And now for something ……

Today time for something completely different.
We all know that work is fun, work earns us money etc.
However what we often forget is that we also have something else that we have to take care off, our family and our own bodies. So today a small blog post about some tips I can give you that I run into over the last few years.

Let’s start off very simple.

Taking time for yourself and your family
We have the best job in the world, and we don’t mind working long hours, right ?
Don’t forget however that there are also other people in your circle, your wife/husband, children or other family members. And although you love what you do they also love you and also want some time spend with them. This is one of the problems I detected with myself, I have a beautiful wife and she hardly ever complained about me working too long however personally I did find I was spending too little time with my family. I’ve decided to not go to work anymore after diner and spend those 1-2 hours with our son and my wife, sometimes just playing a video game or just watching TV. We recently made a small workspace in our living room so I can work from there in times of deadlines or really busy times but still be with my family. And this last part is the most important thing. It often doesn’t matter that you work, it’s the part of being in another room (or not at home) that will find it’s problems sooner or later. My wife owns her own company and I run the studio and workshops. At the moment my workweeks are anything between 40-80 hours on which I have to add that I never really see this as working but it is time I can’t spend with for example our son.
Our studio is connected to our house (separate building), this often meant that I would eat breakfast very quickly while starting everything up, changed that… now we try to have at least 3 breakfasts together as a family in our home before I walk to my work.

The funny thing is that I don’t have more work at the end of the week, by relaxing on certain moments you will find new energy and work faster 😀

Look after your body and food
Well everyone knows that you are what you eat right ?
When you’re busy or on the road however it’s very easy to just grab something from a fast food chain and be quick and be on the road again… well in the end this will maybe not kill you but it certainly will help if you know what I mean (just look at some of those burgers).

Everybody that knows me will know that I’m not a small guy, far from that.
However as this can sometimes happen it’s not food that is my problem, it’s the genes, or in other words I’ve been fighting myself my whole life. However this has also made me very aware of what I eat and what I do. When possible I will grab some sandwiches instead of a burger, or a nice meal salad instead of something with too much fat…. well ok that sounds boring right ? Well ok I do like a good burger and fries from time to time, however I also find that when I keep my diet of the more healthy stuff and eat every 3-4 hours (can be something small) my stamina is about twice as good as if I go to let’s say Burger king, to be totally honest when I visit Burger king or McDonalds I’m not good for the next 2-3 hours, I feel drained of power and just plain tired. However when I eat what I normally eat I can go all day. And to be real honest when we visit other countries I will sometimes just forget about eating healthy also for some days and just eat what’s looking good, but it’s not something I will do for a long period because it really drains your energy over time.

This is a big one for me, because I love some exercise.
At home we own a rowing machine (a good one) and although most people that own one don’t use it, we do. Both my wife and I try to row several times a week. I’m a bit more into it than my wife but we both feel that good exercise is vital. So what do I row ? Well when you follow me on Twitter/Facebook you sometimes see it…. Overall I try to row anything between 6 and 6.5 Kilometers per workout on a medium level. This is a workout of app. 35 minutes in which I follow the zones and try to stay app 10 minutes in the most important zone (for me) between 140-150 beats per minute and at least 3-4 minutes on redline (where you really build stamina). I try to do this at least 5 times a week. Even when we book a hotel we make sure there is a fitness room, although I have to add that some hotels have rooms that barely qualify. In orlando for example our hotel did have a fitness room but with a broken airco and the room was so small I almost died of dehydration after 20 minutes 😀

Be in time
Normally you see all the photography stuff out here, and don’t worry this is a one time only blogpost.
As you might have read (or heard) last year October I collapsed during one of six workshops I taught in Appeldoorn. It was so bad that we decided to call an ambulance, and trust me then it’s REALLY bad with me. There was nothing wrong with my heart, blood or whatever, I even had enough energy to continue I thought…. well the conclusion of the paramedics was different, my body was simply shutting down due to over-exhaustion. The above mentioned food and diet probably saved my life because I was in perfect condition but only way too tired (and I never noticed it). I took some time off and worked what some would consider a normal working week. This was the time that I decided to move my office to the studio and create a fitness room in the house (no trips to the gym which you never have time for), I also got the working space in our living room to spend more time with my family (or at least being there).

In the end I don’t work less, the amount of work is exactly the same (probably more), the time spend however has gone down considerably which was a big surprise for me and my family. It’s all in the small details that will drain you from your energy and slow you down…. it’s however also in the small details that YOU can change and give you more energy and a family life.

Think about it and start caring not only for your work but also for yourself. In the end a few years more gives you way more time 😀

Feel free to share your tips and stories.


9 replies
  1. Eero
    Eero says:

    it is funny how a gorgeous model gets comments the second it gets postednand when you post a street corner with american burgers it gets none.nni love the color in the shot, and notice that it was shot with your aptus II nit does not look like a dutch corner, are those palm trees in the background?

  2. Alex Megremis
    Alex Megremis says:

    Frank, these are all valid points. Most of us that work busy lives grapple with the same problems, and the same choices. Work/life balance, health, all these are things we definitely ignore more than we should.nnAll in all, this is not a new problem, it’s just that nowadays we have so many more ways available to us to screw ourselves over with.nnIt does do you credit that you are actively looking after these. I, for example, am the opposite. I indulge a lot, and my partner is the one that pushes me towards the healthy options. She will be the one to push to “don’t drink Coke”, “don’t order takeout, we’ll cook”, and “we’re going for badminton this Saturday, and that’s that”.

    • Frank Doorhof
      Frank Doorhof says:

      that’s indeed the main problem, we have way too much to do.nThe problem for some people is however they forget their spouse and that will end up badly, I’ve seen a lot of people getting divorces just because they don’t pay attention to their families.nnWith us it’s always been different because both Annewiek and I are very busy and love to be together so we were always planning quality time with each other, but even then I found that we needed more 😀

  3. Dennis Ebben
    Dennis Ebben says:

    Something you don’t expect on a blog of a great photographer. But it’s great to see that you cover this subject too. nnA lot of people are always in a hurry for a lot of things. One of these things, is their job… But they do forget the other important stuff. With an unhealthy body, and no social life, daily business feels quite heavy. So do excercises, maintain your social life, and most important…: Enjoy life!nnWe work to live. We don’t only live to work. 😉

  4. Dennis Ebben
    Dennis Ebben says:

    Something you don’t expect on a blog of a great photographer. But it’s great to see that you cover this subject too. nnA lot of people are always in a hurry for a lot of things. One of these things, is their job… But they do forget the other important stuff. With an unhealthy body, and no social life, daily business feels quite heavy. So do excercises, maintain your social life, and most important…: Enjoy life!nnWe work to live. We don’t only live to work. 😉

  5. David Kelly
    David Kelly says:

    Frank, thanks for sharing something rather different from the normal photo blog, but nonetheless very informative and useful. Photography for me at the moment is very much a sometime hobby but one I’d like to spend more time on. However doing my office day job I can fully empathise with this work / life balance issue. It’s something I’ve kept tabs on for many years and keep re-evaluating to try to maintain it and keep it balanced. I’ve seen too many colleagues go down that slippery slope of long working hours & working weeks – once you’ve lost that balance it’s very hard to get back up that slope again!nOf course caring for yourself doesn’t only involve the physical health side that many of us focus on such as diet, exercise, working hours etc. Just as important is the mental health side too. We need to ensure we find our support mechanisms for maintaining this & destressing such as spending time with friends/family, hobbies, relaxation etc.

    • Frank Doorhof
      Frank Doorhof says:

      Without a doubt, nothing is worse than working in a situation where you’re not happy. That’s I also think why people are so surprised when I tell them I sometimes have work weeks off well over 80 hours, and on average I will probably work between 60-70 hours a week.nnHowever I don’t see this as work, I’m almost constantly working with my hobby and passion. I once explained to someone that he should look at how much he spend on his hobby (car) and add this to his work (he works 40 hours a week), he also hit the 60 hours that way, he spend almost every minute on his car. nnWhen you take into account that we have the studio very close to our house (10 mtrs via a private drywalk) it’s of course very tempting to also work at some of the evening hours :Dn

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