Top 3 productivity tips for home-based businesses

People love to talk about productivity options, especially since so many entrepreneurs have decided to nix the overhead of office space and work from home. Well I’m no exception when it comes to talking about this stuff. I could read about optimizing productivity all day! (and I do… on Google+ ) Let me  share  my top 3 things that work for me.


#3 Customize your environment – If you work from home you have the unique opportunity to post Hello Kitty on the walls if it helps you work faster. Play the movie “Office Space” in the background if it helps you get stuff done… I don’t know, go wild finding what WORKS.  Let me describe my ideal work environment:

  • Pandora playing (usually my Dubstep or Tycho station)
  • Standing with coffee or some other refreshment
  • As much natural light as possible.
  • My photographic work surrounding me (on the walls) (Not in the photos below, but new stuff coming)
  • a closed door.
  • Wearing my Gunnars… these are gaming glasses that reduce eye fatigue and stress. Starts at about $80 and well worth it.

It’s not one size fits all. some people need silence and a soda… I don’t really drink soda, so I’m not that guy.


#2 STAND UP – Everyone knows sitting on your duff all day is bad for your body, I don’t care how expensive your captain’s office chair was, it sucks for you in the long run. We’re not created to sit in an office chair. Standing desks are all the rage right now, and they’ve been around for a while now. I’ll post some links here soon but you can easily search “Standing Desk” on Amazon and get an idea of what’s trending. You’ll notice they can be pretty expensive. Ill tell you what I do… My 2nd monitor is wall-mounted and I use a music stand for my wireless keyboard and mouse. Boom, I’m standing. Works like a charm, I absolutely love it and it’s easy to flow into the office and get something done.

Photo-12_16_13,-12.11.21-PM-3Standing Workstation Solution

Music Stand $20, Wall mount, $30 (and I’ve had it for 2-3 years now). So if you have a second monitor (Which can also be a TV with a VGA input) you get get a standing workstation set up for about $50. However you do it, get off your duff and get some work done 🙂



#1) Work when you work best – This is my absolute best tip I heard YEARS ago but sometimes can be hard to explain. Some people are night people, some are morning people, some are somewhere in between. If you work best at zero-dark-thirty WORK THEN! I’ve got a wife and two small kids, and I know I have the potential to be a productivity BEAST in the mornings. Well guess when I try to get my admin stuff done? You got it, chief… Mornings. I even have it narrowed down to what time I know my coffee will kick in. No seriously. EXCEPTION: I do my best photo editing right after the shoot, regardless of the time of day. Unless it’s a wedding, then I go the heck to sleep and edit the next day. For products and portraits, I’m best right after because the emotion and excitement is still there. Can I do it another time? Of course I can, it’s what I do… but I’ll do it faster right after the shoot.

Let’s Wrap-up… These are my current top 3. It may change from time to time but these will ALWAYS be in my top TEN. Other productivity tips include exercise, smart scheduling, useful productivity apps, limiting sugar, and more. Thanks for reading. 

What’s in YOUR top 3 tips for productivity? Write a message in the comment section!

Bonus: Here’s a video of a recent session. Dude’s name is Jordan, and he’s a High School Senior. We really had some laughs… he’s a character. Seems reserved but he did some wild stuff. Check it out and feel free to comment.

If you can’t view the video above, no problem. Check out the video here!


Photography Shows You Should Know

How do you effectively learn and grow? I like to use podcasts to improve certain skills and knowledge. Specifically photography podcasts. Some may even ask “what IS a podcast?” (and I’ll ask you where you’ve been for the last 10 years.) Let’s start there. A podcast is a broadcast distributed digitally through a network or system like iTunes, or just available for download on a website. These can be video or just audio… I love the video ones. You can still learn a LOT just by listening though… and there are some very high quality podcasts that are audio ONLY. People ask me OFTEN what’s on my list, so I decided to make one. Here’s my list of favorite photography podcasts. I’ll also list where I listen to them. The first show listed here is placed intentionally… otherwise this is not a ranked list. (Unless subconsciously.)

1. JPEG 2 RAW2012 logo for Jpeg2RAW podcast

weekly LIVE video podcast and discussions with working photographers of varying backgrounds… Landscape, portrait, wedding, sports. This show tops my list because of the community that surrounds it. I really believe we have one of the best photo groups on Facebook. It’s also LIVE + video. I also appear on this show from time to time which is always quite fun. 🙂 You can find this show just about ANYWHERE but I listen on iTunes, Stitcher radio (my favorite), YouTube, and the

2. This Week in Photo (TWiP)
This Week in Photo-this is a very consistent audio-only photography podcast with knowledgeable hosts and high production value. The main host Frederick Van Johnson was actually trained as Military Public Affairs (like me) which is pretty cool. This show features high quality interviews with working professionals, news, gear reviews, and a healthy dose of opinion from time to time. but not too much. This show has regular international guests… I think that’s a huge plus, because it helps you get a more global perspective regarding photography news. I listen on iTunes or Stitcher.
3. Digital Photography Cafe
digital photography cafe– VIDEO! This is such a great video podcast. They are available on pretty much everything from iTunes, Xbox, Stitcher, to TiVo and more… they deserve all the success they’ve seen because of their consistent high quality broadcasts. It’s two guys in a casual setting talking photography. This show is Mostly news and Commentary. No interviews except for special event coverage. They answer listener questions and do some gear reviews but as I said, Mostly news and commentary. This show always seems like it’s over too soon… then you have to wait another week for the next episode.
4. Fro Knows Photo RAW Talk
RAWTALK logo maxresdefault– Um… this one comes with a disclaimer. Explicit language sometimes. Jared Polin is a good photographer who got a lot of experience early on. He’s not conceited, but the dude is good and he knows it. VERY VERY VERY opinionated show. His “Keep it Real” style commentary WILL rub some people the wrong way. There are several things I’ve disagreed with him about… ALL THAT SAID, He deserves to be heard. Even if you hate the way he says something , often he’s right about it. Jared has put in hard work to get to where he is, and there’s a lot of value in most of what he has to say. And yes, it’s a white guy with a huge afro.  iTunes + Stitcher. AUDIO ONLY. There’s also a plethora of YouTube videos… that’s where he earned his fan base.
5. Improve Photography
improve photography podcast– I’ve never participated in this community but I know the podcast STEMS from a main website which has existed for a while. The host seems like a friendly dude. Seriously, I just want to hang out downtown and shoot some street photography with him. He does some gear reviews but he MOSTLY talks about specific skills and techniques in photography based on listener questions. iTunes + Stitcher. AUDIO ONLY.
6. Photobiz Xposed
photobiz exposed logo – GREAT photo podcast! Dude is Austrailian and in the states we believe EVERYTHING sounds better in an Australian accent. Great production quality with interviews from high-level international working pros. When I say High-level… I mean these are wedding and/or port raid photographers who earn THOUSANDS per portrait session. There are tips some of these people use that you would not believe… some even fly in the face of conventional wisdom. It really goes to show that each business really DOES have a life of it’s own. iTunes + Stitcher, AUDIO ONLY
7. Digital Photo Experience
 digital photo experience logoThis show slows it down. In a GOOD way. These are a couple of older guys who have valuable experience from slide and film days to now. They run workshops regularly and spill a lot of that info onto this weekly podcast. It’s largely commentary, some news, and some gear reviews. They’re mostly landscape and wildlife photography -which I’m not. Wildlife really doesn’t do it for me, but I can completely respect the dedication, process, and technique. Especially for fast moving animals or places that are hard to get to. They’ve got good commentary that speaks to photography as a whole. the CRAFT of making an image. They also have an active Google Plus community (which I don’t participate in much because it seems to be mostly landscape and wildlife)
8. For Wedding Photographers
for wedding photographers podcast– Very short commentary from a guy in New York. Genuine guy who’s been at it for a while and shares tips that work for his business. Again they’re short. Like 6-12 minutes usually.Just quick tips… take ‘em or leave ‘em. iTunes + Stitcher. AUDIO ONLY.
9. Ready Steady Pro
ready steady pro logo– Another good international show. Fairly new, but includes detailed interviews with working pros  iTunes + Stitcher. AUDIO ONLY.

Wow, that was long, but I hope that helps somebody find what they’re looking for. There are a TON of shows out there, this is just my list. Take control of your off-time productivity.
#Productivity   #podcasts   #podcastsworthhearing  #learning   #jpegvsraw   #froknowsphoto  +Rick Sammon +Juan Pons +Mike Howard  #readysteadypro  #digitalphotographycafe   #thisweekinphoto +Frederick Van Johnson  #stitcherradio  #stitchersmartradio