One of the key traits of photographers we admire is their ability to multitask. Recently I've read a number of articles that suggest people who stress their ability to multitask often lose site of quality related issues. In an effort to do several things at once, they become masters of mediocrity and incredibly inefficient. Whereas if they stayed focused on one project/action at a time they'd be more efficient and consistent in their production values.
Personally, I don't agree. I've spent years working with a lot of amazing people. There are some who simply have a unique ability to stay focused on multiple projects and priorities.
So, pick whatever side you want to be on, but I'm talking about many of the leaders in our industry who multitask and never drop the ball. Maybe it's not so much multitasking but having multi-vision!
While it’s a definite trait of the photographers we admire the most, it’s also one of those traits that’s so universal to successful people in general. Somehow they seem to be able to be in two places at once. They have so much going on in their lives, yet from our perspective they teach, write, photograph and create all with an effortless ease. Each of you have photographers and business people in your own community who might not be well known, but have these traits. Here are a couple of great examples.
We all try and multitask, but nobody does it better than good buddy, Kevin Kubota. He does it so well that many new photographers don’t know he’s one of the best photographers in our industry. They think he’s a software developer creating products for Kubota Image Tools. The reality is that he’s a teacher, a wedding photographer, a commercial photographer, an author, a lecturer, a great dad, husband and friend.
What’s the secret ingredient? You’ll have to ask Kevin, but I think it’s just plain passion for being on the planet. And there’s another ingredient/trait of great photographers.
And another multitasker is family photographer, Michele Celentano. She's a photographer, educator, author, fitness instructor, mom, wife and also a great friend. Having spent a lot of time with her and her family recently, one of her secrets is setting priorities. She maintains a balance between all the hats she wears making sure that her personal priorities for her own health and family are never in second place.
The challenge in multitasking is learning to prioritize and move from project to project, never losing sight of the importance of completion. Everyone has a certain bandwidth and sooner or later you simply run out of space in your head, as well as your heart to tackle one more thing. So a really good multitasker puts one project on the back-burner, ties up some lose ends on another, takes it to completion and then can come back to the original priority.
This isn’t a personality trait or skill by itself. It ties together with time management, learning to delegate, judgment, awareness and again passion…all traits and skills that will continue to come up in posts down the road.
Business and motivational writer Mitch Thrower wrote, “Spend time to understand your own multitasking capacity, and your projects and goals.”
The key word here is “capacity” – People who are good at multitasking recognize when they’re out of bandwidth.
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