July 8, 2010

Pancake Session: Time Management

Good morning!

Since the vast majority of you responded to the “Get it Together” Giveaway that the biggest area you need to work on in your business & life is time management, we decided to do a whole series of pancake sessions all about that. The management of time, that is.

This is something that we have definitely struggled with as well. And being the big ole perfectionists and workaholics that we are, we have been known to spend many a day getting up at the crack of dawn to go to work and staying there until we fall asleep. On our keyboards. And waking up with Qwerty embossed on our foreheads.

It wasn’t pretty.

So we started to realize that since we weren’t going to stop being perfectionists any time soon, lowering our very high standards for what we do wasn’t going to be an option for us to save time. So….we were just going to have to figure out ways to do it faster.

And believe me, I get it.

When you are in the busy season of your life, and you’re just trying to keep your head above water to keep gulping for air….the idea of putting all the things you need to get done on hold just so you can figure out a way to shave ten seconds off your workflow might just make your head feel like it’s going to explode. When we’re in those moments where the to-do list is crashing down on us, all we want to do is Get. It. Done. Manically, sleeplessly, world-wearied and frazzled. We just want to get it done. So we can move on to the next thing. But the irony of it is, it is exactly those moments when you are most over-worked and exhausted that it is imperative to stop and ask yourself: how can I do this better? Faster? Can it be done with me not there at all?

Because even if all you’re doing is shaving 10 seconds off that one thing….how many times a day do you do that one thing? 100? 1000? Multiply that times 10 seconds and suddenly you are getting big chunks of your day back. Big chunks of your life back. Big chunks that could be spent with that neglected husband, or those ever-patient kids, or even just yourself. Remember doing something just for yourself? Yea…me either. :)

And that starts to get us back into that balance we all want so bad…..which, funny enough, was your number TWO answer on the Get it Together Giveaway.

So for this post we’re going to give you an overview of some of our favorite time saving strategies, and then we’re doing to do a series of Pancake Sessions going more in depth on each one. Without further ado, our favorite time saving techniques!

1) Automate, automate, automate!
Sit down. Close your eyes. And take a really hard look at what a typical day looks like for you. Imagine yourself waking up, getting your coffee, and if you’re like most of us….going right to work. Now imagine yourself going through your work day. Look at all the things you do. See yourself checking email, going on Twitter & Facebook, reading blogs, and then finally getting to the stuff that needs to get done. Watch as you edit images, design albums, respond to inquiries, and blog. Now break each of those things down even further. To the micro level. And ask yourself: Do I really need to be the one doing this…or could it happen automatically?

Justin & I have reached a point in our business where seconds make a difference. I bet most of you have too if you start to think about how those seconds add up. So we continually ask ourselves that very same question. Do I really need to be the one doing this….or could it happen automatically? If the answer is that there is some way it could happen automatically…we set out to figure out a way. And we’re voracious about it. Because every second we save, is a second we get to spend having a life. Ahhh, doesn’t it feel good just to read that sentence? In the first of the series, we’ll break down some of our favorite things to automate. And our favorite things to do while the work is doing itself!

2) Habit & Routine Often one of the biggest time wasters of the day is just the time it takes to get started. And really, the only way around that is to become a person of habit & routine. Which I am SO not naturally….but I have trained myself to become one. Through habit & routine! :) This is all about going to bed at the same time, getting up at the same time, making time for quiet time, exercising, eating our banana & blueberry oatmeal, and getting right into accomplishing big item things. If you can do just that, you will feel such a sense of accomplishment and control over all the things you need to get done. We’ll have a (blueberry & banana) pancake session devoted just to creating good habits & routine.

3) Figure Out Where You Are & Where You Are Going How many hours a day do you waste just trying to get a handle on what should get done next? Having a clear way to track where you are in your workflow for each of your couples is absolutely necessary. We have our ways of doing this, but Millie has an absolutely fantastic method for keeping it all under control in the GITKIT. Definitely pick one up if you want to know more! :)

4) Know Where It’s At!! From your left shoe to your contracts to your lip gloss in your purse….how many hours a day do you spend searching for STUFF. If you ever have to look for something more than once, take the time to slow down and figure out a home for it. Then make sure it’s always there. For this session, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite organizational tips for the stuff in our business and our lives!

5) Don’t Get an “Eff” in Efficiency Are you uploading images during the day when you need the internet for other things? Are you making multiple trips out to run errands? Are the actions you use most spread all over the place in photoshop? In this Pancake Session we’ll have a ton of tips for getting an A++ in efficiency.

and finally…

Email, Schmemail The bane of my existence. The medusa of my mojo. In this Pancake Session we’ll talk about some tips we’ve picked up along the way for keeping the inbox under control. Millie also has some phenomenal material on this in the GITKIT and I won’t be giving any of that away, so be sure to check it out if you’re buried in a pile of email so big it would take a St. Bernard to dig you out!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for….the WINNER of the Get It Together Giveaway is…..

…….drumroll please………..

Stacy Able!!!! For her entry, ” My time accounting and time management– too much time spent on facebook and twitter trying to keep up wastes the time I should be shooting, editing, and loving my family.” So true Stacy, so true!! Just shoot us an email at justin@justinmarantz with your addy and we’ll send the GITKIT right out to you!

Once again a HUGE thanks to the lovable and business savvy Millie Holloman for being our guest this week and for donating the GITKIT giveaway. For all of you that entered, Millie has also been super generous in giving us a code to share with you for free shipping on your very own GITKIT. I think it’s one of the best investments you could make! Just enter “justinmary” at checkout and you’ll be all set!

Thanks Millie!!

Getting it Togetherly Yours

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