Highlight of the week: This week was super-low key. In fact, it was hard to write this post because I had so little content to work with. BUT that was actually the highlight for me. Life has been SO high paced for the past few months, and I feel like I've been putting out one fire after another recently, so I relished the monotony. It felt like a really good deep breath.
Yes, I did this:
1 -- Spent the majority of the weekend systematizing and updating Align's manual. Haha! My life is SO glam.
2 -- Teared up while watching The Office finale. Goodbye dear friends! Thank you for the laughs!!
I'm so sad for the people of Oklahoma! How hard! Someone passed along a link to this video on my FB page though, and if you are a dog lover at all, or you just need a little dose of hope today, it's a must watch!
Celebrating: My friends Amy & Jordan finished up the year teaching 4th & 5th grade, and yesterday was their last day of teaching EVER! They are going full-time with photography which is always a little scary. But I was the one to tell them to go for it, so hopefully it works out -- haha! -- no pressure! No, actually, I have total confidence in them. Last night we celebrated with dinner out. SO excited for them!!
Dixie-dog is feeling much better -- thank you all for the well-wishes. We're heading to the vet today for a check-up because her toe is still a bit swollen, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all anymore. And of course she's as cute as ever.
Feeling Blessed: Came upon this quote by Dallas Willard and found it tremendously comforting: "A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus." Thank goodness!
This is a partial screen-shot of my inbox. Eek! I'm going to be talking about email organization today, and I wish wish wish I could show you a clean inbox. Unfortunately, although I do aspire to this ideal, I rarely reach it. BUT! Hopefully you won't mind me sharing with you a few tips I've found helpful, despite my short-comings.
Today I'm continuing my series for photographers in which I share tips for organizing and systematizing your workflow. And when I say "workflow," I don't mean it in the narrow sense of post-processing. I mean the entire customer experience and set-up of our businesses. If you're just joining us, click below to get caught up on the series so far!
If you're in business and your inbox is a mess, chances are your business is a mess too. In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the importance of systematizing. It's SO important to have a system for everything workflow-related in your business, and nowhere more-so than when it comes to your inbox. SO much of our communication these days is through email, and being able to filter and organize your emails in a way that facilitates easy access to past conversations and content contained within them, is crucial to business efficiency. Clearly, I have a ways to go myself when it comes to inbox organization, but I wanted to share a few tips that have worked for me:
1 - If you're working from multiple computers using a desktop application like Mac Mail for your emails, set up your email accounts as IMAP accounts. This will allow your inboxes to sync across multiple computers.
2 - Create a folder structure in which to store and organize past emails for reference later. We create a folder for each wedding client (a step on our wedding workflow checklist) and store all emails relating to that wedding in that one folder. This helps immensely when we need to look back at a past conversation between us and the client or us and the wedding planner. We also utilize a sub-folder structure where client folders are organized by year and then photographer (in relation to our associate program). Other folders that are helpful are: potential clients (emails from leads who have not yet booked), photographers, coordinators/vendors, and "order info" (a place to store receipts and shipping info for anything purchased online). But the sky is the limit! Create a folder for anything and everything -- we have a folder for each MJ2Day workshop, for publications, and for anything accounting/tax related.
3 - Store this email folder structure somewhere online. We use iCloud. So anytime an email is dropped into one of our email folders, it is stored in a cloud online and is safe, even if our computers were to crash.
4 - Hire an IT guy to help you set this all up if your head is spinning right now -- haha! Technology stuff is not my strength, so I occasionally bring in an IT expert and pay him hourly to trouble-shoot issues or set-up something complex. WELL WORTH IT.
5 - Flag emails that contain information that you know you will want to access later. That way you can get the email out of your inbox but still easily search for it within one of your organizational folders at a later time.
6 - If you're working within a team, you can easily transfer emails that need the attention of another team member into their email inbox just by dragging and dropping. Sara and I do this often, and it gives me great joy when I can move emails from my inbox into hers -- haha!
7 - Make it your goal to keep your inbox clean at the end of each day. I know -- Do what I say, not what I do, right?? But I DO aspire to this goal even though I don't always reach it. Emails can so quickly build up and get out of hand, so if you let your inbox grow over the days and weeks, it will quickly become a debilitating obstacle to your productivity. Taking care of emails is really just a series of decisions. So in order to get through them and stay on top of things, you have to buckle down, put on your big-boy pants, and make some decisions. If some of your emails require you to complete a task, and the task takes less than 10 minutes -- DO IT NOW. If the task will take longer, and you can't get to it today, make sure it is written on your to-do list so it doesn't fall through the cracks.
My home office is featured today over on iheartfaces.com. In the post I'm interviewed about the space, how we use it, and the choices I made when renovating and setting it up! Go check it out to see more!
One of my super-talented associate photographers, Mary, recently shot a wedding that I adore and I just have to share some of my favorite photos with you. Jordan and Michelle were married at The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and I love how Mary captured their day!
Here are some of my faves:
Fabulous job Mary!
To find out more about our associate program and see more of Mary, Rachel, Michelle and Tina's work, click here. If you are interested in hiring one of them for your upcoming wedding, please fill out our contact form!
Highlight of the week: Sweet friends spontaneously stopping by one evening and then peer pressuring me into getting Five Guys for dinner and Bosa donuts for dessert. They basically had to roll me back into my house at night's end. But ya, it was fun.
Yes, I did this:
1 -- Spent Mother's Day morning at the emergency vet. The paw that I thought had healed, turned up hugely swollen that morning to the point where poor Dixie couldn't even walk. It was heartbreaking.
2 -- Set alarms on my iPhone so I could slip my dog medication four times daily. This week she was on two antibiotics and pain meds. I had to get creative with my methods and disguise them in treats, and at this point she's turning her nose up at peanut butter, so it's a challenge. At one point I thought I had fed her an antibiotic successfully, only to find it two hours later in her whiskers. It reminded me of the days when I used to spit my Flintstones vitamins into the toilet without my parents knowing it.
Celebrating: My poor mom has a birthday that falls on or very close to Mother's Day every year. So we celebrated both this past weekend. We try to do it up right, though, so as not to gip her. Birthday dinner, Mother's Day lunch, shopping and pedicures were all part of the festivities. As you can see, I decided to go the florescent orange route. I felt like I was embracing summer in the choice.
I went to a movie in a theater for the first time this year. Great Gatsby. It was really well done. I loved the cinematography. But what a depressing story. I hadn't read it since high school, so I'd forgotten. But yikes!
Feeling Blessed: It was a bit of a rough week -- and not just Dixie-wise. I felt like everywhere I turned I was putting out another fire. BUT, God is good and he carried me through. My favorite thing was watching Dixie run around the backyard last night like a rabbit until her ace bandage (which I had apparently poorly wrapped) fell off. My sweet dog, who couldn't walk just 5 days earlier, was sprinting. And I knew everything was going to be all right.