How I Edit: Erika Swafford, The Photo Doctor

This is a post in my How I Edit series where ambitious women share real-life examples of how they edit their lives and businesses with the help of my Life Editing Process.

Please say hello to Erika Swafford!

Erika Swafford, The Photo Doctor

How I Create a Foundation of Gratitude

Gratitude actually seems to come easily to me. I’m usually the person who, annoyingly, tries to find the silver lining. You’ll know it’s coming when you hear me start a sentence with, “Well, at least…” and then finish with whatever could be worse than what’s happening or the thing that we’re all clinging to as the last ray of sunshine. Ha!

I do my best to take the time to savor many of the wonderful things in my life–make the experience last as long as I can. I eat slow. I read slow. Well, those aren’t slow on purpose, but they help me to enjoy my food and the books I read.

I started doing something at work that has made me more grateful for the compliments I get from the people I work with and for. I keep something called a “glory file” where I put printed out emails when someone says I’ve really helped them, or made their day.

It’s easy to just shrug those off but I think it is important to re-read those now and then to remember that you are appreciated. (Especially if you have a job where you feel unappreciated or unnoticed.)

How I Delete Bad Influences

I don’t watch or listen to the news. I don’t find that uplifting or useful. I find that it just breeds fear and worry that is needless. I’ve got better things to do like create photos, do things in and on my business, or hang out with my hubby.

One thing I’ve deleted that was a huge mind shift and a weight off my heart was when I figured out that it’s okay if someone doesn’t like me or if I don’t like them. I used to think that if someone didn’t like me then I must have done something wrong, somehow. I offended them or hurt them and it’s my fault! This made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.

Recently I came to realize that this feeling was how my childhood mind interpreted a difference in values between me and the other person. The “not good enough” feeling really means that, for now, me and the person causing this feeling aren’t meant to be friends.

I’d have to change my values and if that isn’t something I’d willingly do to be friends, then it is okay to NOT be their friend. Maybe everyone else already knew this, but it blew my adult mind when I figured this out!  Am I late to this realization? Well, at least I know now! (See, silver lining there.)

How I Add Good Habits

Right now, I’m adding a mindset practice to my mornings. I place some calming music and read out loud the things I want to be in my life. I then spend a few minutes visualizing and trying to emotionalize.

I’m not perfect at the visualizing and emotionalizing part. I’m told this gets easier with practice. I hope so! I do feel calmer and focused afterward.

How I Rearrange Everything Into a Perfect Flow

I have a full-time career, a long commute to the workplace, plus launching a side-business and having a personal life. That’s a lot to juggle!

I’ve learned that I need to do the important things first and when I have the most energy. I used to try to fit my business into my evenings after work but I found that I was usually exhausted and had trouble sticking with an even business schedule.

So, I moved my business hour to first thing in the morning. While I do have to get earlier than I’d like, I have gotten a lot more done–and more consistently–since changing it to the first thing I do in my day, instead of the last.

How I Make White Space

White space is easy to forget about sometimes. I find that when I really need some self-care time I enjoy going outside and spending time amongst the trees or by the water. Going for a walk is even better! There’s something about being outside and connecting with nature that perks me right up. Taking a camera with me into nature and I’m in heaven!

When my mind is turbulent, I take care of myself by getting out a notebook and pen so I can journal about my feelings and thoughts. Writing it all down makes it more tangible and easier to handle.

Thoughts and feels stop bouncing off my skull when I put them down on paper. I can think more constructively on paper. Writing it out by hand is the key for me. The feel of writing gives me a sense of control over the things in my head and heart. Control freak? Maybe a little.

Sage’s 5-step Life Editing Process is genius! I love having a step-by-step process to go through to refocus and recharge my life. It’s an ongoing process which works because life is always changing, too.

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Thanks for sharing your life editing tips, Erika!

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  1. Dacia Dyer on July 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Yay Erika! I love reading about how you balance your life and work. I am right there with you on the outdoor walks and journaling. They are the best!

  2. Erika Swafford on July 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for the feature, Sage! And thanks for all your insight!

    • Sage Grayson on July 25, 2016 at 10:04 am

      You’re so welcome, Erika! 🙂