Wasting time in our photography with regrets isn’t something I’m guessing most of us even think about. 

I came across an article about the biggest wastes of time we regret when we get older and it occurred to me that the concepts could be applied to our photography and our businesses (or anything really). 

We spend a lot of energy looking for shortcuts to save time. But, how much of that time do you regret spending? Too much time on social media, not using your time effectively, efficiently or wisely? Not good habits but there are other time wasters that can get in the way of your creativity and business.

wasting time

Not asking for help

I can do it myself. Sounds a whole lot like my inner four-year-old, doesn’t it? With the number of tutorials, how-to articles, blog posts and videos available to us, I feel like we’ve forgotten how to ask for help. Instead, we spend hours upon hours searching for a tutorial we like, or books that we need to read or wade through to find the information we need. It takes up our time to find a course or class that works for how we learn. 

This is a great reason to work with a mentor or belong to a photography community. Rely on your network of photographers to get help. Recently, I asked a friend for some help and was able to immediately move on with something I’d been sitting on for over a year because I didn’t ask for help. How much time did I waste?

Wasting time trying to make bad relationships work

Speaking of mentors, workshops, courses and communities, how much time do you spend in those groups on Facebook that are of no real value to you? The notifications become distractions and you’re not getting anything out of being a member, so why do you stay? Checking into these groups just because you feel you should isn’t the best use of your time. 

Are you working with a mentor? Do you click with them? Are they really helping you in the way you need? These are all good questions to ask every so often in process of working with someone. Our needs as photographers/creatives grow and change, is your mentoring relationship changing with you?

How about all of those courses you have sitting on the hard drive that you spent your hard-earned money on? Did you buy them because they were such a good deal you just couldn’t pass it up? Are they even the right course for you? 

wasting time

Researching ahead of time when looking for any of these will save you time in the long run. Make sure the courses are what you need to grow your work. Find a mentor who you click with (no pun intended), one who understands the journey you’re on and how to best help you. The last thing you want to do is force a relationship with someone or something that isn’t truly helping you.

Relationships can also apply to the gear you use. Sometimes we purchase what we think we need or want. Then, we start using that gear and realize it’s not right for us. Too heavy, not enough reach, doesn’t have features we want or need. In the end, our relationship with our gear is also important. So, take the time to test things out. Don’t buy based on advertising or even word-of-mouth. You may end up wasting time not photographing because you’re uncomfortable with your gear.

Dwelling on your mistakes and shortcomings

It’s oh so easy to look through our images and find all the faults. Likewise, we can look at where we are in our business if that’s what we’re doing and think we should be more successful or further along than we are. Yes, we can learn from our mistakes, but dwelling on them is not helpful. It makes you lose confidence and wastes your time. 

wasting time

Another regret might be not allowing yourself to fail out of fear. We might keep ourselves in a comfortable spot, not try to push further, learn more and grow because we think we might not do well or succeed at what it is we’re trying to do. So we just don’t try. Our business doesn’t grow and our work does not improve either.

So, move on, move forward. Learn from your mistakes and keep working on getting better or increasing business or whatever it is you are trying to do.

Wasting time worrying too much about other people

The comparison game. Impostor syndrome. The number of likes and comments from others. These are all detrimental to our creative selves. Yet, many of us are guilty of all of these at some point, and really, they’re human nature. Regret is another big waste of time, so there’s no point in beating yourself up over these. The sooner you learn from them, though, the sooner you can free up your time and energy to live the life you want.

wasting time

Stop scrolling through Instagram and other social media comparing images others have posted to yours. I have a business coach that I’ve worked with who always told us, “keep your eyes on your own paper.”

I continually tell myself this as I find myself wandering and seeing what someone else is doing, how they’re promoting their own business, running workshops, creating books, traveling and creating incredible images. This is not a good use of my time and instead of wasting time doing this, I should be working on my own business and images.

Be more aware of your time

Just by being more aware of the topics brought up here you’ll be able to change what you need to in a more timely manner. It’s all definitely a work in progress and we may have to unlearn bad habits. It will be worth it though.