Keeping Track of Your Life with Google Calendar
You might think I’m CRAZY for this but I probably check my Google Calendar more than ANY other platform on a daily, monthly & weekly basis! I will plan things out months in advance and watch it like a HAWK. Things are color coded & you might think it’s overkill but it helps me easily keep track of what I have going both for my business and in my personal life all in one place that I can check both on my phone and on my desktop. As much as I love putting pen to paper, I also love the flexibility to move things around easily on Google Calendar to keep up with an ever-changing schedule! Here’s a quick peak into how I organize my life using Google Calendar and I hope that there’s something in here that’ll help you keep track of your busy life as well!
My number one tip is to schedule your day out AHEAD of time! Give every 1 hour block a PURPOSE so that you never are wasting time if you don’t know what you should be doing. This sets you up for a super focused & intentional week and helps you make progress on monthly & yearly goals each and every day!
I have different colors for different things that I put up on there! Here’s the system that I use that helps me easily keep track of what a month, week & day looks like for me! Obviously different people will use different colors but I’ve noticed that not having everything in the SAME color avoids overwhelming me and helps me figure out when I have a FULL calendar for a month!
Red – Appointments, bills due & monthly duty days!
These are important things that I need to make sure I take care of ON that day and stick out no matter how crazy my calendar gets! My bills are repeated on a monthly basis, but I always mark the single event for my bill reminders as “Grey” once I’ve paid them so I can easily keep track! For anyone wondering, a monthly duty day is just a day of each month that I set aside to take care of repetitive but important tasks that I can’t get behind on! This includes things like filing away receipts, paying sales tax, clearing out my closet & bathroom of old things (and donating as necessary), backing up personal photos, etc! Katelyn James and Ashlyn Carter have both written great articles on this and how you can use them for your business!
Purple – Photography Shoots & Client Meetings
My Google Calendar is integrated with Honeybook so it automatically pulls in any shoots on the date that the project date is assigned which is super helpful! Automation for the win! I make sure to include the address, the timeline & any other notes on the calendar event for easy access since Google Calendar tends to load more quickly on mobile phones than Honeybook does! Quick tip is to make sure you have an “all day event” for these so you can easily tell when glancing at your calendar when you have a shoot / wedding that day! I always set a reminder for a day before the event as well to make sure I’ve prepped my gear & gone through the questionnaire and am ready for the day.
Light Blue – Blog Posts
This isn’t pictured above, but I use light blue to signal any business tasks that I need to remember on certain days so I don’t forget! Most of my workflow is automated through HoneyBook which is great for managing client relationships & keep track of what tasks you need to do for each client. However, if I have a task not associated with a certain client, I’ll make a quick note on my Google Calendar. For example, I had a day where I prepped all my client gifts for 2019 and this was put on my calendar under an all day light blue event.Also, for anyone trying to get into a regular blogging schedule, I highly recommend putting your blog posts on the days you will be blogging them!! Having it on your calendar helps keep you accountable for blogging consistently plus it makes it easy to move things around as necessary! For photographers, use your off-season wisely and schedule out your content AHEAD of time so that you have it set to go when you hit your busy season. I even spent some time drafting out posts that I can just schedule out during really crazy months. I’ve recently switched over to including my blog posts in my Monthly Marketing Map (thank you Megan Martin!!) instead recently to avoid calendar overwhelm and keep track of all my content & social marketing in one place!
Dark Blue – Editing / Home Days!
As I schedule shoots, I’ve started blocking off editing days following those shoots on Google Calendar so that I give myself enough time to edit things and turn around images efficiently! This is SUPER important nowadays especially as the rate with which image sharing is growing! As a wedding photographer, you want people to SHARE your images and people are most excited about events in the 48 hours after! I always give myself at least 2 weeks to edit photos (because LIFE happens sometimes!) but I try to turn around images within the week whenever possible!This quick turnaround can’t happen unless I give myself editing days to be able to crank out edits without having to run out of the house for errands or meetings! And there’s ALWAYS another meeting or errand to run and so those “home” days quickly get squandered unless you plan for them and STICK to them when you put them on your Google Calendar! Even if you’re currently working a full-time job that you have to commute to and running a business on the side, you can still mark off home evenings and away evenings!
Pink – Fun Things – Hanging Out, Birthdays, Vacations!
All the fun things are in pink! I always make sure to schedule these out so that they ACTUALLY happen and give me something to look forward to during each week! Also, something I picked up from Abby Grace is that I always make sure I have at least one weekend every month to month and a half blocked off for FUN! This might sound weird but if you’re a wedding professional and you’re not careful, you’ll look up and find that you’ve worked TWELVE weekends in a row without realizing it and are super burned out because of it! That isn’t good for ANYONE! I block these off months ahead of the time and try to stick to them as much as possible! Sometimes I’ll move them around but I try to have at least once every 4-6 or so weeks!
This is definitely a continual struggle to watch my calendar & stick to my home / away and free days, but staying super intentional with your calendar is SO key to building a thriving business while balancing it with living a content & fulfilling life!
More Great Business Tips – The MP Education Series
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