Welcome to our ASK THE PROS series! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite professional photographers and asked them all a handful of questions. Every Wednesday for the next few months we’ll be featuring a new question, answered by various pro photographers. Be sure to check back each week for the new question and answers! And be sure to join us on Instagram or in our exclusive Facebook community to join the discussion and answer the weekly question yourself too!
Q: How do you stay productive and focused?
We use an app called TeuxDeux. Each day we order our tasks in terms of priority so the most important items get done first (we each have our own accounts). At the bottom of the app, there are extra spaces to add more lists. That’s where we add our “dream” tasks – non-urgent things that we want to get done. On days when we finish early or our tasks are lighter, we pull one of those dream tasks up to the current day.
We actually wrote an entire article about how we use TeuxDeux: https://daveyandkrista.com/direction-productivity-tool-teuxdeux/
My wife and I set office hours and also take two full days off a week.
I use a combination of Asana and HoneyBook for my daily task management and this controls pretty much everything I do in my business. HoneyBook is any client facing tasks and Asana is any internal tasks. Each week I do a braindump for everything internally that needs to get done, and then I assign due dates, create tasks and subtasks for all of them. In HoneyBook, the workflows I’ve created are fleshed out dynamically based on project date, so when I go to the task management section of HoneyBook, I’m able to complete all the tasks for different projects at any given time (without wondering where I’m at with a project, because HoneyBook literally gives me the list of things to do.)
LISTS, LISTS, LISTS!!! If I don’t start my day with a list of tasks that need to be accomplished, I never stayed focused and get easily distracted. If my list is long, I number my tasks in order of importance, and then will sometimes rewrite that list with the most important at the very top, and least important at the bottom.
I set a timer on my iPhone, in increments of 2 hours. During that 2 hours, I focus on the first couple of items on my to-do list. I don’t open emails, look at Facebook or scroll through Instagram. Those are my biggest productivity killers!! My timer really motivates me!! I can get a lot accomplished in these small blocks of focused time!
I block out days on my calendar that are work only days. I make a huge pot of coffee and work from when the kids are off to school till when I have to pick up. I turn on my music to something calm and get it done!
The key to staying productive and focused for us is to create to-do lists (we are pretty obsessed with them), shut out all distractions including social media and even the television, and set aside a certain time to accomplish a task. It’s so easy to get distracted with everything around us (because let’s face it, what creative business owner doesn’t have some sort of mild ADD?) but we’ve found that lists, shutting out social media, and setting time limits, really helps us stay productive and on-task throughout the day.