Obstacles vs. Opportunities

It’s happened twice in one week. The first time the power went out right smack dab in the middle of my morning routine and stayed out for a good hour. Cut off from from everything but my cell phone, I had no way to respond to those client emails or update social media. The day’s blog post would have to wait and even phone calls where out of the question because my calendar was stored online. Let’s just say that it took me a while to process things and come up with alternatives tasks. Pulling out my “to do” list, I realized that just about every tasks required electricity in some way, shape, or form. Whether it was working on that new welcome guide, updating my client database, or simply plugging in the hot glue gun to make up some new boxes for packaging, I was at a lost for what to do. Instead of growing frustrated or giving up, I chose to recognize the situation not as a power outage, but as an opportunity to change gears.

For the next hour I cleaned and organized my surroundings, both personal and professional. I cleared off my desk and folded laundry; I loaded the dishwasher and organized my client files; I updated my workflow board and vacuumed the floor. By the time the power came back on I had accomplished quite a bit and felt motivated and refreshed, ready to jump right into my business tasks.

The second time “it” happened was yesterday afternoon when my toddler accidentally spilled a glass of water on my Mac’s wireless keyboard. Unfortunately, for both me and the keyboard, I didn’t discover the spill until much later and by then the keyboard was no longer working, to say the least. Now I knew that we had a backup keyboard somewhere but I had no idea where and would have to wait until my husband got home to locate it. Until the, I couldn’t edit, write, or any  of the other dozens of things requiring a keyboard. I couldn’t even cull sessions because I use the keyboard to assign ratings to the images.

Unlike the power outage, this unexpected situation was a bit frustrating because it happened just after I had put my two kids down for their nap. Any moms out there can testify that those few hours every afternoon are when you get your best work done and I really count on those periods of quiet and focus to advance my workflow. Since being behind was inevitable, I decided to use this opportunity to have a little “me time” and get refreshed on a personal level. A little nap, a few of my favorite shows, and a good book had me feeling relaxed and ready to hit the ground running once the backup keyboard was located (of course, in the one closet I hadn’t looked in!).

Though seemingly simple, these instances taught me a valuable lesson on what to do when things don’t go as expected. In both cases, the situations were beyond my control and interfered with my expected productivity. However, by recognizing them as opportunities instead of obstacles I was able to make the best of a not-so-good situation and actually use them to increase my overall productivity and motivation. So the next time your power goes out or something doesn’t go according to plan, remember that is an opportunity to complete the tasks that get pushed to the back burner, put on a play with your kids, attack that pile of laundry, or read the issue of Professional Photographer magazine that has been sitting there for three weeks. Take advantage of the situation and make the best of it and it will bring out the best in you.