How to Balance a Million Photography Projects Without The Overwhelm (Q&As)
What do you do when you have too many priorities in your conservation visual storytelling work, and you can't seem to balance all the tasks on your plate all at once?
Finding focus in your photography
Today, we're tackling questions from listeners!
Today's questions were submitted by a Conservation Photography 101 student:
- How do you balance all the things you need to do as a freelance conservation photographer and STILL have creative time?
- How do you prioritize projects, tick tasks of your checklist, and not have a nervous breakdown in the process?
These questions really resonate with a lot of people, including me.
In fact, it reminded me so much of where I was at when I was really diving into conservation photography that I actually brought in my own mentor, who helped me tackle these questions when I was asking them myself!
Johanna Madjedi spent 25 years as a manager in Internet Technology and gained an enormous amount of skill in balancing projects, prioritizing tasks, and organizing one's time. She also happens to be my aunt. So, it's no surprise that when I was getting started in conservation photography (and became utterly overwhelmed with projects, responsibilities, and should dos) that I turned to her for mentorship and guidance.
She taught me how to craft not only a strong mindset around project planning, but the systems I lean on still to this day.
So, when I saw the questions come in that reminded me of myself years ago, I knew she'd be the perfect cohost for this episode.
Today, we're diving into questions about balancing all of these conflicting priorities and juggling all kinds of tasks, and how you can figure out what it is that you're gonna work on and not be totally frazzled by your to-do list.
- Get Stuff Done Planner for Productivity
- Stephen Covey
- Episode 15: How to build a scope of work for a photo assignment
- Episode 16: Your photo project needs a work breakdown and here's how to create one
- Episode 32: Three tools essential to my photography business
- Allllllllll my favorite tools
Episode 083: How to Balance a Million Photography Projects Without The Overwhelm (Q&As)
(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)
Hey there, and welcome to this episode of Impact. Now, we are doing something a little bit different on this episode, and it's actually something that you can expect on a regular basis moving forward. Today, I am answering listener submitted questions. So if you have a question about conservation visual storytelling that you want me to answer on this podcast, if you have a burning question and you're like, "Jaymi, I just want you to dive into this", you can submit that question. You can go to jaymih.com/ask, that's J-A-Y-M-I-H.com/ask. And you can leave me a voice message asking whatever questions you have on your mind about conservation photography or visual storytelling. And I'm gonna be pulling questions from those submitted voice messages, and we'll be answering them on the podcast moving forward.
0:01:20.7 JH: And this question was asked, and it led to more questions, about balancing all of these conflicting priorities and juggling all kinds of tasks, and how do you really figure out what it is that you're gonna work on and not be totally frazzled by your to-do list. Oh, my goodness. Raise your hand if you've ever felt like that, right? So I wanted to tackle these questions in today's episode. And this also made me think, "Man, there's a lot of questions out there that we all have that we can tackle together on the podcast." So again, if you have questions about visual storytelling that you really want me to answer, just go to jaymih.com/ask, J-A-Y-M-I-H.com/ask, and leave a voice message.
0:02:12.7 JH: Now, today's questions really resonated with me personally, because it took me back to six or seven years ago when I was really starting to build the creative side of my work into a business. I was starting a lot of personal creative projects for conservation photography. I was juggling several of those while also trying to create a bit of a side hustle and get some assignment work and some photography gigs. So there was all this stuff that was all conflicting in terms of priority. Plus, it just felt like I had 48,000 things on my to-do list. I was at this breaking point where I knew that something had to give. I was trying to do all of that in addition to having a full-time job, and I did not wanna slack at all on my full-time job. So I turned to someone for help in figuring out how to set up systems and structures and habits to help me juggle all of this creative work and prioritize. And so I brought that person on to today's podcast. We're gonna dig so far into these questions. And if you are struggling in any way with trying to figure out what to work on and when and balancing everything, you really are gonna love what is inside this episode.
0:03:27.7 JH: I've brought my mentor, Johanna Madjedi, onto the podcast to basically take us through everything that she taught me when I was in that place to help us answer these questions she lays out so much great information. So grab a notepad and a pen, you're definitely gonna wanna take notes. And speaking of taking notes, if you want notes from any episode, you can go to the show notes and download a transcript. Every episode has a transcript, so you can download that as a PDF document, and there are your notes good to go. You may just want that for this episode, 'cause there's so much in here. Alright, without further ado, let's dive in.
0:04:17.2 JH: Welcome to Impact, the conservation photography podcast. I'm your host, Jaymi Heimbuch. And if you are a visual storyteller with a love for all things wild, then you're in the right place. From conservation to creativity, from business to marketing, and everything in between, this podcast is for you, the conservation visual storyteller who is ready to make an impact. Let's dive in.
0:04:48.4 JH: So Jo, welcome to Impact, the conservation photography podcast. It's wonderful to have you officially on the mic now. You've been kind of behind the scenes for so long, and now you're on the mic.
0:05:00.5 Johanna Madjedi: Well, thank you. Thanks for inviting me. I think this is really interesting. It's a different kind of, I don't know, perspective to be part of your life this way, because I'm used to being behind the scenes and just part of your everyday life. And so being in this forefront of it is really different for me. So this'll be interesting experience.
0:05:19.3 JH: It'll be awesome, because everything that we're talking about today is stuff that you have walked me through over the years. So we are digging into the questions that have come in to start doing these Q&A session style podcast episodes. But when I got these two particular questions... There's actually three, but I have a feeling we may only be able to get to two of them. They were so familiar. They resonated so much, because they're everything that I have worked on over the years to start to really build systems for, and you're the one who helped me to craft these systems. So I'm excited to talk about harnessing the creative mind in a way without stifling the creative mind and digging into coaching questions that revolve around balancing creative life with the busyness, balancing the creative business with creative time and all these other really awesome things.
0:06:15.7 JM: Without having a nervous breakdown.
0:06:16.8 JH: Without having a nerve... Preferably, preferably.
0:06:21.3 JM: Yes, yeah.
0:06:22.7 JH: So Jo, before we get started in on the questions, just so that everyone kinda gets a feel for your background and why I lean on you so much for this type of mentorship, Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
0:06:35.4 JM: Sure. It's very different than yours in a lot of ways. My background is in information technology. I started out in computer networking back when nobody knew what the internet was and worked my way up through that industry, worked at a university here in California, started out managing the campus network, and then slowly got into management. And as I had to take on more and more tasks, and manage more and more people and more and more projects, and things are changing every day in the world now, but also, especially in technology, I had to learn a lot about how to manage my time, getting things done, figuring out what was most important. And so, when we started talking about that, with the struggles that you were going through, I felt like I was able to tap into a lot of what I learned over 20 years of experience and apply that to your world even though we live in completely different worlds in terms of you being in the conservation photography space and me being in an IT space. Plus, I love what you do, and you've exposed me to so much, and it was just such a an experience to work with you that way. I just loved it.
0:07:52.7 JH: Awesome. Yeah, it is amazing how much I think... And we're gonna get into this a little bit more. I think that there's an interesting mindset shift that happens when you think about, "Okay, yeah, but I'm in this creative space, and I've got these projects, these creative projects that are going on, and this is the way that we juggle and think about things." And to realize that so much of what you have experienced and built expertise on inside of being a manager and implementing huge projects and managing people and prioritizing, that absolutely applies to individual personal creative projects.
0:08:30.0 JM: Yeah, it really does. And I equate it to, you know that old vaudeville act where they have the guy with the sticks and the plates spinning on top?
0:08:39.7 JH: Yes.
0:08:40.1 JM: He's going, "Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah... " The plate starts to wobble, and he's gotta jump back and forth across the stage to make sure they don't fall down. And then they add another stick, and then they add another stick with another plate spinning. And you're just sitting there completely stressed out waiting for all the plates to fall off. That's how I would feel a lot, and that's how I saw you were feeling. And so it really didn't matter what it was you were trying to accomplish, we all are dealing with those spinning plates, and so it's a matter of how we're gonna manage how many plates we allow to be there in our lives and what we can really accomplish and not let it just come all crashing down.
0:09:16.8 JH: Yes, yeah. The sound of those plates crashing, when it's like a personal project or a professional project that you care about, is a very scary sound.
0:09:24.7 JM: Yes, yes. Definitely, yes.
0:09:27.2 JH: Well, so let's go ahead and dive in to the first question, and it's a little bit long, I'm gonna go ahead and read it out, because the person who submitted this provided some really excellent context for the question. "One thing I've really struggled with on this journey is how to allocate my time and efforts to different parts of a creative business, all of which seem essential." Does that sound familiar or what? "Creating, marketing, and admin are the big umbrellas that come to mind with a gazillion things under each. Outside of the photography world, I've heard this referred to as figuring out how to work in the business versus on the business. Some general advice that resonated with me is prioritizing one to three things to get done per day so that little steps get done toward a few important goals. But I'd love to hear from you, someone who has a big personal project in the works, plans to get it in front of audiences when it's done, actively runs a course and a podcast, promotes both, keeps building new awesome products, fosters a community, etcetera. How do you think about time and organize your work calendar in a broad sense and in a weekly/monthly sense?"
0:10:31.8 JH: So when I read this, I was like, "Oh, I gotta get Jo on here, 'cause Jo trained me how to do this." Because so much of that is really true, there's... So let's take a little bit into working on versus working in, just to clarify that a little bit. So when you're inside of any business, including a creative business, when you're working on the business, that's when you're focused on things like the systems and structures that allow you to keep running as a business; so invoicing, billing, making sure that your insurance is up-to-date, making sure that your camera stuff is functioning, making sure that you're getting new clients and sending out pitches and da da da da da, all the things that allow you to continue to actually run a business. And working in the business as a photographer is actually going out on shoots, processing photos, getting portfolios out to clients, being that creative self. But you can't do all the fun stuff of field work and creating images unless you're also working on your business, which is things like how are you networking and growing your client base, and getting in front of editors, and all of that stuff.
0:11:38.3 JH: So when you're thinking about that, working on versus working in, both are really important. And you have to juggle both, and usually you have a bunch of irons in the fire on both working on and working in. So when it comes to thinking about your calendar and organizing your work and prioritizing it, especially when it comes to that weekly and monthly and quarterly and annual sense, it can feel so overwhelming. But you've taught me systems where I already know what's going on six months from now, and I'm prepping for it now, and I'm ready to roll, so...
0:12:12.5 JM: I'm so proud of you.
0:12:13.5 JH: Dive in. [chuckle]
0:12:15.3 JM: You've learned so much. I just think that's so exciting. And it wasn't...
0:12:19.1 JH: Thank you, master. [chuckle]
0:12:19.3 JM: Something that you learned overnight. You had to practice, and you had to take on little bits at a time. And we all do, that's how we grow, and that's how we keep from pulling our hair out. But yeah, yeah.
0:12:31.6 JH: Well, so to set the stage for answering this, let's go back to when I first kind of tugged on your shirt sleeve and said, "I'm going crazy. I am trying to do all of these projects, I'm trying to grow them in different ways. Look at my to-do list, there's 83 things on it in one hour that has to get done. Everything is important, so I don't have any sense of how to prioritize. How do I actually make progress and not have a break down?"
0:13:01.6 JM: Yeah, I remember that, and I remember one of those first conversations around that too. And I remember... We are both list makers. We feel comfortable making lists, because we feel like that puts a little bit of control back into our lives. But just making a list didn't necessarily solve our problem, because then we looked at the list and felt overwhelmed. So one of the things that we first talked about was taking the things that are on your list and putting them in buckets. I don't know if you remember that, where we said, "Oh yeah, well, this is something about how maybe you wanna start moving into doing this as a business yourself." "Oh, here is something that was specifically for your urban coyote initiative work." "Here was something that was for another non-profit group that you were working with in terms of building a fundraising calendar." And so your list had all of those things on it, but they weren't necessarily grouped together. So that felt overwhelming. And so I think one of the first steps was just realizing that you had different verticals, different chunks of work, that you were doing, and that was a first step. And we just left it there and it just sort of cooked for a little while.
0:14:15.7 JM: And then we took the next step, which was looking at what those to-dos were. And some of those to-dos actually weren't really to dos, they were almost really goals. Or sometimes they were even just statements. So it was like, "Make fundraising calendar." Well, that is ginormous, right? That's so big. Yeah, it sounds like a task, but the reality is it's a goal, it's a big project, it's a big thing that you wanted to get done. So we really needed to think about how we would break that down over time. So the next step was talking about differentiating. What's a goal, say, maybe that's a six-month goal or an annual goal? And then what then tasks or big projects might need to happen in order to reach that goal, and breaking that maybe into each quarter of the year, and then spending a little time, spending a few hours each quarter looking at your goals, thinking about what it takes to reach those goals, and sort of listing out the big steps that need to happen. And then going a little bit deeper, maybe on a monthly or even a every two week process, then looking at what it takes to take each one of those quarterly big chunks and breaking it down into something that you're actually working on. And even that sometimes could get too big in terms of writing down what the task was, so that it might be...
0:15:43.9 JM: The task might have been, "Take photos for the calendar." Well, that's even really big, because you have to think about, "Where am I going? Did I make the arrangements for where I'm taking the pictures? Do I have my shot list? Do I have all my gear?" So even that was really more than just a simple task. And so part of it was helping you think through, "Okay, what is something that's just a big chunk of work," and breaking that down into something that's a true task and a true to-do. And then that's the thing that you think about that you're gonna accomplish that week or even that day. And so thinking about it in terms of time frame like that, and then starting at a big wide level and then narrowing down in and the shorter time frame that you have the more narrow the task becomes. Does that makes sense?
0:16:34.7 JH: Yeah, it does make sense, because it's... One thing that I talk about... And I'm gonna link to additional episodes in the show notes where I start to talk about a lot of this training that you gave me that I really put to the test. And not only are you taking something that seems like that is your to-do list item, but when you really look at it, it's not a to-do list item, it is an end point with many, many, many actual tasks. And you explain explained that to me in a certain way, like how you actually identify what a task is. Can you talk about that?
0:17:09.1 JM: First off, backing up just a little bit, we talked about the parable of eating the elephant. You have this huge, gigantic thing. And if you think about it as an elephant... Not something I really wanna think about, eating the elephant, but that is the parable. [chuckle] And you can't just eat an elephant all at once, you have to break it down into pieces. And so you're going to eat a chunk of it at a time, and so it's the same sort of thing. And so a project, for instance, is something that has a beginning and an end. You have to know when you're done. And so you know when you're done by defining deliverables that you're gonna deliver for this project. So you may have a project... I'm gonna go back to this calendar fundraising example. So you may have a project that you wanted to create a calendar to send out to people encouraging people to donate to a certain organization. And it has photos that you created, and you're telling a story throughout each month. And so your deliverable is the calendar. So that's a very easy thing to say, "This is when I know the whole project is done."
0:18:14.7 JM: But maybe you're gonna break that down into smaller groups of work to do. And so maybe the first thing you're gonna go do is take pictures of what the calendar subject's gonna be about. In this case, it was about dogs, and so you were gonna go take pictures of certain dogs. And you were going to, again, figure out where you were gonna go, which dog subjects you were gonna use, which months you wanted to portray them in terms of different environments, things like that. And so you listed all of the tasks that were associated with reaching the deliverable of having the photos accomplished, so that was like a sub-group of deliverables within that project that you were trying to get done, and then so the task is something very specific, and then you're done and you're moving on to the next thing.
0:19:07.3 JH: And the task also is like the idea of a calendar, that's this big thing, but a task is really something that can have a time associated with it, that has a check mark associated with it, and that often you can't move on to the next thing until that task is done, so there's some characteristics that help you identify that you've actually gotten to the heart of a task, right?
0:19:29.6 JM: Right. Right. And that it's something that you can be... That it's something you can do within a relatively short period of time, within a day or with a couple of hours. If the task is asking more than a day, it's too big a task you need to break it down again, otherwise you're just moving it into the next day and that's not getting you... Feeling like you're accomplishing anything.
0:19:50.9 JH: Right, right. Okay, so we basically covered the step one, so when you have so many things that are vying for your attention and priority and everything feels important, one of the big steps to do is to figure out what essentially your verticals are, as you mentioned, your kind of silos of work. And so in a creative business, it's admin work, which is emails and networking and invoicing and accounting and bookkeeping and all of that, there is the creative work, which is like your shoots and brainstorming and planning and making networking connections to be able to make your shoots happen and all that. So there's these different verticals that you can start to pile work into, and then once you start to identify what tasks are inside those verticals, here's another really common sticking point, which is, how do you prioritize and budget time, because suddenly... What happened for me for sure, when I was learning how to really go from a giant list that felt overwhelming and soul-crushing to an organized system for prioritizing and setting dates and goals was, "Okay, yay, I have my silos and everything's overlapping and still important, and how do I figure out what to do when," because my day still has 48,000 things in it, so...
0:21:07.6 JM: Right, right.
0:21:09.9 JH: So after step one is, you're gonna create silos, and then step two is you're going to take everything on your to-do list and put them in the appropriate silos and break them down and really identify what's the goal and what tasks are associated with it, and then what tasks you have. Now, how do you move into starting to meld that into a calendar?
0:21:30.9 JM: Yeah, so there's a couple of pieces to that. So one of the things that... This is a relatively old idea, is from Stephen Covey in his First Things First book, and then also in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he has what he calls an importance and an urgency grid. Basically, you can kind of think of work as either important or urgent, so there are some work that is important and urgent, that's something you should do right away. There are some work that is important, but not necessarily urgent, and so that's more like planning types of things, and you can really think about when you're gonna do it and decide when you're going to calendar that and get that work done. And then of course, there's work that is not important, but urgent. Well, that's probably not work that you should be working on at the moment, somebody thinks it's urgent, but you may not. Right, so you may be getting a phone call from someone saying, "Oh, and I need this piece of information from you, and can I have it right now." And well, you've already made a determination that there's certain urgent and important work that you're doing.
0:22:43.4 JM: And so you are already working on that, and so you don't have to say no to somebody else's urgent work that's not important to you, but you can say, "Yes, but not this second. How about I get that to you by Friday? Or how about next week?" Or how about next year when somebody's coming up with this really cool new idea and let's start today. Well, yeah, I'd love to work on that, but maybe we should plan on talking, getting together over a beer next month and talk about that some more, and then of course, there's work that's not urgent and not important, and so... And you just get rid of that. That's like, "Why are you even having that on your list," but sometimes you do, you think it is something... You think it's something that you should focus on. And once you really look at it, you go, "No, that'll... I don't need that."
0:23:33.4 JH: Yeah.
0:23:34.8 JM: So as you're going down your to-dos, as you're going down your tasks, one of the first things you do is categorize it as what things are important and urgent, those I have to focus on now. That might be, I have to pay my bills or my lights are getting turned off, or that maybe I have to get this proposal in, or I won't get this next job, or I won't get this next grant, so those are things that then you prioritize high. If you have things that are important but not urgent, then those are things then you say, "Okay, I'm going to find a time next week to do it or next month to do it, but I'm gonna put it on my list and I wanna make sure that it gets scheduled, but I don't have to worry about it today, and I'm gonna put that in a parking lot," and we'll talk about that a little bit later. And so it's there. So we don't forget it. Even though you think you might, you won't, put it there and then we will come back to that. And then the urgent, not important stuff you manage, you delegate, you push off, you set expectations so that then you're not having to focus on that and be distracted by that. It's so easy these days, especially with so many things coming at us through email and texts and pick any other types of communication tool that's available today.
0:24:52.3 JM: It's like, "Oh shiny, I'm gonna go look at that because I don't wanna have to work on this hard thing." But it is not your urgent and it is not important, so you have to discipline yourself to let those go, you spend the time to set the expectation with the person and then go back to your urgent or important thing. So that's one part of it. The other part is to think about work, and I like to think of it in different kinds of categories in terms of planned work that is associated with a project or a big goal that you've set aside, then there is your maintenance work or your admin work, the stuff that you know you just do every month, every day, whatever that is. That might be paying your bills, that might be posting on social media, that might be being in contact with your editor or someone that you have a weekly meeting with that's already set and it's already there, that you can kind of consider maintenance work. And then there's unplanned work, that's the stuff that comes out of nowhere, that's when somebody changes the game on you and you have to respond right away. That's when all of a sudden your computer takes a dive, and you gotta go figure out how you're gonna go get all your information back.
0:26:03.6 JM: That's unplanned work. So if you think about that there is planned work that's project-based, there's planned work that's maintenance-based or admin-based, and then there's unplanned work when you're scheduling out your day or your week, you can kind of think about how much time you're willing to associate with each kinds of work. And when you have a list that's associated with the project and you know what your tasks are that you've developed, and you can say, "Alright, I'm going to pick these three things today, that's my planned project work, and those are the three things that I'm gonna try and get done today, and then I have these two meet, planned maintenance things that I have to get done today, and then the rest I'm leaving open because I might have unplanned work that comes up, or if I have time, guess what, I'm just gonna go back to my list, I'm gonna go back to my parking lot and I'm gonna go pull some more tasks back forward and of my planned work and work on those." Rather than trying to schedule every hour of your day, "This hour, I'm gonna do this thing and this hour I'm gonna do that thing."
0:27:11.7 JM: And then of course, that hour always turns into two hours, it turns into three hours, and the next thing you know, the list that you had scheduled for today, five of the seven things got pushed into tomorrow, and that just makes you feel crappy, because now you feel like you didn't get anything done. So rather than pushing your tasks to the future, I think of it as planning, say for the week of the main planned things that you wanna do, and then pull from them into your day, get those things done, and then if you have time, great, go pull some more so you're pulling... I think of it as pulling from your past, right? Start at the beginning of the week with your big list, and then each day you give yourself a minimum of what you need to do, you accomplish that, you can pull from your list, pull into more then you know, every day you've accomplished what you set out. It makes you feel good, makes you feel less stressed, you have a better handle of how much time things really take, you've given yourself some slack to be able to do something takes longer than you thought, and you also gave yourself some slack and time for dealing with unplanned things. And now all of a sudden, boom, you're, "Oh, I'm moving ahead, I'm moving ahead, I'm moving ahead."
0:28:26.2 JM: And all of those things that you thought you weren't making any progress on, all of a sudden you are, you're making little progress day after day after day after day, rather than feeling like I'm pushing five tasks forward and then five more tasks forward. And then those tasks that you had planned for three days from now, those got moved forward. Guess what? Now you're feeling even worse. So instead, just reverse that process.
0:28:48.2 JH: Yeah, I think really exclamation point behind reverse the process, because one of the big things that I think has shifted for me over the years is when I first came to you to be like, "How do I manage all of these creative projects and do so in a way where I'm actually going to create a business, a creative business around this, and what are all these things that I need to do?" And there is so much that is just straight up maintenance work that you have to plan for, and so you can because you know that that maintenance work is coming up and you have that planned work, because you know you have this project that you're gonna create and it's gonna be something that is timed or something, and so you can go backwards from that. And so one of the big things that I do now that I think despite the fact of always having this kind of busy swirly schedule keeps me feeling really grounded and centered and goal-oriented, and gives me that sense of the ability to look at something and be like, "Yeah, that's not gonna get done." And be okay with that, is that I set goals going out and it might not be goals, maybe goals is sometimes the wrong word to use, sometimes it's a goal, but often it's more like, "Here's a project I want to accomplish inside of a year, well, what will it take?"
0:30:01.2 JH: And I start to do that breakdown of milestones and tasks inside of that, and then I figure out what quarter that is gonna get done inside of, and then inside of that quarter, what week is this gonna get done inside of? And then every week when I look at my... And I have this planner, I'm gonna link to the planner that I use, so I use an online planner that is a project management software that has a calendar function and all of that, it's like your Asana, and your Basecamp and your Trello and all that stuff, which is great, but really, I love to have my paper planner and it's a quarterly planner, so I'm gonna link to Freedcamp, which I use as well as my paper planner. And what I do is open up that paper planner, and at the beginning of the week, I look at what I've already set out that needs to happen during this week, because that's what's gonna get me toward my goal, so I know that those are my high priority items already, because if they don't get done, this big goal that I have for this project or this thing, that's gonna get thrown off, and I don't want that to get thrown off. So I'm looking at that and I go ahead and plan out my week with the big chunks of what has to get done.
0:31:10.5 JH: The maintenance stuff is already on the calendar, so I already have my Tuesday meetings and my Conservation Photography 101 Q & A sessions, and the bookkeeping report that comes in every month, and whatever these standing things are are already on that planner. So I go and fill in the rest of the space with these big ticket items that are these high priority things. And then the other empty space is those, it's room for the unplanned stuff, it's someone calls up and wants to hire me for a shoot and I need to budget time in for that, or it's... Oh, I scrolled on Instagram for an hour and a half. Oops, you know?
0:31:48.9 JM: Yup. Yeah.
0:31:48.9 JH: So there's room for all of that.
0:31:51.2 JM: Yes.
0:31:51.9 JH: And you can still get stuff done. So I think that... I don't know where I was going with that, but it was something about kind of visualizing the way of taking this and looking at it backwards and saying, "Okay, well, this is... " And you can do it for the year, which I have big things that I want to accomplish over the course of a year. And if you're working on a big project or you have these big plans, if you are leading a bunch of tours, you know, there's things that you have to look on on an annual basis, but this might be something where... It's just something that you do at the beginning of a month. What are the things you wanna accomplish in a month, and then work backwards from there. And once you start to have that outlined, it's like your calendar fills itself and importantly, you realize how much time things take and why that...
0:32:38.0 JH: So okay, here, let's go into that prioritization thing, because all of a sudden when you start to look at your silos and figure out that you have all these overlapping things and you're trying to navigate them and put them into a calendar, suddenly you realize how little time you actually have, and how important prioritization is, because suddenly my big lesson that I learned from you was, "Yes, I do have five creative projects, nope, I don't have time to do five creative projects. So what's gonna happen now?" Because once you start to fill in your calendar, you realize there's just isn't time for everything that you think that you can get done, so how do you wanna manage that?
0:33:18.9 JM: Yeah, and that conversation that we had around that came out of the standard project management concept of what they call a Project triangle or... Sometimes they call it the iron triangle. And if you picture a triangle and then each point on the triangle represents something, so you basically you have scope or how big it is, of the thing that you wanna get done, what is the volume of the thing that you wanna get done? You have time, which is how much time do you have to spend on it, and when does it have to be finished? And then you have resources or cost, or what do you want to put in it in order to make it happen, and those... When it really comes down to getting something done, those are the three aspects, and something has to give no matter what. So if you have this goal of getting this project done and it has a certain scope, it has a certain set of boundaries around what it is that you want to deliver and be done with, then you're gonna need a certain amount of time and a certain amount of resources in order to make that happen.
0:34:24.3 JM: Well, if all of a sudden you figure out that it needs to get done sooner than you planned, well, then something's gotta give whether... Your scope either has to give or your... You have to put more resources into it. One or the other. So the triangle has to still stay connected together, and so you just sort of... It's hard to visualize when you're just saying it verbally, but if you think about those points on the triangle shifting and the triangle changing shape based on how much you have of one of those three things, so if it's really, really important that the thing that you're gonna do stays the thing that you committed to doing, and all of a sudden you're finding out it's not gonna get done in the time that you committed, you are going to have to devote more time to it, period. Your deadline is gonna shift, or you're going to have to somehow throw more resources at it, can you get help from somebody else? Is there more money that you need in order to get different types of equipment to get it done? So you've made a decision that one corner of that triangle is not gonna change, you've gotta change the other corners of the triangle, and so that helps you prioritize at least where you're going to shift in terms of what you're trying to achieve, sometimes if it's a deadline, then the other things have to shift.
0:35:41.9 JM: "Well, I'm not gonna be able to give you what you wanted. So unless you give me this much more money to go buy this other lens, and then I can do... " Or this camera trap or this, whatever this thing is, that lets you get these other shots in this other different way, and then I can maybe meet that timeline. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to change what I give you. So that helps with making a determination about then how you set up your priorities, and then the other thing is, again, chunking it down into small pieces means that you can be a lot more flexible about how you get it done. So when you... A lot of people feel, especially in creative spaces, feel like, "Well, if I get too structured in my planning, and If I write everything down and I get everything just figured out all the way down to the nitty gritty, that takes all of the creativity out of what I'm doing." No, it doesn't. Because that's not what you're being creative about, you're being creative about the thing you're trying to produce, you're being creative about this project, this idea that you have, that this article that you wanna do, or this gallery that you wanna exhibit in, or this non-profit that you wanna help.
0:36:58.6 JM: That's the creative part. That's the idea. That's the content. That's the thing, you still get to do that, in fact you get to focus on that more because you spent more time dealing with what it really takes to get the other stuff done, and then things go more smoothly and you have less surprises and you have less of that unplanned work. So the prioritization starts to take care of itself because you start chunking it down into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces of work, you're able to say, "Oh, something changed, I'm gonna make a decision to make this look different instead." And all of a sudden now it's not a surprise anymore. You were ready for a change to happen. You can be flexible, make that change and you're still meeting your goal. So there's all of these different aspects to figuring out how you prioritize what you get done, and all of these tools let that happen and then it becomes... Naturally starts taking care of itself, don't have to worry about prioritizing them in their head because it becomes obvious.
0:37:58.2 JH: Yeah. One example that recently happened to me inside of the business about... Like, around this is we had Her Wild Vision Initiative applications close in April. And then there's a X amount of time that we need to go through all the applications and make sure that we can get them sorted into the different buckets for the different evaluators who are going to be evaluating the applications. And get everything set up so that it's ready to go to them.
0:38:24.7 JH: And then inside of that... Well, we have... So Morgan Heim, and I do all of that kind of behind the scenes work. And she is heading off on these two shoots, which needs to happen because this is... She is an assignment photographer. She has to make these things happen to pay her mortgage. And so she needs to go off and do that. And then I need to go off and do this other project.
0:38:46.2 JH: And so we're waiting for that to happen when we finally get these out to the evaluators. And so we're kind of letting them go through everything and have a due date for that. Well, then that overlapped with June, which is the month that I had intended to step way back from my business to just have a creative refresh. And so I had already planned to take a lot of time away from the computer in June to go back into the woods and get some sanity back. Morgan's off doing several more shots. Like that woman's calendar is so jam-packed right now. I knew that, "Okay, well, Morgan's schedule is not changing and cannot." That's her livelihood. 'Cause we do all of this on a volunteer basis. So that's not gonna shift. So that corner of the triangle in terms of resources, that's not changing. The corner of the triangle that I'm involved in for resources is not changing, because I need this time to step away so that I can be super energized and be available for everybody inside of my business and who I work with.
0:39:44.6 JH: Okay, so that's not changing. The time frame is not changing because we wanna get these amazing applicants through the system and into the directory. So the time's not changing. The scope's not changing, because we're not gonna have... We're not shifting the number of applicants we let through or whatever it is. So, "Okay, will resources... " Ohh... We're coming back to that corner again. So I had an assistant in June, and I had her come off of projects that she was working on. And I said, "I need you to do all of this time-intensive work to get everything set up because we have all these assets coming in." And we have headshots and featured shots and getting people organized. And there's so much that happens behind the scenes to get our new members into the directory.
0:40:26.3 JH: So I had to put more resources into that triangle because scope's not shifting and time's not shifting, and certain resources aren't shifting, so what else am I gonna throw in? And it had to be that, "Okay, I'm gonna pay to have somebody else handle a lot of the admin stuff that has to happen to help us move forward." Because Morgan and I, we've got our schedules set. So the project is staying on target and everything's getting done. It's just that that had to shift. And so there was a little bit of unplanned. But only a little bit because everything else was so all chunked down already. We know what our system looks like, we know where the parameters are, so everything can kinda move forward inside of this project... That has to happen.
0:41:08.3 JM: Yeah, and you knew what the tasks were that needed to get done, and so you were able to identify that there were certain tasks that you could delegate to someone else and still make the time frame and the scope that you were looking at. And if you hadn't done that, planning ahead of time to really understand what all those tasks are in order to achieve your project deliverables, you would have been just in this deer in the headlights going, "Now, what."
0:41:34.6 JH: Yeah.
0:41:35.4 JM: But instead you were prepared and you knew what that was, and you knew that that was somebody that could do the work that you or Morgan didn't have to do. And so it meant, "Okay, I'm willing to up at the game and put some money into this and pay someone to do this for us instead of Morgan and I volunteering to do it." And that kept you on schedule. And that got your stress reduced. It allows you to have your time and allow Morgan to go do what she needed to do and everything still got done. And it's because you put the planning in up front, the priorities took care of itself and you were easily able to identify what you needed to do to make that happen. That's a great example. I love that example.
0:42:13.3 JH: All the planning really is freedom. It's up front, sitting down, being like... It's brain work that can be tiring and there's a lot of uncertainties. And so even though you might be writing down tasks or things that are going in that you're kinda guessing at, it ultimately is freedom for actually implementing stuff in a way that feels really good.
0:42:34.2 JM: Yeah, now... And you say that now, but five years ago you didn't believe that.
0:42:39.8 JH: Oh my God. No. Okay. So let's go ahead. And we do have a second question that we are gonna get to. But this is... There's so much inside of this. But Jo, take us back down memory lane, to when I... What was the reality? What were you seeing when I was like, "Oh my God, Jo, I have so much going on." I have this project and this project. And I was collaborating inside of the one project with someone I should not have been collaborating with. And I was like... There was so much going on with that. And I'm like, "How do I make this work?" And... And then there's this thing over here. And I was still at a full-time job. And I'm like, "How do I make sure that I'm not slacking?" And, "Oh my, God." So what is the reality of what it takes to... I don't want anyone to have an expectation that it's like, "Oh well, this is just how you do it." Go make that happen inside of your life...
0:43:23.6 JM: Your life. Yeah.
0:43:24.6 JH: Because it's not what happens. So let's go back down memory lane. What did you see when I came to you? To be like, "Let's do this."
0:43:32.2 JM: Well, first I saw myself about 15 years before you. So I definitely could relate to it. I went through that, the whole own version of a lot of learning, a lot of failure, a lot of therapy. So it took... It takes time, no matter what. But the other thing I saw was that you just had these unrealistic expectations about what could really happen and by when. And so you had all of these wonderful ideas and all of this energy and passion for what it is that you wanted to do, and wanted to accomplish. And I was just so excited to see you do that, but it was so heartbreaking to watch how you were just struggling to try and make all of that happen.
0:44:19.5 JM: So we talked a little bit about just what we were talking about before. Some of these concepts about... Yeah, well writing a list is great, but let's look about the difference between this to-do that you have here, which was, save the world and another to-do, which was walk the dog. And they are a little different scale. And then a couple of bottles of wine and later... That helped a lot too. We talked about, "Well, maybe I could help you." So for one of the first things that happened was just the willingness to have someone act as a mentor. And the willingness to listen to what someone else experienced. And the willingness to think about maybe doing things a little differently. So the fact that you were willing to open your mind. And I think it's just because you were at a breaking point. That you said, "I have to do this differently. I cannot continue this way."
0:45:10.2 JM: So that was a great first step for you. And then the other thing was I started realizing... I started throwing a lot of these concepts at you that we've been talking about all at once. And some of you... I saw you get excited about. Some of them, I saw you get excited about. Some of them, I saw you just... Your eyes glaze over. Like, "I don't really know what you're talking about."
0:45:31.5 JH: Mm-hmm. When you started talking about things like Agile planning. I was like, "I don't know. This is some other world."
0:45:37.8 JM: Right, you're right. Yeah, well, because... And that brings up a good point. Someone like you... And I think a lot of people in your world are not necessarily people who work for large structured organizations. Or they don't necessarily come from a background that involves a lot of organization and planning. Especially if you come from a creative space where the beautiful thing about creative people is they see things about the world that a lot of us don't. You see things in ways that are just amazing, and you expose us to that. And that's fantastic, but that means that the stuff about... That's paying your bills and taking care of making sure that you've got some websites set up in a certain way with some stupid app that doesn't work, and it always breaks... It's not what you're interested in, right? And so you don't spend a lot of focus and interest in that. And so you don't necessarily get the background training in that part of the world. Especially if you're trying to start your own business. Especially if you're trying to pull all these pieces together and making a livelihood from it. Because you don't have that support structure of the education of how you're gonna get that.
0:46:41.4 JM: So part of what I was trying to do is expose you to that. But I realized that I was just hitting you with a fire hose. And you were like, "I don't know if I accept 90% of this... " "Can we go back to my list? I have my to-do list. Can we just talk about what's... What's my number one on my to-do list?" And I was like, "Well, can we just... Okay, let's just start with putting things in buckets. How about that." And you were willing to go there. And we started that with a very... Just one step. And then the other big thing is we agreed to do... Have a conversation on a regular basis. So weekly we were having our two hour conversations about going over what was going on in your life from a work standpoint and what you wanted to manage.
0:47:25.5 JM: And with me coaching in the sense of giving you... Asking you questions about what was important to you. Asking you questions about, "Well, what would the outcome be if you didn't do this?" What would be the consequences if you let that wait a week or a month? And a lot of times you'd say, "Oh, I guess nothing would break. Yeah, I can put that aside."
0:47:49.0 JM: "Okay, alright. Well, let's talk about... " And then... Then we started talking about the idea of breaking things down into yearly plans, quarterly plans, bi-weekly plans, weekly plans, daily plans. We didn't even get to that concept for months because you weren't ready to go there because you had your style of work. You had your set of goals about what you wanted to accomplish. I had to learn more about what you did for a living too, so that I could connect the dots from what my experience was to your experience. And then we were able to slowly work in these habits and these techniques and these ways of managing your workload, that took a couple of years before we were even speaking the same language in a lot of ways.
0:48:40.1 JM: Because you would say something about camera lenses and shooting and something else about doing some sort of an assignment or leading a tour. And I'd just have this blank look on my face saying, "Tell me what that means. I don't know what that means." So you'd have to explain that, and then I'd have to explain concepts around planning and things like that. So there was a learning process for both of us as well. So I guess my point in all of this is that it takes a long time. And each change is a very small change, and a very small step. And building those habits over time so that then they're ingrained in how you look at things rather than just magically you're gonna read a book and it's gonna be perfect tomorrow.
0:49:22.4 JH: Yeah, I think that that's a big deal to underscore. Is the idea that we can talk a lot about... This question has come in about, how do you work on your business versus in the business. There's all these competing priorities and trying to manage all of that. And so we can have this conversation about, we'll here are systems and structures to put in place. But it's almost like... Before we hit record, I mentioned how this reminds me of when you have a potted plant that you haven't watered in a really long time and the soil is really dry.
0:49:52.0 JH: And so you pour the water into that potted plant and it doesn't soak in. It fills up right at the beginning, and spills over the edge. And that soil stays really dry. It takes time for that water to do finally soak in. And then the next time you water that plant with more information, well, it soaks in a lot easier. And the next time you water it's soaks in easier. But when you're coming at something from... Especially when you're really getting started on building a side business or a side hustle, and you're learning what all of this even looks like in the first place. And then when you actually launch into your business and you're learning what that looks like for you.
0:50:28.3 JH: That is dry soil that you have to slowly water with information and then start to put things into position the way that it works best for you. Because there's things like... I know that this is gonna be an extra long episode because I wanna get at lot of this stuff that's really important. There's things that are really difficult for creatives like me to grasp inside of planning. Which is things like parking lots, which we talked about. It took me a long time to be okay with the idea of putting an idea off or a project concept off into a parking lot to reconsider later rather than booking it out into my calendar right now.
0:51:08.1 JH: Because for me, out of sight out of mind. And I'm terrified of losing sight of something that I care about. What happens if I put that off to the side and I don't see that? It's nowhere on my radar. Not on my to-do list, not on my calendar, and I care about it, and I just let it disappear. So I fought that idea of putting things in the parking lots. And if it's important enough, you will revisit and pull that into your calendar for a long time.
0:51:32.1 JH: And I definitely fought some of these ideas for a while until I understood how I was gonna put these systems and structures into place. And now inside of my business, I run things like clockwork in a lot of ways. And I'm super sloppy and ridiculous in a lot of ways. But I make sure that the sloppy and ridiculous has some space to be that way. You know, it's the, oopsie Instagram for two hours. Or it's the, "I have this shiny object that I now wanna go make. And so I wanna make sure that I've got three hours because I wanna go make this thing. And I wanna create it in two seconds and make sure that all my members have it," right away. That's fine because it's got some room. Whereas the rest of my business is going like clockwork. I know exactly what I'm doing every day of every week for core projects that are gonna be done over the course of the year. But it's been... How long has it been?
0:52:21.3 JM: It's at least...
0:52:22.0 JH: Six, seven years.
0:52:23.6 JM: Yeah. At least, yeah. Yeah.
0:52:25.6 JH: So Jo, I have to ask. For someone who's... I got lucky. I had you in my life. What about for people who really wanna start to dig into this and who don't necessarily have a mentor who's gonna guide them through and talk to them for an hour or two every week? That's a funny, heck, if I know faces.
0:52:51.0 JH: Did you... So when you were learning all this, did you have mentors? And...
0:52:52.2 JM: Yes. I did, honestly. I had an amazing mentor, my boss who... He was actually a VP from AT&T. And he had retired and then came and worked for the university, and was my boss. And boy, he was the hardest guy to work for. Because he was so demanding. But he taught me so much. And a lot of what he taught me was a lot of this stuff of think about what's important and to plan ahead. He kept always saying, "Planning gives you flexibility," which was something that I just could not get. I was like, "No, wait. What? Planning is structure, how can that give you flexibility?" Well, because it lets you be able to shift on a dime. You talked about the shiny object thing, or the idea of the Instagram thing or the messy part. But the reality is, what it allows you to do is realize you have freedom to shift what your priority was, right?
0:53:46.3 JM: Whether it's your priority today, which is, "I need a mind break. I'm going down this internet rabbit hole." Or maybe I have this huge annual goal. And guess what? Life changed, COVID, happened or something else. Hey, I've broken this down enough into a sense that I can change that and it's okay. And then maybe I'll change the whole thing, or maybe I'll change part of it, but that's alright.
0:54:09.4 JM: And so you have that flexibility. And so I had a mentor that taught me those kinds of things. And also he... And the organization I was with supported a lot of training in terms of planning, training. That's the other thing is, is that there are a million different ways of organizing and planning and doing projects. And all you have to do is google the Project Management Institute or project organization or Waterfall Project Management or Agile project... And you'll find a thousand things out there.
0:54:41.3 JM: I think a large mistake that people make is, is that they find these resources and then they think they have to follow the prescription of whatever it is that's laid out. And what I love about how you've taken this on, Jaymi, is... Is that you've talked about the fact that, "Well, I use this tool to take care of these things. And I do this here. And then I have my written down planner." Because writing this down and having this in front of me is something that gives me joy. It helps reinforce what it is. That written word helps with the pen. And that's just who I am. And this is a system that works for me.
0:55:14.7 JM: And so you have to be able to take all of these different resources that are out there. Whether it's a mentor, or whether it's reading about organizational skills, project management, eating the elephant, any of those kinds of things. And then take what works for you. And then starting small and practice that. And if you're lucky enough to have someone in your life. And it may be a peer that you can... An accountability peer. And you both decide... I mean, we're accountability peers right now for how many steps are we gonna get in today? And it works, right?
0:55:48.2 JM: And so an accountability peer for... Right, have you come up with your weekly task list for this week? And are you really only keeping it to trying to get two things done today? Alright, great. And you're gonna pull from your tasks if you get finished? Great, sounds good. Just that one text from someone could help you there. And so it doesn't even necessarily have to be somebody who's had a lot of experience in it. It could be someone that you're just trying to work with together on.
0:56:47.4 JH:, If having an accountability partner inside your business is the right resource for a listener or not, having a network like that, a community where everyone is speaking that same language and you can find someone who is in that same space that you're in, at the same level or with the same priorities or the same focus, and you can be that accountability partner, what a wonderful suggestion to make. Because so many of us are navigating it together and finding individual solutions that work for us. Sharing that, tweaking things slightly to adjust as needed. But that's there.
0:57:27.0 JM: Yeah, exactly, and you find so many different things that other people have learned that you hadn't come across yet, and that they're just a little... All it has to be is a little nugget that you can take away that somebody said something in a way that you've never heard it before. When you later think about it, it might be a concept that you'd already heard about it, but it hadn't been said just that way that really make those synapses Connect, so that you can latch on to that and do something with it.
0:57:52.9 JH: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I wanna get to the second question, which is actually... [chuckle] I don't know we've been going on and on, but actually this one piggybacks on the first one, so it's kind of like a great way to just kind of, "Hey, this is... We're putting this into play a little bit more." So the question is, "When the need to generate income becomes more urgent, my attention and anxiety turns to that and I put on the back burner things that I consider more long game tasks and projects, even though those seem like the important ones that actually will grow my business, will help me fulfill my dream of making a positive impact through conservation photography, and at least, some are the things that I love doing. The long game things are everything from creating new photo stories and art projects, pitching editors, creating online products, contacting local exhibit spaces, sending emails to my list, social media marketing, and so on. Even when I get the income part under control a bit, it becomes a scramble to get back to everything else. Ultimately I find myself constantly working in kind of a scattered way without really moving things forward creatively or in a business sense."
0:59:01.4 JH: "I think a major problem is that I've been operating in a reactive way instead of following a thoughtful plan with clear priorities. Hoping to improve that I sat down with a big fat spreadsheet to evaluate my priorities. For each project or topic, I looked at whether it has income potential, and if so, how much and is it immediate or potential future income, an estimate of the time that it requires, what other investment is required other than time, and how connected do I feel to it? Or is it something that I really want to happen? The exercise was good, but there are still too many priorities on the list vying for the top few spots. It seems like going all in on just one or two things would help me focus, complete tasks and actually make progress, but maybe that isn't the reality of running a photography or freelance business, and I'm just living the struggles that I've always heard about. Do you have any suggestions?"
0:59:52.3 JH: So, I love this whole thing because I feel like it kind of encapsulates where someone's at when they may be realizing a lot of the systems and structures are put in place because there's a lot of thought that has gone into this, and yet there's still a struggle on prioritization. So, in the last few kinda minutes of our interview, can we really dig into the idea of how do you prioritize and really feel comfortable having just one or two or three things as that priority?
1:00:27.5 JM: At first, I'd like to compliment the person that wrote the question, because they have put in so much thought and they are so far down the road, because the fact that they have thought about all of these aspects of what they're struggling with, they are 80% of the way there, as far as I'm concerned. Because they understand the problem, they understand what their struggle is, and they've identified it, they've put a name to it, and so now it's really trying to understand how to learn the tools and sort of a method to go about tackling it. Which so often, usually people just show up and go, "I'm not getting what I want, I'm not going anywhere, I give up." And this person has really thought through what they're looking for, so congratulations for that as far as I'm concerned. So, just that process that was described in the question, I think is extremely valuable. Right there. The other thing we talked about a lot are the kinds of ways that we prioritize things in terms of what you're trying to get accomplished.
1:01:29.4 JM: If once you've already decided what you're going to go do, this is really about trying to decide what you're gonna go do, and what is the main goals that you want to accomplish? And those... Just like this person said, there are so many aspects to it. It's, will it make me money? Will it advance my career? Will it be something that brings me joy? Will it make a difference to the world or whatever community it is that I'm trying to have an impact on? What it really comes down to is, where's your heart? What is that little voice inside of you saying that's important to you? It's not gonna necessarily come right out and shout at you and tell you what it is, but if you go through that list and you think about each thing, you can ask yourself and compare it to something else, and say, "Alright, if I did A instead of B, what would the consequences be? And how important is it that I do A over B?"
1:02:27.6 JM: Alright, so say you picked B, say... Nope, you came to the conclusion B is a thing that matters to me. Alright, now let's look at B and compare it to C. Alright, how important is getting B done compared to C? Oh, well, hmm, there's this and this and... "Well, there's so many aspects, I don't know, I'm just too confused, because then I can make money if I do C, but if I do B, I'll just be so much happier." Well, what's going to happen in the next year that will make a difference, just one above the other? Are you in a financial crisis, where it's really important that you make that money? Maybe you need to pick C. Or maybe there's something about C that you can do a portion of it. Make some money off of C, not all of it, maybe not the whole thing you're thinking about, whatever the thing that C contains, but it's enough to get you some income so that then you can also focus on B or part of B. And you kind of go down the list that way.
1:03:30.5 JM: And after you get through about the fourth one, you're gonna find out that the rest fall off. And so, there's gonna be... Your heart's gonna tell you what the top two to four items are, and then if you just start comparing one to the other and think about the consequences if you did one without the other, does it matter? And the other thing is then, are there pieces of one or the other that you can do, that then will let you move forward on both and get you where you wanna go? And it's okay to not do all of it at once. And so, maybe your project or your goal or your objective or the thing that you want to achieve, you thought you wanted to achieve in six months, but you know what? If I broke it into these three parts, I could do it over 18 months, and then I could also work on this other thing.
1:04:21.7 JM: So, that's how I would be personally trying to evaluate one over the other or four out of five, or two out of three, and those become your annual goals, that becomes your main push for the year. And you stick with those, and then as the year progresses, you reevaluate them every three months and you say, does this still make sense? Did something come along that changed this? Did all of a sudden the sponsor that was gonna take care of making sure I could get to this site and photograph this subject fell away? But they're still there, but they can't be there for another six months. Great, that just took care of itself, now all of a sudden that portion got delayed, it's something completely out of your control, it's out of your sphere of influence, and now you can bring something else in and focus on that instead.
1:05:14.6 JH: That is why you're my mentor and why I'm running a successful business right now, rather than going like, "Oh my God, there's 18 things that I don't know what to do."
1:05:25.9 JM: Here, let me give you a big hug.
1:05:29.8 JH: That was so well said and such a great way to tackle trying to figure out these priorities, because so often, I think those of us inside of this conservation visual storytelling business, when we find ourselves often conflicted with, I need to prioritize this, because this is how I'm going to make income. And I wanna prioritize this because this is what is feeding my soul, and that I feel like is this world-saving thing. And sometimes the world saving thing isn't what brings you the paycheck, sometimes it is, and that's what we are constantly working for every day, like, that is my mission on this earth is to make that world-saving work also be financially sustainable. But sometimes that's not the case, so you really feel conflicted in, yeah, I have to do this commercial shoot that my heart's not in, it's got a paycheck associated with it, so fine, and I guess I have to do that, but it takes away the time that I wanna do for this passion project where I'm telling the story about this species.
1:06:31.2 JH: And you also can find multiples of those, because sometimes we see that those priorities that we wanna set are usually three or six month things, and you're juggling them in different stages of development, and so you have eight priorities, but they're all in different stages of development, and you have to kind of monitor them as you go along. And so, this is where that struggle really starts to build momentum and you have to come back down to an exercise like, "Okay, well, in the next three months I have to pick two priorities, so I'm gonna look at the consequences of not... Of doing one over the other, and how does that feel?" And sometimes, like you said, that financial side of things, if you have these competing priorities, sometimes that financial side of things, yes, it's important, but if your soul is slowly dying, [chuckle] then sometimes that can be put aside or you figure out how to make a portion of that work, so that you can go and get really refueled or how do you marry those priorities so that you can get both. There's a lot inside of this, but I think that you really set out a great plan of action.
1:07:40.2 JM: Thank you.
1:07:40.9 JH: Yeah.
1:07:42.6 JM: Yeah.
1:07:43.8 JH: Well, so this was the first of really kinda diving into question and answer style podcast episodes. So if you have a question about conservation visual storytelling that you want tackled on upcoming episode of the podcast, you can go to jaymih.com/ask, that's J-A-Y-M-I-H.com/ask and you can leave me a voice message with your question. So, I'm gonna be pulling from the questions that come in and answering those that really resonate with a lot of people so that we can all tackle these issues together. Jo, thank you so much for being here, we're only at about the hour mark, which for us is a short conversation, so thank you for [chuckle] packing all those insights into a mere one hour.
1:08:31.1 JM: That is pretty much a miracle for us. [laughter] But thank you for having me, and thank you for being such a great mentee. I mean, the fact that you are open to listening and changing and looking for different ideas, I think is what made you so successful, and I'm just so proud and excited for you.
1:08:50.3 JH: Oh, thank you. Well, it is definitely something that I am always eager to pay forward with everyone that I work with. So, thank you so much for being here and we will talk to everyone again next week.
1:09:06.6 JH: Before we wrap up, I would love to ask you to do one quick thing, subscribe to this podcast. As a subscriber, you'll not only know when each week's episode goes live, but you'll also get insider goodies, like bonus episodes. You might miss them unless you're subscribed and I don't want you to miss out on a thing. So, please tap that subscribe button and I will talk to you next week.