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Thu. Oct 18, 2012 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

Guest Blog: Katelyn James on Getting Stuff Done

**How much do I LOVE this girl?? Last week I referenced Katelyn's "Big List" and how it's rocking my world. Today we are SO lucky to have the amazing Katelyn James herself here to tell you all about it!

Let me start by saying that if you’re reading this and you frequent this blog often, you are in the right place!! I have learned so much from this incredible duo throughout my last four years in business and I’m SO grateful for their giving hearts! I’ve watched their every move (it’s not as creepy as it sounds) the last several years in hopes that if I adopt some of their business ideas and strategies, my business would grow… and it has…. Tremendously. Again, I’m grateful. Justin and Mary have been a huge part of my growth and I consider them role models in the industry. Now that you know how much I adore them, you can imagine my SHOCK when Mary asked me to write about this topic!! What an honor!! I’m so excited to be here!

Mary and I attended the Pursuit 31 conference together a few weeks ago and I had the privilege of teaching an Office Management class. I had originally thought to myself “goodness, 45 minutes of JUST office talk?! How boring!” Well, it turns out that there is actually A LOT to talk about when it comes to running a well organized office. I spoke about everything from to-do lists to file folders to client galleries and I STILL ran out of time!

The comforting aspect about that seminar was that I realized I’m not the only one that struggles with getting stuff DONE! As small business owners, we have to have a plan of attack when it comes to the nitty gritty details of our business!! Our to-do lists are never ending, we’re always running out of time and if you’re like I was last year, I felt like I was dropping the ball left and right. I realized a year ago that I needed a system. Actually, I needed MANY systems to keep my business flowing. I’m a one woman show. I don’t have interns or assistants or office managers… I wear all of those hats and so I had to come up with a game plan!
After making a detailed list of everything that I didn’t do well in 2011, I found that I had 3 areas that really needed some help! Here were my problem areas:

1. Multiple basic tasks were being forgotten on a monthly basis
2. My post processing was delayed because of my lack of motivation to cull images.
3. I lacked an effective “To-do” list strategy

These all seem like such SIMPLE issues. However, these 3 simple issues were becoming detrimental to my business and I needed a solution! I needed to be able to crank out jobs, stay on top of my monthly tasks and have a To-Do list that kept me straight on a daily basis! This is what I came up with:

1. Monthly Duty Days
Every month I was struggling to keep up with the following: Paying the mortgage on time, filing sales tax, mailing client gifts, blogging my monthly goals, keeping a blog calendar, etc. I also realized that there were things that I DREADED when it came to the end of the year. Mileage logs and expense records had become the death of me!! I realized it would be much easier if I tackled these duties month by month instead of once at the end of the year. So, I created MONTHLY DUTY DAYS. This sounds so elementary but it works! On the first of EVERY month, I set aside 2 hours to do the following:

- File sales tax
- Log the previous month’s mileage
- Record and categorize expenses from the previous month
- Mail client gifts for the upcoming month
- Blog a “Goals” post for the new month
- Create a blog calendar for the upcoming month and schedule posts
- Pay the mortgage
- Give my puppy his heartworm pill
- Pay off the credit card

If I’m having a good day, these items can all be accomplished in two hours or so. Not bad considering all that you’re accomplishing. My Monthly Duty Days allow me to start each month off on a great foot!!

2. Cull during imports
I was really struggling with being motivated to cull my images after they had imported. I really didn’t think their was a “fix” for this but then I realized why I wasn’t motivated! I didn’t want to cull and scan back through these images because I had already seen them once as they were importing! So they weren’t exciting anymore! So, this was my solution to the problem, I started culling WHILE the images were importing. I started staying engaged during the culling process because I hadn’t seen my shots yet! I was eager to see what I captured and so I trained myself to cull while I viewed my images for the first time! Simple fix? Yes! But it works!

3. The “Big List”
This is going to sound crazy but I spent weeks, maybe even MONTHS trying to fall in love with multiple personal organization APPS on my iPhone! I thought, “Katelyn, it’s the 21st century, you should keep your to-do lists on your phone, afterall, you PAID for these APPS!”. Well, months went by and my to-do list was a disaster! I finally realized that a good ol’ notebook was all I really needed! I bought a plain, spiral notebook and I started making “The Big List”. Basically, I have an on going master list of everything that needs to be done within my business. I list everything from the MASSIVE projects to the single emails I need to send. Everything I need to accomplish is on that list. However, I can’t accomplish the whole list in one day and so I place a post-it note on top of the big list and I write out what I could realistically accomplish THAT day. Once the day is over, I mark off what I accomplished from the master list and I throw that day’s post-it note away. I love this because not only do I have a master list of all that needs to be done, I keep every list so now I can look back and see ALL that has already been accomplished the year as well!

I realize these are such elementary solutions to my office management issues. However, what matters is they work and I’m constantly accomplishing tasks because of them!! You can read more about my other office organization solutions HERE! I hope this was helpful and here’s to an organized, efficient office where STUFF GETS DONE!!!

***Katelyn is a phenomenal photographer, blogger, speaker and industry leader based out of Richmond, VA. If you guys aren't following her yet, you seriously have to get on that! :) She is ahhh-mazing!


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