Three tools that help me stay focused on photography

Although I use many different tools in a day, there are a few that I have found essential to my business. Curiously, they have little to do with photography. Yet having them in my life allows me to be more productive and stay focused on what matters most to me: photography.

When we think of photography tools, we tend to think of equipment and software, right? Of course, editing equipment and software are essential tools for any photography business, but running a business is about much more than that. Having a good system in place, keeping up to date with new technologies, and maintaining a good work-life balance are some of the things that come to mind. Here are three of my favorite tools that help me stay productive.

Trello for organization

I realize Trello has been around for a while, but I’m pretty new to the platform. It’s an amazing, free tool that I use to organize my work and personal life. Before using Trello, I relied mostly on spreadsheets, which was driving me crazy. While I had tried other paid platforms similar to Trello, none crashed.

I met another business owner who introduced me to Trello, and I immediately knew he was the right person. At its core, Trello is a highly visual project management system made up of boards (similar to Pinterest), and each board is made up of lists. Cards reside in each list and can host multiple attachments, images, comments, checklists, and more.

I found the calendar power-up to be super powerful. Users can sync individual boards to their calendar via a link. Any items you’ve added due dates to are automatically synced to your calendar.

I’ve created boards for my photography, writing, marketing, travel, workshops, and even organizing my hard drive. In most boards, I keep a list of “action items”. In this list, I create colored labels and rank them from highest priority (red) to lowest priority (yellow). I also created “Pending” and “Done” lists. At the end of the week, I can see exactly what I’ve accomplished and reflect on it, which I think is important.

Although I still have a few spreadsheets, it was quite liberating to throw the rest in the trash. Be warned, getting everything into Trello and getting it right for you will take some trial and error. It can be frustrating. However, once you sort it all out, you’ll be amazed at how powerful it is.

Motivational Podcasts

A good majority of photographers spend a lot of time working alone. Listening to podcasts helps keep me motivated, but it also provides invaluable tips and links to resources that I may not have found on my own.

A podcast that I really like is Onward Creatives. It’s not necessarily aimed at photographers, but rather at freelance creatives in general. As I’m both a photographer and a writer, I found it super useful. But this is just one example. There are so many great podcasts out there.

Instead of hopping on social media, I try to listen to a podcast while waiting for a meeting or a trip. It’s also a great addition to tasks that don’t require a lot of attention, like organizing your desktop or editing images.

Head space for balance

While Trello has definitely helped me stay organized and a little less stressed, meditation is something that really helps me stay balanced. I have a few meditation apps, as well as YouTube videos that I like to turn to when I feel out of balance. However, there is something about the Headspace app that keeps me coming back. Taking 15 minutes out of my day to meditate is like taking a midday nap. It recharges my batteries and helps keep most stress at bay.

At a time when photographers have to wear so many different hats, it’s so important to stay organized, motivated and balanced. Hope this helped in some way. I would like to know what tools you use to keep control of these things in your day-to-day business.

About Debra D. Johnson

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