#brandspankinawesome: Planning to Plan + Organization

One thing I have really been working on this year is staying organized. I'm the kind of person who is really big on organizing BUT gets easily distracted and overwhelmed, loses track of everything, and has to re-organize and start over. Which pretty much nullifies any previous time-saving attempts...

But I have adopted a few life-changing habits that have actually stuck and help me stay focused, prepared, AND organized.

1. Asana

Asana is my BFF. Sometimes we go skipping together and rejoice over our mutual love for lists. Which is essentially what it is. I use it to organize my ENTIRE workflow for EVERY client EVER. It allows me to have projects for each client, filled with tasks, which are filled with subtasks. For example...

On the left are most of my current active projects, the middle is the view of the current project along with the standard workflow, and on the third pane are the sub-tasks necessary to complete each task. I have every part included, from backing up images to sharing sneak peeks, etc. Plus it allows me to keep track of Brian's video workflow as well. 

When we book new weddings, I simply make a copy of this workflow and update it with the necessary information, as well as due dates for tasks that are now in effect. On a daily basis, I can pull a constantly updated to-do list, that will feature every tasks for every project that I have scheduled to complete today, tomorrow, or a week from now. 

Having a way to see what needs to get done at any time helps me stay on track with every client and not miss the little steps that assure that my business runs smoothly and that my images are safe and handled.

2. The 30/30 App

Okay, I admit, I didn't think I'd be that person who can get distracted by social media (because I really don't use it for personal use)... but I TOTALLY am. I'm always checking my insights, updating my instagram, trying to make sure I'm keeping everything fresh... frankly, it's exhausting! So I've had to really try to limit my time. The 30/30 app on my iphone helps me SO much with that. In the mornings (or the night before) I review my plan for the next day. I create a window for reviewing and responding to my emails, set aside a thirty minute social media break, and then it's time to focus on my Asana tasks. I make a concerted effort to do one task at a time. Once midday rolls around, it's lunch, then rinse and repeat. 

The key to using that app is, um, USING IT. It notifies you when your time is up, so just stick to your current task and try to get one thing done at a time. It's easy to add time to your scheduler as well, so if you have a few more emails to do, add fifteen minutes and it will adjust accordingly. And when the bell rings, put your pencils down and move on to the next task. Your productivity goes up exponentially when you're focused, so you'll find yourself get a lot more done in that scheduled hour than you did before.

3. Planning a day to...er... plan.

I don't remember where exactly I read this, but someone once suggested that you schedule your upcoming week on Friday's. The reason being that if you start on Friday, you'll find tasks you can complete ahead of time, like trips to the post office, or photo sneak peeks.

They were absolutely right. So I've taken to spending every Friday out of the office (if I can). I spend the day at Barnes & Noble (where it's a lot harder to be distracted from these specific tasks), and I plan. I plan my schedule for the upcoming week, confirm appointments, etc. Once that's done, I review my asana tasks, move around due dates, complete tasks that can be done right away, and assign new due dates for open projects.

I round out the day with my social media calendar. Believe it or not, I do put a lot of forethought as to when blog posts are scheduled, what I plan to say on Facebook that week, and what instagram photos should be shared. I also use the quiet to get a lot of blog posts written. When I get home in the afternoon/evening, I put as much of it online as I can. More specifically:

 Ariana of Silver Feather Studios uses the quiet atmosphere of Barnes and Noble to plan out social media for the upcoming week. 
  • Type up any newly written blog posts and schedule them for the future.

  • Schedule a few Facebook posts to go out throughout the upcoming week.

  • Save potential tweets as drafts to filter out later.

  • Format and edit instagram photos so they're easily pulled and shared later.

All these things are done on Friday, and written down in a notebook I have set aside specifically for this. Every day, during my pre-scheduled social media break, all I have to do is glance at my social media calendar and filter out the necessary tweet/post/image/share/etc.

Bada bing. Done. 

There are lots of ways of doings lots of things. These really work for me, and if they help you too, that's awesome. If you have any tips that help YOU stay organized in your business, please share! I'm always re-analyzing my process to find ways to save even more time and get more done, so I'd love to hear how you do it!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have an awesome day!

Ariana Watts

Silver Feather Studios, Burlington, NC, 27217, United States