The project management role at Lemonly requires the ability to wear many hats. When I try to describe what I do on a daily basis, sometimes I’m even at a loss for words. We juggle a full inbox, random client requests, invoices, statements of work, updating documents, scheduling, designers’ work loads, style guides, project edits… the list is endless.
As if that isn’t enough to manage though, I added another role to my resume: professional photographer.
I fell in love with photography at a young age and knew it was something I always wanted to pursue. In college, while studying marketing and management, I would shadow photographers in my free time. During my last year of school, I made the decision to invest in the best camera and lenses on the market and registered my hobby as an actual business. I’ve been practicing as a photographer for about four years now.
Lemonly has always been very supportive of the juggle between jobs, and I’m very fortunate to work for a company that encourages their employees to follow their passions. The two career paths have merged well. I believe my experiences in each role have made me stronger in the other.
There’s quite a bit of project management that goes into planning the photography for a wedding day, and I believe my creative eye carries through to our infographic design work. Running and owning my own business (A.JO FOTOGRAFI) has prepared me to make professional decisions on behalf of Lemonly as well.
Even though the two careers work well together, I still find it to be a demanding juggle. During the peak photography months, most weekdays go something like this: a full eight-hour day at Lemonly, a session in the evening, and then editing into the wee hours of the morning. It’s easy to burn out if I don’t manage my time properly.
So how does one handle two careers, exactly? Good question. Here are my three lessons I’ve learned:
1. ACCEPT THERE AREN’T ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY
Most of the time, my ambition is one of my greatest assets, but it can also be my biggest weakness. I tend to think I can handle just about any task or challenge, and overcommit. Pretty soon every hour of my day is filled up and within a couple weeks, I’m burnt out and realizing I should have managed my time more appropriately.
Long story short: Plan your days accordingly, leaving enough time between your commitments to make sure you’re giving it your very best.
2. LIVE BY THE TO-DO LIST
We’ve all had those days where you feel like you’re racing on auto-pilot from one thing to the next. If I keep my tasks in my head and not on paper, my mind races like the Roadrunner. Here’s why I love the to-do list:
- Organization: Seeing a clear outline of my completed and uncompleted tasks helps me feel organized and mentally focused. I feel a sense of progress as I cross items off my list. It’s a sense of accomplishment that can be missed when rushing from one activity to the next.
- Productivity: How often have you been doing one thing while thinking about what you need to be doing next? The Harvard Business Review conducted a study that revealed 90% of managers waste valuable time through poor time management. Being mentally distracted leads to inefficiencies, but when you know that you can quickly refer to an organized to-do list, you’ll find that you can focus your attention on what’s most important. It has definitely helped me enjoy life more and be more productive.
- Improved Memory: Short-term memory has a fairly limited capacity. The average person’s short-term memory can only hold seven pieces of information at one time, for up to a minute. If you have more than seven tasks that you need to remember, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Every time you look at a list, it reinforces the information in your short-term memory, making it much less likely that you will forget a commitment or appointment.
3. KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A SIESTA
I’m being a total hypocrite as I write this section, but I do realize the importance of a mental break. If you find that you’re struggling to keep up with your priorities, don’t be afraid to cut back from something. This is an area I constantly struggle with, but I’ve recently started turning down photography sessions simply because I need more “me” time.
I’ve realized saying “no” doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means that you’re taking control of your actions. Both your mind and body will thank you for making those changes.
All in all, I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to work for Lemonly as project manager as well as pursue my passion for photography. The added income is always a bonus, and I’ve had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities with both careers. (Like attending The GRAMMYs with Lemonly and shooting weddings in destinations such as Cabo San Lucas.) Balancing multiple commitments is a lifelong skill that can’t be figured out that quickly. It takes time to learn what works for you, but once you do, you’ll be getting through each day like a boss.