In today’s life, where everyone seems to be running around all the time, taking time out for photography seems difficult. Many serious hobbyists often complain to me that their jobs drain their energy physically and mentally. Work timings and other commitments do not leave enough free time for photography. How can they take time out for it?
(Railway Tracks – Nikon D200 with Nikkor 50mm, f/5, 1/60 sec at 100 ISO.)
Time for some introspection.
If your job drains your energy to such an extent that you feel physically and mentally exhausted, the job is not good for you. At the end of the day, what/who are you working for? Consider this and then re-evaluate your job. I am not saying that you quit your job but telling you to give a serious thought on what you have been doing. Work-Life balance never works, no matter what people say. If there is a need to create this balance then it is time to sit back and re-evaluate your options.
Do away with the time-traps
I have a list of items that suck away time leaving me with nothing-
- Social media sites like facebook and linkedin are good at eating away available time. They lack an ‘end’ or a ‘stop’. One doesn’t know when to stop while scrolling away. Temptation to check the updates further worsens the problem. I have friends who scroll away on facebook app, all the free time, sometimes even while talking to others. It’s an addiction!
- Instant message and chat apps like – whatsapp, viber are other blackholes that suck into them, whatever time they can. Useless videos, memes, jokes and fake news. Do away with these.
- Television channels. Do you really have to watch that news or show? Go and unplug the television. Pick up a good book on photography instead.
- Websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, various forums etc.
- Internet shops like Amazon, Craig’s List etc. These kill time and to top it people end up buying useless things.
Now a days, I am reducing my time spent on these and instead using the saved time for photography. I have been able to save many hours every day by doing so. Make a list of things that you are willing to give away and do it. That is what I did. I made a list and from this list, the first thing that I gave away was the television channels. It has been over five years now since my subscription to the cable service provider, expired. I have also gifted away my television. Occasional movies without any advertisements are fine by me, but no more television channels. I have limited my time on facebook to 10 minutes whenever I log in. I have also stopped sending birthday greetings, festival greetings and what not on social media and instant messaging apps. I am not anti-social but I am trying not to go over-board as most people around me are. Surprisingly, I have now got more friends by slowly becoming ‘off-line’ rather than being connected all the time. It is easier to pick up the phone and call a friend rather then sending an endless series of whatsapp messages.
I try to combine all my holidays and vacations with photography. More on this – Family Trips and Photography
Every Sunday morning is reserved for photography. My favorite activity apart from photography is traveling. I visit forests, gardens, monuments or just a drive on any road. There are photographs everywhere waiting to be clicked. It is just a matter of taking the camera out.
(On one particular day when my family visited a church, I took my camera along. Apart from spending time with my family, I was able to enjoy photography.)
I do it all the time. It makes the other people feel involved and empowered, and it gives me time to do things which I feel are important. Family members can contribute and take care of some of the tasks which may be out of your way. In exchange you can help them out with some other tasks.
Few days back, I requested my wife to buy me some shirts. She was going to a shopping mall and so I saved time by taking her help. Truth be told, I hate shopping and letting my family shop for me gives me enough time to do some extra things. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that I have written some of the articles in this website, while I waited in the parking lot, and my family spent their precious time in a departmental store.
Buy time with money
Sometimes, time can be bought with money. The other day I wanted to have food from a neighborhood cafe. Instead of traveling to that place, I placed a call and got it delivered at my home. I paid a small amount of extra money but saved time. Internet shops are helpful here. If you already know what you are planning to buy, go and purchase it from Amazon or whatever works for you, but like I said earlier do not spend endless hours trying to decide on what to buy. Internet shops can be a trap if one is not careful. Another drawback of online shopping is the poor after-sales support. I have had some terrible experiences with Amazon and Aliexpress lately. Still, at times, online shopping can help. By not going to a shop and maybe by paying a little extra, you have saved time, though at the cost of meeting some wonderful people (Be careful while shopping online – I prefer buying from local shops. See this article – Regular Store or Online Shop?). If you are planning to paint your fence, hire a painter. Let him do the job and you can use the time made free. Pay for higher internet bandwidth/speed and get your work done faster.
Make use of the dead time
Anytime which is spent in between priorities is dead time. Time taken up while traveling to work and back from there is one example. Another one is the time spent waiting for an elevator or inside it. I try to use this time for making required phone calls. In fact the photograph on the top of this article is another example of utilization of dead time. I was waiting for my wife near a railway overbridge. Instead of looking at my clock after every couple of minutes, I clicked some photographs….. and that reminds me of another important suggestion – Carry your camera whenever you can.
What has minimalism got to do with time? Everything! Once you start to go minimalist, you won’t have to bother with keeping lots of items in running condition. Think of one car to service and repair, instead of three cars. One camera battery to charge rather than two or more. Fewer service centers to call, fewer warranties to consider, less documents to save.
Minimalism goes one step further and opens up the preoccupied minds too. Less to worry about, after all! This is one of the best tricks to getting more and more free time… more time for photography! (Minimalism – A Way of Life!)