Messy Success Episode 37: My 15-Hour Work Week | Elizabeth Henson Photos

Messy Success Episode 37: My 15-Hour Work Week

Questions Answered in this Episode

  • How do I run a photography business, my membership programs, and my podcast in 15 hours?
  • What are some of the tools and tricks I use to get everything done in the amount of time I have?

I’ve already talked a little bit about how I keep my work week to only 15 hours, but today we’re going to dive deep into my productivity tips and what my week looks like.


Myth #1: You have to work a lot to be an entrepreneur. I know it seems like I work a ton because I love to talk about my work and my work is what I genuinely love. But the truth is that I don’t – in fact, I manage to keep my work week down to 15 hours Monday through Friday in a typical week.

Myth #2: You have to get up early and love early mornings. While sometimes I get up early to work, this is just a myth. You can make your business fit your life and not make your life fit your business.

Myth #3: You have to have rigid processes. You do not have to be a type A person to own your own business. That’s where the name for this podcast comes from – messy success!

Myth #4: You have to work ahead of time. You don’t have to! Do what works for you. I’m recording this podcast on Tuesday, I often post my social media posts in real time, and I don’t work ahead too much. On top of fitting my work style better, it also keeps my content current. I still don’t have a content calendar! Don’t force yourself to do things that aren’t working for you and your business.

My System for a Short Work Week

Currently, most of my work is completed from 10-12:40, Monday through Friday. Content creation for my memberships, some photography work, and my podcast work. This is when I’m pumping out work, it’s my “zone of genius” time. In the afternoon, I might do some work, but for the most part, I’m focusing on my family. In the evenings, I might do a coaching call or catch up on other work for an hour or two at night.

In order to get all of my work done during that short time, I’ve found four pillars for productivity that I’m so excited to share with you!

Pillar One: Clarity – You have to know what you’re planning to work on. Have clarity about your tasks and, most importantly, a finish line. I’ll often ask my coaching clients what their plan is for the next day. Recently, a client said “I’m going to work on my website.” That’s too vague. Have a starting point and a finishing point, with set tasks. If you do more – great! But having those tasks specifically laid out will help you focus and will help you get more done. So instead of saying you’re going to work on your website, say you’re going to update your about page, add a couple testimonials, and update your photos. You’ll know exactly what you’ll be working on.

Pillar Two: Budget Your Time – My schedule is set for me and I can’t really control it. Fortunately, that aligns well with my productivity. I always budget my projects and my time to fit in that window when the girls are at school, including empty time for brainstorming or working on other tasks. It took me a long time to get to this point because we all love to over schedule! We have to budget the time we’re working and the amount of client work we take on. The amount you sell has to fit in with the amount of hours you want to work. If you have too much time, if you don’t have a strict schedule, create one. Have an a start time and an end time so you’re not constantly overworking and heading towards burnout.

Pillar Three: Protect Your Zone of Genius Time – Your zone of genius time is when the most important business tasks you need to do should happen. It’s important to keep that time clear and uninterrupted. Other tasks like unimportant emails and other tasks that you can do on autopilot should take place outside of this time. Be disciplined! This should be your most productive time.

Pillar Four: Outsourcing! – Outsourcing doesn’t have to be scary or expensive. You don’t have to be very far into the entrepreneur journey to hire help either. Where are you spending your time that you could have someone else do these tasks? You could get back an hour here and an hour there to take on another photo session or work on other projects that will move your business forward.

Are you in a stage of hustle? Are you scaling back? Either way, you can apply these pillars to your business so you can make the most of the time you’re working, no matter how many hours in the week that is.

Create work around your life and not life around your work!

Important Links & Resources

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