Staying ahead of the workload

I get asked a lot how I can stay ahead of the huge workload that we get at certain times of the year? Believe me it is easy to fall behind so for the next few days I will be giving out some tips on staying caught up.

Tip 1 – Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today!

If you have something that needs to be done – DO IT NOW!!! When I get a job in to print or I have to edit photos from a shoot I try to get to it immediately. Not putting it off for another day can be a challenge but it is worth it. Then the workload does not keep building!

Putting it off will not do any good, the work will not get easier. What will more than likely happen is you will get more work and find yourself getting further behind. Then you will feel like you are never going to get out from the pile of work and want to give up.

Work on things as they come up and not only will your clients love it but you will feel better!

Tip 2 – Stay organized

Many times I will see a photographer looking for an image. They have to go through a file with 5000 plus images on it from 20 different shoots. Or a business person looking for some information. They have piles and piles of garbage to sort before they can find the one paper they need.

Stay organized; Try and reduce your workload now. File your images as you take them. Make back-ups. Label your digital files. Toss out old paperwork, File important things.

There is a organization program that says “Handle each paper, task, assignment as little as possible”. That means if you get a piece of mail that you are never going to read toss it out NOW. Don’t save it for a month or two moving it from place to place. Don’t keep files on your camera card for a year so you need to go through thousands of images each time you need to find one image. File them in folders on your computer that allow you to find them easily.

Tip 3 – Simplify

You really do not need to correct 400 images from a trip to Waterton if you only want a couple. If you have more work waiting to be done do that. Are you making more of a workload on yourself? Likewise adding your signature to 50 images when you are only going to post 3 is a waste of time. Simplify your workload as much as you can.

Tip 4 – Figure out & write out your digital workflow

My work flow is: Come back from a shoot. Transfer files to the correct folder. Rename files. Copy all files to a sub folder called “Work”. Delete bad files, if possible batch correct color and density. Do individual edits as required, run a program to add water mark, copyright & resize for the web. Back-up files to second external drive, reformat camera card.

If you can get a workflow that works it really saves you time. Helps to cut down on mistakes and will keep you on top of your work.

Tip 5 – Use your downtime

This is one that I use well lots of the time, but I will also drop the ball and waste without realizing it. You really do not need to watch TV shows or movies especially when you are busy. I have gone home when I was backed up and spend the night editing images to get caught up for the next day. Or late at night when the rest of the family has gone to bed I will take an hour or two, turn on some music and do some editing or organizing to get a few extra things done. If you don’t have time during the day use the other times that you have.

If you need to do something that is going to take a lot of time like transferring digital files start that at night when you do not need your computer and let it run all night.

Tip 6 – Ask for help or hire help

Many times when we get behind it is just too much to get caught up by ourselves. So ask someone for help – a spouse, partner, child, parent or a friend. It may cost you a drink, meal or a movie but it sure can help to get you out of the hole you are in.

If you are running a business and you find yourself falling behind it may be the time to hire someone. It may be costly but it can be a way to get out and stay out!

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