Tip of the Week – Being More Effective With A Weekly Schedule
This tip of the week comes to you via AJ’s Studio in Vancouver, WA. A few years ago, a group of local photographers got together and shared some work flow ideas. John and Amy Prutch talked about how they schedule out their week. One day is for blogging, one day is for reaching out to vendors, one day is for ordering, etc. This way, they never get bogged down in the 1000-things-a- once, nothing-gets-finished cycle.
Why? The Hamster Effect
Despite what self-help business books say, humans are horrible multitaskers. Studies show that not only are we horrible at multitasking, we can’t even learn to do it effectively. Humans are much better off doing two things consecutively than at the same time. Not only are we faster, but we are more effective, too. If you are doing your RAW processing and returning client emails all at the same time, not only is it going to take you longer, you’re going to produce poorer results. Multitasking usually just results in spinning your wheels. By separating out what you need to do into a weekly schedule, it helps you concentrate on each part of your business. Additionally, since it is a weekly schedule, it ensures that you aren’t missing any crucial part of your business. I don’t know how many small business owners, including photographers, that I’ve talked to who don’t blog regularly, who don’t go out and see partner vendors regularly, etc. By simply giving yourself a weekly schedule, it helps you to not forget essential parts of your business, additionally, personally it helps me not to get overwhelmed with everything I need to do.
I have a very busy schedule. We create all of our own content and we love doing it. That said, it takes a great deal of time to create the content, plan for updates, test software, etc. So, having a weekly schedule helps me. This is my weekly schedule:
Now, you notice that I just put these in the morning. If there is something else I need to get done, I do it. But I make sure that I always complete my task for that day on my calendar. If I do other stuff, great. But I always finish up my daily tasks.
The key to making this work is NEVER do Wednesdays tasks on Monday, that get’s you off track. More on this later.
Sample Photographer Schedule
So, here is a basic schedule that a photographer might use. I’d like to use Thursday for an example. Thursday is set aside for lab/album ordering. Ordering prints or an album actually is a very time consuming process. It’s amazing how much time it actually takes to put an order together. If you are putting together a few orders a day or an order in whenever one arrives, you’ll be wasting a serious amount of time. But, if first thing every Thursday morning you come in and send out your orders, you’ll be amazed at how many orders you can put together at one time. Additionally, you should make sure that all orders are processed, retouched, cropped and ready to go. If you stop to get an order ready while you’re ordering, it will take extra time. Make sure you stay on task each morning, get these daily tasks out of the way and move onto tasks you have to deal with at the moment, like contacting clients and setting up shoots!
Obviously the above schedule doesn’t include everything you need to do, but it’s a good start. We recommend bunching things together that are related. Like blog posting goes along well with social media preparation. We automatically add all our blog posts to our social media using Sociroll, but you can do this manually when you add a blog post.