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Achieve Productivity and Organizational Perfection For Photographers Using Simple Categories
Photographers equipment

Achieve Productivity and Organizational Perfection For Photographers Using Simple Categories

Staying focused is a premium in the 21st century, and nothing makes you feel more lost in the sauce than not knowing which way your lens is pointed. This method will help you stay focused and help create a system to save all the information you come across in a searchable database for future reference. 

It’s important to understand the fundamentals of the method before I go into why it’s helpful, so below is a more detailed overview of P.A.R.A., with definitions from the method’s author.

Projects (a series of tasks linked to a goal, with a deadline): This is where all current activities go regardless of the level of completion. Losing weight, saving money, planning trips, photo sessions, etc.

Areas (a sphere of activity with a standard to be maintained over time): Parts of your life that are ongoing but don’t have specific timelines. Family, health, finances, hobbies, etc.

Resources (a topic or theme of ongoing interest): This is where you store everything that can either help with the previous two categories or is just of interest to you. How to write better, cooking recipes, places to visit, tutorials, etc.

Archive (inactive items from the other three categories): Exactly what it sounds like, a catch-all for everything you no longer need. For this, I duplicate the database from whichever area I’m archiving from so it’s still searchable and keeps the same hierarchy from the other three areas.

Here are nine ways you can increase your productivity and earn more as a photographer:

Use workflow software

Scheduling follow-up reminders, creating invoices, and keeping track of expenses can all be automated.

There are tons of workflow software tools out there, including Táve and JotForm.

Create templates for frequent emails

Do you find yourself writing roughly the same emails over and over again?

Creating customizable templates or canned responses for emails that you send to most clients at some point in your workflow (for example, introductory emails to new clients) can save you a lot of time. Instead of writing a new email for every client, you can reach for your trusty template, fill in the client’s name and details, and send it off in just a few minutes.

Set up systems for editing photos more efficiently

Editing photos can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of your photography business. Devising systems to reduce the time you spend editing affords you more hours a week to land new clients and do more photoshoots.

A straightforward way to improve your editing efficiency is to tackle edits in large batches.  Newborn photographer Nicole Smitt uses Lightroom and the Batch+ plugin to organize all of her edits.

Another way to save time while editing is to create custom keyboard shortcuts for every editing action. While it takes some time to create these, in the long run they will save you hundreds of keystrokes during editing sessions.

Protect your calendar

You can’t get much done if your day is peppered with meetings, so it can be helpful to set aside blocks of time every day for working.

Companies like Calendly make it easy to set meetings with clients around your work schedule. The scheduling software allows you to allot specific intervals of time every day for meetings, which means your “work time” is automatically protected.

Maximize your social media efforts with a scheduling app

Planning and scheduling all your content for the week or month at once can ensure your social media is consistent and efficient. Currently, the only way to effectively schedule content on most social media platforms is to use a third-party app.

Keep a notebook for jotting down ideas

How many times have you kicked yourself for forgetting that thing you were going to do?

A recent survey showed that the majority of professionals prefer old-fashioned pen and paper to record their creative ideas on the go. Having a notebook handy ensures that when inspiration strikes, you’re prepared to make a quick note to refer to later.

Set specific short-term goals

Setting clear short-term goals for growing your business and developing an actionable plan for achieving them may be the single best way to increase your productivity. That’s because when you define your goals, you have the internal motivation to focus on your work.

The quickest way to stymie your progress and kill motivation is to be overwhelmed. Think of this as a way to tip the balance of power in your favor in a system bent towards using your time for the least amount of payment. We have to spend an inordinate amount of time just trying to stay relevant in this fast-paced, content-over saturated world. So, take any advantage you can and run with it.

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