believe that efficiency happens in the little things. Please know that I will NEVER claim to be 100% efficient in everything I do. There are somethings that just distract me and totally derail my productivity on a daily basis and I’m trying my BEST to get better at avoiding them. One of those things comes in the form of a fluffy, apricot colored fur-ball. The other distractions are normally online… facebook, pinterest, twitter. Social media can be SO good for a business and yet so bad at the same time. Over the course of the last 4 years, I’ve realized a few things about my office productivity
and I’d love to share a few tips with you in regards to getting email DONE… and I mean REALLY done… like, a totally clean inbox that is organized and up to date. Please know that having a totally clean inbox only happens once in a blue moon for me. This isn’t a daily occurrence. This is what I try to remember when I’m overwhelmed with my inbox: “Having too many emails shows that your business is active and growing… is it a pain? Yes, but try to consider your emails as “growing” pains. It’s just part of the job that has to be done in order to move forward.” I need to frame that and put it beside my desktop on days when the emails are coming in quicker than I can return them. It’s hard to stay on top of these things but I have come up with a few little systems that seem to work.
1. Set aside a chunk of time for emails in the AM and PM and then don’t mess with your inbox throughout the day. If you leave Gmail up in the background, you’ll constantly see emails coming in and you’ll get derailed every time you see this: “Inbox (3)”. Am I right or am I right? :)
2. Respond to client emails FIRST. They get priority. They are the ones you’re serving and they should come first. When I get a client email, I immediately label them as either:
CLIENTS : Wedding Inquiry
CLIENTS: Wedding BOOKED
CLIENTS: I’m Booked
CLIENTS: Too Expensive
This is super helpful when they return my email because I can see their labels and I know which emails I need to respond to first. After I respond, I click “Archive” and it stores the email in its’ proper folder. (Ps. I keep all emails, even for clients that don’t book)
3. Time Limits: Set time limits. If you’re responding to an email from another photographer and it’s taking you an hour to answer 5 questions, that’s not the best use of your time. You’re actually losing money… uh-oh. It’s a GREAT thing to help out… but you have to be smart about it too. Blogging about FAQ’s is the FASTEST way to speed up those emails. When someone emails me about preparing images for their blogs, I send them the BLOGSTOMP post I did last year and that email is taken care of in 30 seconds. Think about it… if you have 30 emails in your inbox that need your attention and you spend just 3 minutes per email, it’s going to take you an hour and a half to get that done. Yikes! You could write a blog post or two in that time frame! I have a two minute rule. No email should take over two minutes…. and this next tip can help do stick to that rule…
4. Use templates. I’m not saying that you don’t need to be personal… you definitely do!! But if 3 brides email you this week and ask about what their timeline should look like, you shouldn’t be writing that timeline out every time. Start creating templates for the emails you’re sending on a regular basis.
5. Categorize! I have a category for EVERYTHING! Actually, I have categories and then sub categories. Here are some examples:
PERSONAL < New House, Taxes, Church, Friends, Purchases
CLIENTS < Wedding Inquiries, Weddings Booked, Weddings I’m Booked, Weddings Too Expensive, Albums, Kind Words
BUSINESS < Services, Purchases, ShootQ, Showit, Speaking
6. “Star” the emails that take extra attention or are time sensitive. In Gmail, you can star the important messages. So if I have an email from a client that requires me to do something outside of the inbox, I star it so that I can get it down quickly. For example, if a client says their plus site has a broken link, I’ll star that when it comes to my iPhone so that I can fix it as soon as I get on Gmail at my desktop.
7. Reply by DATE. When I start returning emails, I start at the bottom of my inbox so that those that have waited the longest get responded to first! In Gmail, I can see the dates very easily and most of the time, those dates serve as my markers for how much I can get done in the morning and the evening. So if it’s Feb 21st, I’ll make sure I repsond to all of the Feb 19th and some of the Feb 20th emails in the morning. The rest will wait until the evening.
8. Make your inbox CUTE. It really does help to have an inbox that is well branded… but maybe that’s just me because I’m obsessed with that stuff!
I’m so excited to share this final 2020 Wedding with you all!! It’s a special one! We photographed this beautiful wedding day on our own 10 year anniversary! Ten years ago on this day, we were celebrating in my parent’s backyard under a massive white tent too! This was my brother-in-law’s baby sister’s wedding day and celebrating with the Malizia family was such a treat! They are a family MADE for weddings!
Well, I realize this isn’t normal for KJ! I don’t shoot portraits these days but this session was my first non-wedding shoot with my new Canon R6 and I’m obsessed with how these images turned out! It was the most perfect evening for this early fall shoot and the light was incredible!
I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!
When we first decide if we’re a good fit with our potential KJ Couples, we’re looking for a few things…. one of those things is that this couple keeps joyful! We’ve found over the years that couples what take themselves super seriously aren’t always the best fit for us! We love it when couples let their guard down and allow us to get to know them during their engagement session.
For some photographers, bridal details seem like a fun part of the wedding day… but for many others, it’s stressful. It’s the part of the day that throws them off, makes them wonder if they’re actually artistic and leaves them feeling flustered and panicked because they never get everything done in the time they have allotted for detail shooting. In my opinion, this is a REALLY tough way to start a wedding day.
Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.