Motherhood shows you what your true priorities are. You become reliant on naptime to get everything done, and since the duration is always unknown, you have to make your list of need-to-get-done tasks and hope you get as many done as possible.
It can quickly get overwhelmind if you haven’t planned things out, because you get frazzled trying to decide which things to get done, and end up spending the entire nap planning what you were going to do. Oops! So I figured I would share some insight with you fellow boss mamas on how to stay organized within the chaos.
The things on my naptime list are always mentally calculated based on how important it is that baby not be present. For example, I always start with calling back inquiries (I run a full-service portrait studio) when it is quiet to make sure that a waking baby doesn’t interrupt the consultation call, but will often wait until later to send the resulting proposals, contracts, or emails. BUT there are days where I put that off until the second nap of the day (fingers crossed it actually happens!) because sometimes mama needs a nap too! Especially after those super early mornings…right after I pump, of course, because that absolutely cannot be put off or baby will starve at daycare (just-enough-er here!).
Some days I have good intentions of doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen, but unless I ended up with two LONG naps on a day that I felt well-rested and baby was happy with independent play and no business work to be done, that’s all they ever are…intentions. Thankfully my husband picks up the slack on most of the must-complete household duties when he is home so that I don’t have to feel any added mom-guilt, and I am forever grateful.
As for the official task list, I typically make it once baby has gone to bed for the night so that I am ready to go once I wake up, so that on the odd chance I wake up before baby and want to get to work , I know exactly what to tackle first. I have three to-do list going at all times: must-happen-within-24-hours, must-be-done-within-the-week, and must-be-completed-this-quarter. The rest are would-like-to-do-this things and they go into the brain-dump as a someday plan, so that if I ever finish everything on my three lists (ha ha!), those are the wishful things with which I fill my time. On any given day’s task list I include two from the first list, two from the second, and one from the third. I try my best to put tasks that overlap in platform or timeline so that they can be more easily completed together. For example, if I need to retouch a client session’s images for their print order, it makes much sense to actually place the print order as well, and prepare the web optimized images for the blog post. The actual uploading to the website only happens if I have remaining time, however, I absolutely write up and publish the blog post at a later date. I don’t often batch task because of the custom nature of my services, but uploading absolutely is! Typically, I will draft and set them all to publish over the course of one post weekly until they’ve all been scheduled, which gives me several weeks to build up the next batch of posts.
Let’s face it, there are ALWAYS going to be tasks that fall off the list and end up rolling over into the next day and the next and the next day after that. I always prioritze those THREE must-complete tasks so that if nothing else gets done, at least they made the cut. They are often to meet specific deadlines like a lab sale, a promised turnaround time, or preparing for an upcoming session.
My Top 7 Productivity Tools
As much as I love my colour-coordinated pens & post-it notes, I do use a few tools to help me along the way. These are my favourites, in alphabetical order, and I would love for you to give them a try. Most have a free-forever version and a discounted upgrade if you use my referral links, so do give them a try if you are looking to improve your work-from-home habits, and let me know what you think!
- Acuity: This is how I manage my scheduling within all of my calendars (personal, family, blogging, business) so that if a new appointment is added, my ‘actual’ availability is updated. I have it set up that clients can choose from specific availability for phone consultations, a different availability for photoshoots, and I add my own items into my google calendar. I absolutely LOVE that they all sync up and are colour coded! And yes, there is a free-forever version!
- Asana: This is my to-do list workhorse. Everything that I need to get done is in this thing. And I truly mean everything; from business to blogging to personal. I keep track of my clients and their workflow, my blogging schedule (for all three websites!), my honey-do list, my branding partnerships, my ideas brain dump (makes these easier to drag&drop into actual to-do-lists!), and even my bill schedules. Like I said, EVERYTHING!
- Canva: Even the professional artist needs a quick and efficient way to market without compromising on quality. I love the simplicity of the drag-and-drop designs, the ability to completely customize the included graphics (or upgrade to more), and that I can save one page at a time (great for when using as templates, like for testimonials!).
- Later: This is my favourite platform for drafting and grid planning my social media. I have been using it for years now and love all of the features (especially the complimentary link-in-bio option). Planoly and Unum (able to ‘swap’ images rather than drag&drop) are also valid options.
- Lightroom: As much as I prefer to edit my images on my desktop, as a mom blogger more than half of my images are captured with my cellphone which makes them much more easily edited on the same device. I have created custom presets for my social media, and this app allows for me to apply it to and customize every detail of every single image I plan on publishing. I also own the desktop version, which means I can also apply the same presets/filters to my professionally captured images for my blog and upload them directly to my planning platform.
- Pixieset: When working with brands for product photography or marketing partnerships, getting images to the right people can be a challenge. This way, I can send a link to my contact and they can share it with all of the necessary decision-makers for choosing their favourites and which images to purchase.
- Siri / Alexa: Don’t underestimate the power of a virtual assistant; even the simplest and free ones like Siri or Alexa. Whenever I am literally too busy to write down or type up my task, I tell my device to remind me at a time where I should be in the relevant room or at my computer to update my records. Thankfully my phone syncs with Asana so I will often ask Siri to add it to my brain dump list (which I sort daily before going to bed). Dictating a blog post on-the-go also helps for when I’ve literally got my hands full, and all I need to do later is fix any typos or misheard words. ps: If that’s not your thing, websites like Rev can transcribe your voice recording à-la-cheap!
I am certain that I could go on forever with all of my favourite business tools, but these are really the must-haves for me to keep my business moving forward efficiently. Happy to chat shop with you if you’ve got any additional suggestions!
Cheers!Yes, there are affiliate links in the post, which means that at no additional cost to you, I am gifted a small-but-well-appreciated commission on anything you should decide to purchase. I pride myself that they are only to things I would have linked to anyway, and almost always to things I already own/use. Thank you for any support you can offer, even if it is simply sharing the post with others.