We all know that being organized can change your life for the better. For some people, this comes naturally and some people have to really think about being and staying organized. I fall into the category where it comes naturally to me. If you know anything about the enneagram I’m a 1w2. If you don’t know anything about the Enneagram but you watch Friends, Monica is a 1 – so that should clue you in a little. But that’s a topic for a whole other day.
When I purchased my first home in 2018 it became more apparent to myself, and the people around me, that I LOVE being organized and keeping things tidy and I can be pretty annoying about it. Now I’ll admit there are days where it’s not a priority and I get off my groove every now and then but soon enough it’ll drive me nuts. Everything has its place, where it belongs, and don’t you dare move it.
So if you can imagine where this is going – my business is as equally organized and tidy as my life and home are. I knew from the get-go, I wanted to do things in the right way, in the right order and have a full understanding of every aspect of my business. So I found some tools that have helped me over the years stay organized with all the daunting tasks.
**Disclaimer – I don’t want this post to be the end all be all of the tools. These are just what I use and have loved using for years. I encourage you to find out what works best for you because everyone is different! I recommend these 5 tools to keep your life and business organized:
2015 was when I really started to branch out from Sports Photography. I started shooting families, couples and seniors to figure out where I wanted to be. I started tracking down every session, the free ones, and the super cheap ones. Google Sheets was my best friend and has since evolved into my work husband. Lol. If you have a google email you can have google drive FOR FREE!
Google Drive has many incredible features and I learn something new almost every year. The basics include google sheets (excel), google docs (word docs), google slides (PowerPoint). I use these for my personal life and my business! Tracking finances, creating content, planning vacations or special events, creating wedding timelines, etc. I even use the google photos app to store and backup my photos from my iPhone!
When I signed up for the business email, when I became more serious, it opened up a whole slew of new applications to help me run my business. I can manage my google business storefront, run google ads, check out my website analytics and SO MUCH MORE. I’m married to Google Drive and he’s here for the long run folks and he’s super cheap!
The very first few weddings I booked, I did research on contracts and tried to find ways to easily track and file all the paperwork and emails so I found a CRM called Dubsado. I tested the waters of course, there are many CRM’s out there and I highly recommend trying them all to figure out how your brain works best and how the system can accommodate your needs. For me, Dubsado made the most sense and I’ve been using it for years now.
I have an entire blog about how I use Dubsado which you can read about here. I don’t use this tool for my personal life at all but it’s the top tool that I use for tracking client projects in my business! If you find out that you love Dubsado like I do and want to get a deal on their subscription prices you can use this specific link to get 20% off your subscription
Asana was something I found more recently, I had used Trello in the past, and if you’re more familiar with Trello, it’s very similar. The difference that I think makes Asana a little better is instead of only seeing your projects on a board or card you can also see them on a calendar and in a listview in addition to the board or card. There are so many more features that I loved and needed in Asana.
As of right now, my entire business plan, business blueprint (my why, workflows, resources, offerings, etc), content calendar, content strategies and my Amanda Hedgepeth Llifeflow list’s live in Asana. I get daily reminders of tasks that need to be completed, whether it’s rolling the trash out every Wednesday or write and schedule a blog post, my phone notifies when I need to do something.
Speaking of notifications, Asana as an app that has made it so much easier to see what I need to that day no matter where I am. Every morning I wake up with a list of things to do that day. If you’re sold on Asana – sign up here! It’s completely free!!! They have a paid plan but honestly, I’ve been on the free plan for years now and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
Another app that I use on my phone almost daily is Planoly. Planoly is an Instagram planning and scheduling app and they also have a desktop version that I use sometimes. If you like batching your Instagram content and planning out how your feed will look then you need to look into Planoly or another similar app (there are a few others). An extra feature that I love about Planoly specifically, that I’m not sure if other apps have, is you can also create story graphics from a template library and plan and schedule your stories too!
I also keep a list of regularly used hashtags in specific groups. For example, I’ll use a set of hashtags for wedding images/captions and then I’ll use a different set of hashtags for my home decor related posts. And I can easily go copy and paste the hashtags I want to use without ever leaving the app.
Start planning which images you want to use first. You can drag and drop the order until you like how they look. Then start writing captions for each one, grab your hashtags for that post and schedule the date and time you want to post. Once you post you can come back and see the analytics of how well that post did if that time was the best time or not. You’ll be able to see trends of what works best for engagement! I’m a big number nerd so that’s part of why I love Planoly so much!
Just search Planoly in your app store on your phone and it’ll look like this:
Everybody needs a planner and everyone has their way of using them. For me, I like the daily planners. Ones that allow me to create a priority list each day while also able to look at the month as a whole. I’ve honestly been going back and forth between brands to find the one I’m absolutely in love with. I haven’t found ones I LOVE but I have found some that I like.
I’ve used Erin Condren, Plum Paper, Target brands and I just ordered a Simplified Daily Planner! They all have their pros and cons and they’re going to appeal to some and not others. I use a planner for my personal and business tasks. To track events and appointments as well as to-do lists. So it’s best to understand how and why you’ll use a planner to determine what will work best for you. You might want a weekly view instead of a daily view, everyone is different.
Each day I look at Asana, Dubsado and my Google Calendar and write down everything I need to get done that day and I use that to mark things off. I love my systems and automatic workflows but sometimes I’m old school and love the satisfaction of checking things off a list.
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