Bad Days and Making Changes

Categories: Personal.

Yesterday was one of those days. It started off so good. It was so good to be back home, back to my normal routine, I was basically skipping around the barn that morning (well not really but you know what I mean), loving the cool and fresh fall air, and just so excited to knock out my to do list for the day. I got back to the office, started chipping away, and as usual, got distracted here, and got distracted there.

There’s been so many times I’ve told myself I need to make myself a daily schedule and really stick to it. Office hours start at X time, check email only twice a day at X times, lunch break at X time, etc. I’ve even read (and know from experience!) that we are most productive in 90-minute groupings of time. So one day I made my list, and powered through it for 90 minutes, stopping at the 90 minutes no matter where I was. Then I’d take 30 minutes to do whatever I wanted around the house, and start the next 90 minutes. SO PRODUCTIVE. But it didn’t stick.

So even though I have a rough schedule each day (barn in the morning, errands/short lunch break mid-day, barn in the evening), I kind of arbitrarily pick and choose what I’m going to do in between…and it just doesn’t work. Too often, at the end of each day, I feel like I got nothing done, even though I may have gotten a fair amount done. Too often, I get SO involved in something really important at the END of the day, and then can’t stop and if I do, it consumes me for the rest of the evening, thinking about what I should change or do differently first thing in the morning. Too often, I’m checking my work email, Facebook, etc. during parts of the day that I just shouldn’t be. First thing in the morning. Last thing before bed. It’s just so unhealthy.

Yesterday was just a bad day. I felt like I got nothing done, I spent all day looking at my bank accounts, adding up this, taking out that, looking at my calendar, looking at my giant to do list, looking at other photographers Facebook pages and blogs. Yup, I admit it, I am so guilty of comparing myself to others way too often. It needs to stop. It’s just awful for my confidence and when I see all these jubilant Facebook posts about “such fun clients,” “another amazing wedding,” or “getting ready for ANOTHER great session!” I wonder what I’m doing wrong that I’m not shouting from the rooftops about all of my amazing clients, sessions, and weddings. Really though, that’s not exactly my style, but it still makes me wonder what so and so photographer may be doing that’s so much better than me and why they need to share it with the world over. And over. And over. Who knows? WHO CARES is what I need to be thinking.

So last night I was lying in bed, looking at my phone, and I randomly searched for a video I’ve been WAITING to be released forever on YouTube, and it was there! A video about ME, and my pet photography! I watched it, felt so proud and so excited, and then… I read the comments. More not-so-nice and critical comments than nice comments. And just like that, my mini moment of feeling so much better was gone. And then I was just embarrassed, so I buried my head on my pillow and threw my phone on my nightstand while a flurry of negative thoughts completely took over my mind. After tossing and turning for a while out of frustration and anger, I picked up my phone, reminded myself that the harsh reality is that I just can’t make everyone happy,  but I damn sure can start by making myself happier…so I deleted work email off of it, deleted Facebook off of it, and this morning, I un-liked just about all photographer’s Facebook pages, and installed a productivity extension on Google Chrome to allow me only a certain amount of time each day on the websites that suck the most of my time. Hello positive changes!

I need to get back to where I was before my business took over my life. The work/life separation is currently non-existent, and rather than comparing myself to others all the time, second guessing myself, and still having work on my mind after 5PM, I should be riding, spending time with my family, or -gasp- shooting for me. Can’t remember the last time I did that and ENJOYED it! Things have got to change.

So here’s to taking something bad, and making it good. Here’s to cutting WAY back on other photographers blogs and instead reading more of what inspires me… Emily Ley, Lara Casey, design blogs, and books. Here’s to way less time with my eyes glued to my iPhone screen, and here’s to only checking work email on the computer. Whoa! Most of all, here’s to ME being ME, being proud of my business and where I’ve come, and embracing these bad days because if it means my skin gets even just a little thicker, then it’s worth it.

And because I need a reminder of why I love what I do, here’s two of my favorite images of me working… (First image by Kathleen Amelia – Photographer, second image by KD Photography)

16 Comments Sweet As Tea

  1. Anna K. says:

    Oh Britt, thank you for writing this! I feel like you just described my life. I have never heard about the 90 minute work times, but it completely makes sense and I might have to try it today. Don’t get down, there are lot of Debbie downers out there. Your work is absolutely beautiful and you are so amazing to work with! I just love you and I hope that you have a better day today!

  2. Britt, you’re awesome and your work is incredible! Thank you so much for being vulnerable in this post. I think a lot of us struggle with comparison and productivity. I’m excited about the changes you’re making and I think it’s incredible that you can turn everything off (or at least try to) at 5PM!

  3. Eryka says:

    Ugh. I totally know what you mean. One person’s negative comments can consume your thoughts! But then I try to think of all the people I’ve made happy by helping them and how rewarding working with them was. and one person isn’t going to change that, no matter how hard they try.

    I hope you know that choosing to work with you quickly became a very rewarding experience for us. :) You’re extremely talented, beautiful, funny and a person that I enjoy knowing. Here’s to positive changes. Haters gon’ hate! ;)

  4. shannon christ says:

    Love this post Britt, love the Honesty. Bad days are part of the process of growing and learning who we are. I like your ideas for change:) I am super proud of you, not many people your age are where you are already. Keep your head up high, YOU ROCK.

    Love you


  5. Meghan says:

    I can’t imagine anyone having something negative to say about your work…everything you post is so beautiful…I’m always in awe of your work! I totally understand that your style might not be for everyone, but I think some people with negative comments may also be jealous? Either way though, you are amazing at what you do, congrats on making positive changes, and never forget how many HUGE fans you have out here…if you weren’t across the country I’d soooo have already booked multiple shoots with you!!

  6. Katie D. says:

    HUGS! you’re not alone friend! we all feel that sometimes! and I’m proud of you for making such an awesome change!!

  7. Jen says:

    Good for you. I need to take a page from your book. I’m so in the boat of comparing myself to other photographers and it kills me inside. Instead of enjoying my work, my clients, and how far I’ve come, I compare myself to photographers who have been in the business for years and years and think about how amazing they are.

    I love that you’re doing this for you. I’m in the process of making the same changes for me.


  8. Lynnesy says:

    WOW. I am so proud of you. Those are major steps and that takes one amazing photographer and confident girl to do so. Secondly, I’m so glad you blogged about this! I think SO many photographers that I’ve talked to go through this, definitely including myself, and it’s so encouraging to know others feel this way. Keep rocking your thing….because you’re going to be booming with happiness and inspiration (especially w/o facebook!)

  9. Loved this post. We’ve all been there. If you by chance have the Tamara Lackey Sales course from Creative LIVE you must watch the last section. It is absolutely life changing and I’ve rewatched it a few times since I’ve gotten home from the experience. There is one line in particular that I find myself thinking of often. “To my detractors, I thank you….for you have made me better.” I totally know the feeling that you are speaking of and have been there many times, but trying to find something positive to take away from it has helped me tremendously. Also, by the way, your work is incredible…so don’t for a second doubt that! ;)

  10. angel pope says:

    I’m not sure what inspires people to be rude and negative. If I see something another creative does I leave it. Not everything works for everyone and that’s the beauty of our passion for photography. I have SO much growing and learning to do, but I would still encourage you to designify any meaning you drew from those negative folks. I think there is often resource in the commentary even if it is harsh, but sometimes the resource (like you said) is to just grow thicker skin. Good for you for keeping it real and honest! So just keep on keeping on and doing what you love and doing what you know you are good at. ;-)

  11. Barb Kellogg says:

    Britt, me and another pet photographer were just talking about similar things today. I know I stopped following several photographers months ago because of the things you mentioned. (Obviously you didn’t make the cut since I’m responding here. :) )

    What’s the Steward Smalley quote? I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.

    Now repeat.



  12. Sarah says:

    Britt, Wow! I didn’t see this post yesterday but I found this via your *totally awesome* video post you just put up. All I can say is, “can you read my mind?” Seriously! I was going to write a post so similar to this that’s it’s uncanny. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time. (How’s that for totally messed up?)

    Anyway, first I want to say that I thought the video rocked! I didn’t go to YouTube to see any of the comments because, hey, wait until they’re in that situation and then they can judge. I know firsthand how nerve-racking it can be in front of the video camera. When I did my news segment – in mid-day sun too – I was so happy I didn’t have to show any of the images! I was just clicking away just so it appeared as if I was taking pictures. I was really just too nervous to get my settings right and the light sucked!!!

    Secondly, I know exactly how you feel. I find myself never having time for “me” any more and I’m slowly starting to try to change that. I still spend too much time on FB and looking at other’s work but I’ve quit working for a publication that was sucking up a lot of my spare time and, after the next couple days, photographing my *hopefully* last architectural shoot. The work/life separation is so hard but I’m so glad to see you making moves to get through it. That’s very inspirational and I now see that I need to be more proactive in making those changes too.

    I’ll miss your sweet comments on Facebook and you probably won’t see this email right away but stop by and say hi anytime! Best of luck and be proud of your video!!! :)

  13. Katie says:

    WOW Britt!!! This was VERY inspiring…all photographers need this and need a good structure like this. I’m very happy for you, never let others bring you down. I’m glad you found a good system and it is very inspiring to others, including myself !! Love reading your stuff xoxoxo

  14. Kyla says:

    Such an awesome post! All too often we get consumed by what others are doing or what we think we should be doing instead of just enjoying who we are and what we are doing! Thanks so much for this <3

  15. Jessica says:

    Aww Brittani, I’m so sorry to hear about the frustrations and bad experience but you are quite an inspiration in all that you do. Keep your head up on days like that and know that YOU are one of those photographers out there doing awesome things left and right and your work proves it!! Good for you in re-establishing the work/life balance, I definitely need to work on mine a bit more too lol :)

  16. “Today, you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Suess

    Do not let one person (who probably has no idea what they’re talking about anyway) or any number of persons get you down. You are truly amazing and talented, Britt! You’ve accomplished so much and I am so, so proud of you. There is still so much more goodness to come. You’ll see :) Finding structure and a system that works for you will be HUGE! Don’t expect it to happen overnight, work at it everyday, you WILL get there. I have no doubt about it. Keep your chin up, girl! xoxoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>