspiring portrait photographers, to uniquely brand, profitably price and confidently sell their best work. Allison has been doing just that for the last 15 years. And she’s proven that it’s possible to create unforgettable art and run a portrait business that supports your family and your dreams. All it takes is a little ReWork. Episodes will include interviews with experts from in and outside of the photo industry, many workshops, and behind the scenes secrets that Allison uses in her portrait studio every single day. She will challenge your thinking and inspire your confidence to create a profitable, sustainable portrait business you love through continually refining and reworking your business. Let’s do the ReWork.
Allison Tyler Jones: Hi friends, and welcome back to the ReWork. This last weekend, it was really strange because I actually left my house, I ran multiple errands, and I was in stores, which has been really unusual for me over the last couple of years, that has not happened because of obviously the pandemic. And then I just got so used to having DoorDash delivered and Instacart delivered, and so I haven’t really been out much and it was really awesome. And it seemed like I wasn’t the only person doing it. There was a lot of people at the apple store, at Lululemon, all the places that I went on Saturday, there were a lot of people. And it felt like not just because it’s spring, not just because it’s becoming summer, but it felt like the world was waking up again. And maybe that was just me.
Allison Tyler Jones: But along with this awakening or this coming back to ourselves or finding some a new normal, I also feel that pressure to be busy, and that pressure to go, go, go, go, go, coming back. I think we’re all probably a little bit tired of being cooped up and we want to go. But at the same time, I don’t want to forget the lessons that I’ve learned about slowing down and taking time for the things that are important. So today’s guest is Kathryn Langsford one of our faves, and she’s back. And we’re talking about carving out space and basically, learning to protect the asset, the asset of our mental energy, which is really the ultimate asset that we have. And I want to read you a quote from one of my favorite books called The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. And this was written quite a few years ago, but the idea of this book is instead of trying to manage our time, we really need to think about managing our energy.
Allison Tyler Jones: And there’s one of my favorite quotes from this book I want to share with you. “Periods of recovery are intrinsic to creativity and to intimate connection. Sounds become music in the spaces between notes, just as words are created by the space between letters. It is in the spaces between work that love friendship, depth, and dimension are nurtured. Without time for recovery, our lives become a blur of doing unbalanced by much opportunity for being.” So Kathryn and I are going to have a conversation about some of the things that we have done to carve out space, to protect our mental energy and to maybe work a little bit more effectively in some ways that don’t really have to do with managing time, they have more to do with managing energy. And I hope that this will inspire you to do the same. Let’s do it. Okay. Once again, I am so excited to have my dear friend Kathryn Langsford here on the ReWork podcast, and we are going to get deep today.
Allison Tyler Jones: Well, we do, but this is this extra special. I feel like this is what we’ve been talking about. This has been an undercurrent for, I would say at least the last two to three years with me, okay. And so the topic is basically protecting the asset and I think this is actually part of a quote from maybe Greg McKeown’s essentialism book about protecting the asset, meaning in our business when you’re a so entrepreneur or have a very small micro business, the owner, the entrepreneur is the primary asset. And if we go down, it’s all going down.
Kathryn Langsford: That’s right.
Allison Tyler Jones: And so what are we doing to guard our mental and physical energy? And I think the last two to three years that we’ve all been living through has really proven to be challenging for so many, for everybody. I think everybody in the world has had challenging experiences. And so what are your thoughts about that?
Kathryn Langsford: Speaking from my own experience, I sort of saw the consequences of not doing this. And that is what drew my attention to this needing attention. So for example, I was busy for many years with personal stuff and always wanted to keep my business with a full calendar and as busy as I could be. Someone called and wanted to book in, they got the next available spot. I didn’t leave anything open. And it took me a long while to realize that not leaving anything open means my creativity was suffering. Worst case scenario was that I burned out. I burned out to the point where I actually thought about not wanting to do this anymore on the worst days. And on the not worst days, burnout looked like just missing things or forgetting things or not thinking of something that I should have been more of or not being able to best serve my clients because I wasn’t thinking about them. I was too busy.
Kathryn Langsford: And so coming out of bad experiences like that, I feel like I have learned to leave myself open time, literally blocking myself open time. One example is taking Mondays and Fridays off. For the last year or more, I blocked up every Monday and Friday. And…
Allison Tyler Jones: I’m proud of you. When you and I met, you were working every weekend?
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Every weekend. And sometimes even all the other days.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.
Kathryn Langsford: Somebody needed something, I just booked them in.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. You have a need and you said the first date out of your mouth and it was open. Of course, we’re absolutely going to do that. Okay. So I think that is interesting about just having that fear of an empty calendar. So we just book every solitary second that can possibly be booked. What’s driving that I feel at least from my own experience, is the fear that you’ll never work against. So you have to just take everything and book it as fast as you can. And don’t let there be any space because then you wouldn’t be grateful for the work that you have or what else? Forecasting doom and gloom.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Or financial scarcity. Just if I don’t take it now, then I might not have another chance.
Allison Tyler Jones: Might not have it again, might be living in a van [inaudible 00:07:17]
Kathryn Langsford: If I don’t book them now, then they may not want a book later. If I tell them it’s going to be four weeks before I can see them, then they may just go somewhere else. Like always different types of fear of scarcity.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Also you and I tend to be just the teeniest, but addicted to being busy. I don’t think we know too much about each other’s rate, how we were raised, but I think there’s some similar work ethic in there that, you just need to be going all the time because that’s how you build success, is that you just work really hard all the time and never take a break.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Success equals working really hard. And if you’re in my mind, if I wasn’t working hard, maybe that meant I was lazy or I wasn’t doing a good enough job or I wasn’t… That would even trickle down to my family. I’m not a good mother, if I’m not working as hard as I possibly can.
Allison Tyler Jones: There’s slacker.
Kathryn Langsford: Taking an afternoon off is just like, ridiculous. Why would I do that?
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. And so, and now we’ve been through this great pause that happened during the pandemic and then crawling out of that. And I think there’s a lot of that lingering, but what I definitely see in the world and in myself is the realization that wow time is going by so quickly. And that when crazy things happen as have happened in your life and my own, for example, somebody in your family has… My brother-in-law had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital and my sister had to do CPR on him. And it was very super scary. And they had to put him in a medically induced coma. And this was the second week in October in 2019.
Allison Tyler Jones: And I just cleared my calendar. I mean, I was fully booked. I had sessions, I had viewing orders that whole week. And I just said, I’m not coming, figure it out, reschedule, but I’m going to be sitting in the hospital with my sister. And when I look back at that, and even not even looking back, but during that time, it all worked out fine. My clients didn’t run away for me and say, I’m never working with her again. How dare she reschedule me? They completely understood because I have awesome clients and that space was able to be made.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah.
Allison Tyler Jones: You’ve had similar experiences with things that you’ve needed to take care of. I think we’ve talked about that in a previous episode.
Kathryn Langsford: So when it has to happen, we can make it happen.
Allison Tyler Jones: We can make it happen, but we won’t do it for ourselves.
Kathryn Langsford: Right.
Allison Tyler Jones: And when we don’t, then it’s like what you’re saying. When we don’t make time, when we don’t create space, and my sister and I talked about this, Caroline, and have talked about this a lot too, okay, when you have every hour of every day scheduled, we all know what happens when the computer packs up or requires an update that takes 45 minutes to do, or somebody calls from your kid’s school and you got to run get them, you have no room to breathe.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah.
Allison Tyler Jones: When you’re just packing it full of client after client, after client or whatever. And so can we put in time to breathe? And so you have made a concerted effort of doing that. You’re taking Mondays and Fridays off and Saturdays and Sunday.
Kathryn Langsford: You’re learning the hard way.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right? Of course.
Kathryn Langsford: I had to hit a mental health rock bottom.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Is there another way to learn that I’m unaware of?
Kathryn Langsford: Right. So I had to learn the hard way, but the lesson was so successful that I’ve kept it up. There’s been a lot of times I could have filled up that week. There’s been a lot of… I’ve just come out of a period that was really busy and jam packed, but I didn’t fill up the week. I just kept pushing it out and pushing it out. And therefore, I feel like my mental health did really well through a really busy time. It’s not only mental health. It’s the ability to think about what my clients need, think about being creative and maybe creating something new, as artists we can’t do the same thing year and year out. We need to mix it up and make things different and…
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. To stay interested and in what we’re doing and not want to quit.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. So I was able to do that and able to just deal with other problems that came up without them throwing me into complete crisis because I was running on empty. I feel like I have not been running on empty, but it has taken planning and work to have my calendar look like that it’s not natural.
Allison Tyler Jones: No, planning to work. And then we just, before that, we got on this podcast, you and I have just spent the last two hours looking at my own particular studio calendar and having, and you talking me off the ledge of like, you cannot work that much. You have got to start putting some space in there for which I totally appreciate. So what I wanted to do is, as we’re having this podcast, I wanted to give our listeners some action items, because it’s really easy to just say, here’s all the horrible things and you should, if you don’t do it and you should…
Kathryn Langsford: Take time for yourself.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Right.
Kathryn Langsford: [Inaudible 00:12:16] Your own oxygen mask on first.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. I know. And the whole self care and everybody’s laying in a bath, the candle. It’s like, what if you don’t like to take a bath? And what if you not care about candles? And what if you have a husband who’s like allergic to all scented things and won’t let you have them, Ivan Jones. How about that?
Kathryn Langsford: Those super just background noise after a while, they’re just overused terms.
Allison Tyler Jones: That right.
Kathryn Langsford: I ignored.
Allison Tyler Jones: The best self-care I believe is having some mental space to be able to even think. Even just to do nothing. My favorite thing in the whole world is just to do nothing or read a book or have the option to do any of those said things. So fill in the blank of what you think of as self care, but the things that you and I have both done and that I want to share with them is, one of the things I want to talk about is calendaring. So what I realized pretty early on is that, there are certain times of day that I’m really good. So morning, especially if I hit the gym early exercising in the morning gives me actually an extra three hours a day. So in the mornings that I will go and work out at 6:00 AM, six to seven, that seven to 10 is like gold.
Allison Tyler Jones: All the blood is flowing through my brain and I get my best ideas. And that is just a really good time for me. So I don’t want that to be a time where I’m answering emails or looking at emails or on social media or anything that doesn’t require a lot of thought. That’s the time when I need to be doing something that’s really going to move my business forward. So a marketing initiative, writing scripts for texts or emails that are going to go out to clients or working through something that requires a lot of focus and a lot of mental energy, that is seven to 10:00 AM for me. So what I started doing is I quit booking earlier appointments with clients because I needed that time to really be able to forecast and run the business. That’s the time that I would do that.
Allison Tyler Jones: And then maybe at noon, or maybe after lunch, maybe at three o’clock between client appointments or whatever, then I’ll check my email or go on social media or whatever. That’s just stuff that is brainless because I can’t remember who said it, but somebody said, basically your email inbox is just everybody else’s agenda. And so I can attend to everybody else’s agenda later in the day. So that’s something that really, really helpful. And as I’m training my employees, I tell them, do not check your email before noon, get in, get your day plan, get your agenda going of what you know, needs to get done, to move things forward in the studio. And then about noon, check the email and see, there are things that you need to be worried about.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, that’s smart.
Allison Tyler Jones: What do you have? What’s your tip?
Kathryn Langsford: One thing that I’ve just started doing is it sounds still really simple, but I never did it. So after each session, I go ahead and book production time for that session, meaning all my going through a cuing and maybe putting the walls together for the view and order as well as blocking off the view and order for that session. So instead of the calendar, just filling itself up with appointments and then me realizing, oh my gosh, I have no time to get ready for this view and order that’s I’ve got the production time blocked in there. And it just allows me to not have things feel hectic. Things will creep up on me. I’ve got it. If I’m shooting three families this week, then my next block of production time has their names on it. I found that to be helpful.
Kathryn Langsford: That’s funny that you said that about feeling like your brain works best. First thing in the morning, I’ll have to think about that. But I find that I often have phone calls you in the car, but if I’m not talking to you in the car, I do well on the phone when I’m in the car. In the office, I feel like there’s a finite amount of time in the office where I have all my resources in front of me. And so I like to be doing things that have to be in the office here. If it’s a call, it can be anywhere and I’ve got a 45 minute drive home. So I would much rather be doing that in the car. So I don’t need to waste my desk time that way. So, I mean, these are things I’ve had to sort of figure out as I wanted stay to a three day week. Obviously, I was a bit more lax when I was here for five days.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Okay. Well, let me stop you right there. What do you mean by that?
Kathryn Langsford: I didn’t really consider, okay. I only have a certain amount of hours at this desk, so I need to do all my desk things here and then all the other things I can do on the way home or before I get in or whatever. But I think more that way now, because I’m very committed to the three days. There’s been busy periods where it really feels like, oh man, I could really easily work five days, but I’m really creative in my ways of trying to find a way to make it be able to stay to three days because it helps my brain to be off for four days. I obviously family errands and things like that to do.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. But you still have a young child at home.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah, I do. My family needs me, I’m still right in there. But it gives me more space, and in that space come good ideas. That’s how good ideas come when you’ve got nothing going on.
Allison Tyler Jones: That you’re able to just sit and ponder. Yeah. In the shower, you always think of your best ideas in the shower or when you’re driving. But I think that’s really interesting. So calendaring, but then also paying attention to time of day, as far as what your energy is, and also places, what can you only do at work?
Allison Tyler Jones: At your studio or at your computer, and then are there other things that can be done during other times. And so I think it’s interesting too, okay, we’re saying you’re packing all this stuff in there. So this might be counterintuitive to what we’re actually talking about. Okay, well she’s just talking about? Okay, taking all your client calls while you’re on your drive home, but that’s the reason why you’re doing packing all this and trying to make this efficient is because you want to be able to keep that three day work. We can have that four day weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Kathryn Langsford: Not spread work out to those, not spread work out right. When I’m planning things out that I need to do at my desk, I also try and apply the same logic as I do with booking my clients, which is, do I really have to do that right now? Can I put that off? Can I schedule that for next week or the week after? So for example, if it’s something like we have a tax rebate right now and you can like collect all, it’s like a bookkeeping thing that has to be. But the deadline isn’t now. So I’m going to block it for three weeks from now so that I can be able to work around it and not have to jam it into a week where it really doesn’t fit. And again, maybe this is logical for other people, but it took me a long time. I don’t have to do everything right now.
Allison Tyler Jones: No, we’re all creative. We’re all borderline ADD and if not fully blown and it’s distracted by everything. And what’s easy and the shiny thing. The other thing I think too, that made me think of is having the same types of activities. So I’m always blocking off. Okay. Let’s just do all the view and all my sales appointments on the same day. So I’m like in acute outfit, reasonably groomed, I’m doing the same kind of thing. And then that way I can have the stack of folders and the clients can come in and I’m doing the same type of activity. When on the odd times that this has to happen where I’m doing a shoot in the morning, and then I’m going into a sales appointment. That is not a good thing. Because it’s brail.
Allison Tyler Jones: It’s very disjointed. Usually you can’t like be dressed as cute when you’re shooting, because you’ve got to be able to be on the floor, and up and down. And that really takes me out of my flow. Whereas if I have shoots back to back, that’s great because again, same types of activities. So that’s another thing to think about. And especially when you’re new starting out or you’re scheduling your own appointments, it’s easy to have the client’s urgency. Well, I have to have Thursday at noon on this date and you’re like, well, that’s a sales day for me. Well, that doesn’t mean you have to schedule them. They’re not going to hate your guts and they’re not going to go away. How many times have you called a doctor or an attorney or some other professional and tried to get in and they’re like, we’re three weeks out. It’s that’s just what it is.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. The next time I have a Thursday is the middle of next month. Let’s put your [inaudile 00:20:18]
Allison Tyler Jones: You know, I think we all could say that we would like more, really great qualified leads. But what happens when we get contacted by a potential new client? We sometimes have that hit in our stomach of, “oh, it’s not a good time right now. I don’t want to call them what if they ask me hard questions? Oh, I don’t really know that I have the words to say.” And we put it off until we call and they’ve already booked somebody else or maybe we don’t ever call or we’re just letting things fall through the cracks. So if you’re ever find yourself in this type of situation and you feel like I just don’t know the words to say, or I don’t know how to talk to these people or am I doing it wrong? I have a solution for all three of those things. If you go to do the ReWork.com, we have three different free resources for you. One is our ultimate client consultation guide that is going to help you step by step, walk that prospective client through your process, how it is that you work, it has all the little speed bumps. So to speak along the way to help you remember to say all the things that you need to say. Next is our cheat sheet of frequently asked difficult questions that has exhaustive list of all the hard questions that clients come up with that will help you get started on answering those confidently so that you don’t have that feeling in the pit of your stomach anymore. And you’re going to pick up that phone immediately. And lastly is our sales sabotage evaluation tool. And that is going to help you to figure out where you are screwing it up because we all do at one time or another. So go to do the ReWork.com and wherever you’re at in your business, if you’re needing to ReWork your message, if you’re needing to rework your answers, if you’re needing to rework your sales process, they are all right there on that very first page. They are free, they are resources to help you and your business. Go do it, download them now and start doing better. Start booking those clients confidently and start selling them your gorgeous, beautiful work, because they need it.
Kathryn Langsford: I have to underline what you just said, because for many years I would just have this unexplained feeling of irritability when I had a shoot and a meeting on the same day. And I honestly didn’t even really look closely at it and I didn’t even consider it, but I don’t have to do that.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right.
Kathryn Langsford: And then maybe through us talking, or I’m not sure what actually put that together for me, but I have made the same change that you have. I shoot all on one day. I do view on orders all in one day, I have production all on one day. I find the same with production. I don’t like to break up my production. I like to just sit at the computer and mow through all the selling, and the wall designs, and do all that at the same time. So it’s really interesting how much better that feels to just have your brain on one track instead of having it pulled out. I mean further to that sometimes with my staff, if I have a newer staff that might have a lot of questions and need a lot of things, I sometimes tell them, let’s meet for two for an hour at two o’clock this afternoon, you can ask me all your questions. Rather than 25, where’s this? How do I do that? Can you remind me how to do this? It’s just disjointed. It takes your brain out of, so it’s much more efficient.
Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and it’s managing, it’s that protecting the asset and managing your mental energy. So when you go to low energy. So I think for most people that would probably be after lunch afternoon, maybe you’re getting between two or 3:00 PM. Are there things that you find helpful to do during that time?
Kathryn Langsford: I’m definitely okay with production stuff at that time, I find it relaxing to do that. Currently, I’m doing a lot of the… I don’t have a studio manager right now. So I’m doing a lot of the physical, unpacking things and stuff. I might do that. Something physical.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yep. Agreed.
Kathryn Langsford: And I don’t mind doing, I mean on a quiet meeting day, I’m fine doing that all day. But if I’m like segmenting my production day, I might, I don’t know. I got to think about that.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. I agree with you. I think for me it’s physical things like moving stuff around, maybe tidying up the studio or rearranging. If I feel like… Because sometimes you just have those days where you’re just feeling really low energy and you have stuff that you have got to get done. So sometimes getting up and just changing, go move some stuff around or go open a couple of orders or whatever. And then that brings you back. You can just getting up because I think we can sit so long especially if those listeners who are basically the only person who’s wearing all the hats, who’s doing all the shooting and the cuing and the retouching. You can end up in a chair for a really long period of time. So I think that getting up is really helpful. Doing a downward dog, do a little yoga in your shooting area if you can. That’s always a good thing. Okay. What else?
Kathryn Langsford: I think something really important is to be aware of negative cycles of thought that take away from me being able to use my mind to its highest good for its highest purpose. So that’s a long game in terms of retraining yourself. But for example, if I… Anything maybe something happened with a client and it’s negative and I’m resentful or I’m going over the conversation in my head or I’m wishing I said something different or I’m planning what I’m going to… Dis all that is just so useless. Things like that when they do happen, I feel like when I’m at my best handling it, I sort of figure out how I’m going to handle it. Maybe with someone’s help like you. So I figure out how I’m going to handle it. I make plan for how that’s going to be done, make a phone appointment with her or whatever, I handle it and I move on. That’s the best, but it doesn’t always go that way. And sometimes there’s like a month before I handle it.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. And then it’s just been hanging over you.
Kathryn Langsford: It is occupying space.
Allison Tyler Jones: Ruminating.
Kathryn Langsford: It is occupying valuable space that could be used for so many other things. So there’re other things there too worrying about money, worrying about things that I don’t have control over. Lots of negative type thoughts that I think all of us have sometimes. But the more I’ve become aware of them and able to shift myself back to what’s useful. I realize like there’s a lot of hours spent in my head there that I could use for something else.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. But I think the term neurotic applies, I’m definitely neurotic. I overthink way too many things, but I also think that’s what makes me who I am. That I overthink way too many things and that’s great too. Right. And as creatives, we’re more sensitive. There’s a lot of things that hit our radar that may not hit other people’s radars. But I think as human beings, definitely when we’re exposed to upsetting things, fearful things, things outside of our control, all of which we’ve just had a lot of that and continue to have those sorts of things that it does take up space in our mind and it can SAP our energy and we can’t all live in a Pollyanna world of like, oh, everything’s just going to be great. I’m just going to say my affirmations and everything will be fine. So how are you getting past that? When you’re, war in foreign countries, scary things, how are you not letting that take up space inside your head? Or how are you mitigating that?
Kathryn Langsford: I really try to ask myself, is this something I can do anything about? And if it is, let me figure out what it is that I can do about that and do it swiftly. Or is this something that I don’t have any control over? And if it is, I need to let it go. That’s a mental exercise that’s a lot easier in some cases than it is in others.
Kathryn Langsford: But yeah. Sticking to work issues. There are times that there is something I can do. Maybe I just didn’t want to, or maybe whatever, there’s a reason I’m not doing it. So just getting to, I have a choice here. I can do something. Am I going to do it or am I not going to do it? Do I need help doing it? Do I need advice about how to do it? Okay. I now have collected all the information about what I need to do and how to do it. So now it’s time to do it. Okay, great. So those are as a solo entrepreneur in a small business. It’s like we have difficult situations throughout the life of our business. Things that we don’t want to deal with or don’t want to face, and it’s just the way it is. But if we can learn how to strip away the excess negativity that we attach to it, be more efficient with the way we use our brain, when we apply our brain to those situations.
Allison Tyler Jones: And usually I found that for me, that comes down to like a sentence. For me, that’s that is usually solved by words. Now that you find that shocking. And you and I’ve done this many times and Caroline and my sister and I do this too, is that when something comes up that feels like, oh my gosh, what am I going to do about this? It can feel all encompassing, but when you can just stop and say, okay, what do I want to have happen? And how am I going to move forward? I just need a mantra, give me some words. And it’s like one or two sentences max, as we move forward whether it’s something that’s fraught with a client or a vendor, whatever. You’re able to move forward and nothing will sap your energy more, then delay the inevitable.
Allison Tyler Jones: Because then you’re just spinning and twisting and it keeps you’re replaying in your mind 55 times rather than just deal with it. I have a little poster on my bulletin board that says end dreading by doing, and I’ve found that helps me a lot because I can really get caught up in that overthinking and okay, well, why did they say it that way? And how am I going to handle this or whatever, rather than just get on the phone and handle it. Figure it out. So that’s one way to protect your mental energy. Okay. So we’ve got time blocking doing activities on the same days or at the same time of day, figuring out what days, what times of day we have our best energy and doing anything that requires a lot, something that’s really important about moving your business forward or a lot of focus doing that at the time when you’re most alert and you’re most creative.
Allison Tyler Jones: And then at times of day where you’re more low, maybe that becomes more of a physical thing. I tend to schedule installations in the afternoon because I generally will do those all in a day. But that’s something that I find that if I’ve done a Q&A or something like that, or like a bunch of podcast recording in the morning, I’m wrecked. I can’t really do anything in the afternoon. So I’ll go install with my installer. So that works out great, but I couldn’t necessarily go into like a sales appointment or something after that. So anyway, and then I have a note here. The other thing that I wanted to close out with is that there’s this concept of forcing versus cultivating having success in our lives. So I feel like that many times I’ve gotten caught up in, I’m going to force success. I’m going to, I’m sure there’s a way to do this and I’m just going to go do all these things or I’m going to just schedule myself so busy or it just seemed, felt very hard and very forced. For me, a word that I can think of it. Versus this cultivating, this idea of cultivation, which is what I think you’re doing is having space in your schedule to allow serendipity, allow creative thoughts, allow creative things to happen. And that builds energy for me versus this tight grip, forcing something.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. That’s really interesting, creating the environment where your perfect business idea lives. The best way to provide service and the best way to create beautiful products is all honed and perfect. Yeah, that’s interesting. I like that idea.
Allison Tyler Jones: Well, and I love that concept of fostering environment. So I’m always saying, well, can we create an environment in which large sales can happen? And so how do you do that? What does that environment look like? But also this, can we create an environment in our business to where there’s time for creativity, there’s room to cultivate creativity? And then all of those other things as well. So The E-Myth book by Michael Gerber, where he’s talking about you have to have time to work on your business, not just work in the business. And so if we’re constantly just in it, making the donuts day after day, but we don’t have time to pull out and actually work on it. And that’s what I like to do in that early morning when I have my best energy is to work on the business.
Allison Tyler Jones: And then as I get tired, then I can actually do the work that’s in the business because you and I both been doing this for a long time, we’ve reached a level of mastery. So it becomes easy to do it during that time. But if we’ve cultivated versus forced in those off times and had enough time to maybe go to a museum, see something new or just had time off to watch a movie and see some beautiful lighting or just think about something in a new way, it just feeds the creativity. And so we are your teachers today and we’re giving you your permission slip, dear listeners, to schedule yourself less, to schedule some open space so that you can take the time to cultivate creativity, cultivate success, cultivate more energy for yourself and less fear.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. I think there’s one more point to add to that. And that is delegation. Just thinking about… I mean, you and I talk about this a lot. And the busier, when we’re in our really busy times, it’s again, we’ve got to back against the wall over. We’re hitting another rock bottom and it’s like, how can I take myself out enough to do what I need to make space for? So for example, when we talked about what are the things that don’t require me being at my desk? It’s another level of that. What are the things that actually don’t require me that I could pass on? I could have to pay someone for an afternoon to unpack these boxes and take them out to the recycling.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right.
Kathryn Langsford: And always I do a little equation in my head, “Hmm, I’d have to pay someone this much to do that? Is it worth it to me to have that time?” And it almost always is. So the busier we get, the more we can creatively, I mean, there’re obvious forms of delegation, which is hiring full-time staff and giving them everything you can possibly give them. But then there’s other things you’ve talked about before, delegating cleaning your house, delegating…
Allison Tyler Jones: Grocery delivery.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. There’s a fine item of minutes and every day. And if you’re going to choose how you spend part of that day and have that part of that day, having an open space where you don’t need to do anything, then if you really look at what you’re doing during that day, you could probably get rid of some of those things. Either not do them anymore, or give them to somebody else. Give them to someone in your family, give them to someone on your staff. Even the periods where I have had more staff here and they’ve had a certain task list I needed to always be creative about, maybe I could give them this too. Maybe I could get them to do that for me, because we don’t always have that in our mind. We have, in our mind, this person is a photo editor, they edit photos. And we don’t necessarily have in mind, all these other things that are, that I’m doing that don’t require my brain. My brain is best used to be creative, to consider marketing, to consider the needs of my clients. I have certain areas that I know I’m really good at. And the other areas are a waste of my time. Not saying I’m better than that, but saying, someone else could do this a lot faster.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right.
Kathryn Langsford: I was telling you about the Excel spreadsheet. Honestly, I’d have to watch YouTube videos. And I would take four hours to do an Excel spreadsheet. But somebody else could whip that up. So I guess what I’m saying is constantly evaluating. Does my time need to be spent doing these things?
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. There’s just so many more things that are required of us in a day that any human being can possibly do. And I think when we get ultimately, not to be more, but when we get to the end of our life, we’re going to look back and we’re going to think. Nobody’s going to say, oh, I should have just edited one more picture or I should have swept the studio one more time or whatever. You’re just going to think, did I use my time to the best of my ability? And do I feel like I gave my best contribution? And I feel like when we are living that way, even I would say 30% of the time, because that’s probably, I would say maybe if you were the most effective person on the planet, maybe you’re doing that 40% of the time, even 30 is good. But when you feel like you’re just buried and can’t get anything done, it feeds into all of those things. But just like you and I were speaking before we got on the podcast, we do it to ourselves. We look at this schedule, if you own your own business, if you own your own portrait studio, and you look at that schedule and you’re mad about it, we did it to ourselves. So if we did it, we can undo it.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.
Allison Tyler Jones: I love it. Okay. Well, your goal now, if you’re listening to this is to look at your calendar with a very sharp eye and see, where can you carve out space? Where can you put in some open space for creativity and thought and focus on the things that really mean something to you? And how can you protect that asset, which is your mental energy? That is the most important asset that you have in your business, and really actually in your life is your mental energy that you’re able to bring your unique abilities and gifts and talents to the world. And you can’t do that if you’re in fear, if you’re burnout, if you’re broken down. So I hope that you’ve got a few ideas. These are some of the things that we talk about a lot that we come back to again and again, and as we come up with new ones, we will share them with you. Anything you want to add before we go, Kathryn?
Kathryn Langsford: No, you’re great.
Allison Tyler Jones: See, that’s how we know we’re friends. We’re like, you’re just amazing.
Kathryn Langsford: The only thing I have to add is quick you are.
Allison Tyler Jones: Thank you so much. Appreciate you adding that little tit on the bad. You’re the best. See you later.
Kathryn Langsford: Bye.
Allison Tyler Jones: Bye. Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you being here? I know that you have so many demands on your time and so many demands on your attention. You could be watching Netflix, you could be listening to a true crime podcast, but you’ve spent time here at the ReWork learning to make your portrait business better. And that really means a lot to me. If there’s somebody that you feel like could benefit from this episode, that you could help them and help us spread the word in helping other portrait photographers, build better businesses, please go to where you’re listening to this episode and hit that share button and share it with them. And if you have time and can give us a review, you don’t even understand how much that means to a little tiny podcast like ours, to see those reviews and see how we’re helping. And if you have another minute and can send me a DM and let us know what you would like to hear in the future, what you really enjoyed hearing about, maybe things that weren’t that great, how we can do better. We always want to do better, and we always want to support the portrait photography industry in helping you build the best businesses ever. Thanks again so much for being here.
Recorded: You can find more great resources fromAllison@dotherework.com and on Instagram at do.the.rework.