January 7, 2022

Casual Friday Vol. 7: On Slowing Down & Embracing Unproductivity

Over the holidays, I took three weeks off work.

Back when I mainly shot weddings, I always had a natural “off season” in the winter — and had two weeks off when teaching full time before that, too. However, as I’ve fallen in love with lifestyle newborn photography and shifted my business more in that direction…I’ve discovered there isn’t quite that natural ebb and flow during the year! After all, babies don’t just come in the warm months. ;) Haha!

And, after two winters of that (plus a newborn last year and the busiest fall season yet!), I knew I needed to do something different to end out 2021.

In normal life, my go-to mode is Accomplisher: give me all the lists and tasks and goals!! Which is mostly great…seeing as a big part of owning a business is that there are always things to do!!

However, these past few weeks of rest have been so so good to my soul. I didn’t work for a single nap time…instead often choosing to read another book or get ahead on random domestic tasks that normally fall to the wayside (#oops).

There were several moments when I sat down at my computer or started collecting images for a post where I had to intentionally STOP myself and remind my brain that it was MADE for rest — something desperately needed and not just an option. I didn’t have to be productive right that second! In fact, I had created space to NOT be productive.

And, while it’s been fantastic to be back to my normal habits and routines this week (I shot my first newborn session of the year this morning and it was the BEST), I’m realizing I want more of those “unproductive” moments this year. 

I want to create margin and space a little more often.

Forsake efficiency for an extra dose of wonder.

Get lost in a novel.

Paint with Adam.

Build a lego with Ryan.

Have nothing on my schedule.

Explore with Noah.

Create just simply to create.

Spend a whole nap time talking with a friend.


Dig into my Bible.

As I type these out, I’m realizing…a lot of this list is full of things I normally save for times when I can multi-task.

But that’s the thing!

I don’t NEED to do dishes in order to spend time talking with God.

I don’t HAVE to save my book for the carpool line.

It’s not my ONLY option to catch up with friends while I drive or run errands. 

I GET to choose how I spend my time. I don’t want my time to spend ME.

(Side note: Are those all *great* ways to schedule in some things that fill my cup in an often busy day? HECK YES. I’m a huge fan of noticing gaps in the day and filling them with enjoyable things! :) In some seasons, the only way any of those things get done IS to schedule it into other tasks. However — what I’m getting after is the thought process that I have to have something to DO while I do the XYZ “unproductive” thing. You know what I mean?)

In other words, I’m realizing I’ve created habits revolving around productivity and efficiency that are honestly not life-giving to me or anyone around me — other than my list.

Efficiency is wonderful and marvelous. Crossing things off my list IS exhilarating. Being someone who gets stuff done ROCKS.

But it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — define me.

And by choosing to prioritize this, I’m hoping my boys will pick up on this truth, too.

There’s beauty in choosing to rest. We aren’t defined by our wins.

So, while I’ll still be tackling all the things and accomplishing all the goals in 2022 — because believe me, I have lofty dreams on my list! — I’m also going to try my hardest to *not* try sometimes, too.

Will you try, with me? 

All images from sweet Monroe’s newborn session.



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Sami Orndorff is a Wedding Photographer & Lifestyle Newborn Photographer located in the greater Indianapolis area.