When we think of athletes we typically think in terms of competition, power, speed, and grace. We remember greats like Michael Jordan sinking game winning shots, Tiger Woods nailing perfect drives, or Rodger Federer placing un-hittable serves.

What we rarely think of when we think of sports are routines.

That’s odd though isn’t it? If we think about it, sports are absolutely filled with routine.  In fact, we don’t have to think about it long before we realize that the very best athletes are those who have gone to great lengths to perfect their routine. Golfers go through the same motions every time before they hit a put. Basketball players dribble the ball the exact same amount of times every time they step up to the free throw line.

Shouldn’t we as professional photographers do the same?

Here are four reasons routines are valuable and should be integrated into our photography businesses:

1. By utilizing routines we ensure things don’t get missed. When we have written checklists that we go through before every shoot we make sure to never forget a piece of equipment at home. When we enter our workflows into tools like ShootQ, we have a way of ensuring that we work in the same efficient manner for every shoot.

2. Routines provide freedom. When we’ve committed to routines, we don’t have to be constantly worried about forgetting something. We free up our minds to be more creative and to be focused on more important things.

3. Formalized routines make us examine what it is we’re doing and how we spend our time. The act of formalizing a routine gives us an opportunity to scrutinize our actions and make sure there isn’t a more efficient way to do what we need to get done. In the act of writing and displaying your workflow you may realize a better way to get things done.

4. Routines provide accountability. When we have committed to a written routine, we’re   much more likely to stick to it.

Make sure your formalized routines are as specific as possible. Tony Schwartz in his book, “Be Excellent at Anything” details a study where one group of subjects were asked to exercise for 20 mins a week and 29% of the group complied. Another group however was asked to commit to exercising for 20 mins at a specific time, on a specific day, at a specific location, and compliance in that group rose to over 90%.

Just like for professional athletes, routines provide a scripted path to growth. We can integrate them anywhere in our lives or businesses where we desire to remain focused and observe sustained improvement.

What routines have you found to be helpful in your business?

Written by Chris Humphreys

Photographer Chris HumphreysBased out of Denver, CO, Chris Humphreys travels across Colorado and the rest of the United States photographing weddings for discerning couples who want their weddings captured in such a way as to be true to who they are.

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