Raise your hand with me if you’ve ever sat down after a wedding and stared at your computer for what feels like an entire day without getting anything done. Or maybe you HAVE done this for an entire day. You had every well intention of sitting down and culling through all 4500 images you just took, but it feels like a giant task to tackle. This turns into a giant vicious cycle of overwhelm, more things piling up on your to-do list because you’re not getting anything done, major procrastination and a negative momentum on productivity.
Negative momentum is a killer of goals, dreams and well intentions.
So, how do we build a positive momentum, so we’re not wasting time as we sit at our computer, staring at the giant MOUNTAIN of work that needs to be done? Well, the only way to write a book is one sentence at a time. The only way to run a marathon is one step at a time. So the only way to dive into this wedding is one task at a time. (This is ESPECIALLY important during double header weekends or your peak season when you have multiple sessions a week!) But how do we do this?
First and foremost, you need to create a workflow. In short, a workflow should include these four things: a list of tasks, due dates, subtasks and a reward. The most important, is the list of tasks.
As you work on a certain project take notes of all the steps it takes to complete the project. Write them down! Half the battle of being productive is always knowing what comes next. This checklist will serve as your driving force behind a consistent workflow. This also ensures that you NEVER miss a step, do things in the order they’re supposed to be done and use up less brain capacity trying to think of things you forgot to do or should have done.
Due dates! Every workflow should have due dates attached to each of your tasks. This ensures tasks get done on time, and creates urgency. A workflow also means that one task FLOWS into the next so having due dates in place makes it so that the tasks get done in order of importance. These can be specific dates or you can set them to be “one day after project start” or “1 week after project starts.
Subtasks. THIS IS THE BIG ONE YOU GUYS… Read on!
This is how you create POSITIVE momentum.
This little tip has been the BIGGEST game changer in the way I practice working smarter. My to-do lists used to overwhelm me. There were major projects on there that I knew would take HOURS or even DAYS of time, such as edit and deliver a wedding gallery, but breaking things into small, manageable task means that you’re kicking overwhelm to the curb by breaking your to-do list up into actionable steps that can be done in a matter of minutes or at most, an hour.
Here are a couple ways I break things down into subtasks:
- I sort all my images into sections of the day before I even begin the culling process. I have about 20 sections, so once I begin culling, I’m only looking at numbers between 100-300 images. I know I can get through 100 images a minute if I stay focused, so I fly through this.
- I then import into Lightroom using these same sections. This allows me to edit one section at a time and use up all the little pockets of time throughout the day that I otherwise would have done nothing if I had an entire lightroom catalog. I used to think I’d need a 4 hour block of time to edit a big chunk of the wedding, now I know even if I have 10 minutes before going to the gym I can get through bridal details at the very least. I repeat this over and over until it’s done! No more overwhelm!
- I blog by answering 10 questions about the day or my couple for every blog. This allows me to break it down in paragraphs or easy to answer questions so I don’t ever get writer’s block! I wrote out an entire system for how this is done that you can actually get for FREE if you want to check it out! Here’s the link to the Free Blogging System. This will help you start writing blogs in 15 minutes or less. No more excuses 😉 !
- I design albums page by page with a well developed system in place. I created a system that every wedding album design follows so I know exactly what pictures will go on what page so I can design my albums in usually an hour or less and this also helps me pick the correct pictures for the album. My couples of course are able to make changes, but I choose the initial pictures that go in to expedite the process.
And the last thing your workflow should have is a reward! Celebrate your victories and the completion of a big project! Make a list of rewards for yourself and choose one after you complete a big goal or project. This could be “Go for a walk”, “Have a glass of wine”, “Get a massage”, “Have a day off”, the list goes on! The possibilities are endless!
Having something to look forward to will make you work faster and pinpoint your focus. When it’s date night, you better believe I’m not going on Facebook or Instagram all day because I want to get everything on my list done that I can before date night begins! Having a reward psychologically creates laser focus which means difficult tasks get done quicker.
I hope these tips will help ease that overwhelming to-do list! And remember, things only work if you put in the work, so practice this method and I promise you’ll see results!
Cheers to less work and more life my friend.