Developing A Workflow For Laser Sharp Focus
What do you wanna feel like when you start your day at work? Give me a few things, what do you want to, like ideal world, you get in, you sit down, you've got a whole bunch of things to do to make your business freaking amazing, what do you wanna feel like right there at that moment? And be, don't hold back, don't sugarcoat it, like, I would love to feel this, what is it?
Clear headed, focused.
Inspired, clear headed, focused.
Everything under control.
Everything's under control, yep.
Focus too it's a big one.
Clear, you're not fuzzy.
I need to know --
My main deal is okay now what's gonna happen.
Yeah, what I ought to do.
Like having something to--
Yeah, so you wanna know what you have to do you wanna be really clear and focused when you do it. You wanna be excited and...
energetic, you wanna bring it, that's what you want to feel like. How does that compare with how you usually feel when you sit down to a big list of things? Do it again, scrap the fire, you have to go really really fast. How do you usually feel when you sit down to a whole bunch of things, because you don't have a system in place? That can adjust things for you, what?
Overwhelmed. Gotta go fast.
I wanna procrastinate.
Procrastinate. You feel like procrastinating.
Overwhelmed, overwhelmed, bored, procrastinating.
I kinda just shut down.
Shut down, numb, too much.
Surrounded by a swarm of bees in my head. (laughing) that's what it feels like, I'll use scattered.
It gets violent in there.
Accepting I just give in, fine.
I didn't really understand the question I think it's the language barrier.
The question is what do you currently actually feel like you know what you wanna feel, you wanna feel like you know what's next, it's under control but how do you currently feel when you sit down to a big pile of stuff.
Oh yeah I'm having a hard time finding where to start.
Yeah, you don't know what the starting point is. How do you do the race if you don't even know where to line up at the start line? You can't finish, I don't even know how to start, yeah.
Yeah, how do you prioritize. Did you look at my presentation?
No, what do you wanna feel like, so that is so achievable, you can achieve this feeling that you want to have that will push you and motivate you to get through the list of stuff that you do have to do, so that you can achieve the life you wanna have, by having the business that is he most compelling thing for you, the thing you wanna do most with your work. You wanna love your work. But you kinda have to back up here and get through the things you have to get through to get there. So what do you wanna most feel like? You need time to be productive, and you need time to be creative yes? Let's make you some time. I can't actually make you time, that's a shocker. I can't actually, you know, transcend time and go to the world clock people and say, give him more, I can't do that. But I can tell you that you are gonna be at work for one hour, let's say. And you can get so much done in that one hour, more than most people are getting done in the entire week or you can get freaking nothing done. But either way, your mind is telling you, I've worked for an hour. Your mind is already saying, uh, I've already been working for an hour, I've already worked eight hours, I've worked for three days, and I've got nothing done. It's cause you've got nothing done, but your mind is telling you that you have been working really hard and maybe you're not good at this 'cause you're not getting it done. Or you work for three solid days, you produce everything in the world and you're like damn I'm so on it, and it feels good. (exhaling) A simple clutter free, paperless or cloud base system how do you free up your valuable brain space? 'cause it is so valuable. How do you identify where everything belongs, by the way, it's so much easier to identify where everything belongs when it's in a virtual space. Back everything up everywhere, you know, be smart about it, but if I click Open one of my applications that stores everything I have and I just click a notebook it's all there. If I have to go riffle through paperwork and figure out if I put it in the attic or if I left it in the basement, I don't know where anything is. Access anything, anywhere at any time. Everything I'm using, I want it to be cloud based. I want to be able to access it whether I'm in the middle of a field about to do a shoot, I'm in my studio sitting at my desk or I'm at home and it's 10 o'clock and I totally forgot I had to get something out. I wanna access it. And I had the luxury of having software and applications that are available to me right now and very often available to me for free. Oh my goodness, that's amazing. I have software that can hold all the things I want in my brain, out of my brain, I can access it from anywhere and by the system I use, it's also mostly free. How are we not all freaking out about that? That's amazing. I remember standing in line at the grocery store like a year ago, pulling out my phone, just scrolling through things, and I'm like, I'm kind of bored for a second, let me go everywhere in the world and find out all the information that's in the world, 'cause I have it right here. We're just so used to it. But if you step back and think about it, there's so much possibility for us. And you wanna identify a system and then freaking follow it. Didn't matter what you identify if you don't do it. You have to follow the system. And you're basically with this system, helping you to help you. Jerry Macguire isn't it, I just heard that. Help me help you. Help you help you. That's all this is. You're helping you get what you want. This is my system, it's a very successful system for me, we're gonna go point by point through this, but let me give you an overview of the steps I take, seven steps I take everyday, that really kick up my productivity. And just to remind you, I run multiple businesses, like I said, not just Beautiful Together, not just Tamara Lackey, not just Cocoa Bean Coffee Shop, but I have verticals I manage within those businesses that are separate. Cocoa Bean has an events line, we have a catering line, we obviously have the regular shop thing. Tamara Lackey photography I have my actual client work but I also have education. That's a whole different vertical to manage. We have lush albums. We have our album lines that supports Beautiful Together. That's another vertical to manage. I have, what is my, Beautiful Together. I not only have to run the projects we fundraise for I have to actually do the whole fundraising effort to be able to support those projects. So I don't just have three businesses, I have like 12 lines of things I have to manage, and I cannot do it without a clean, straight forward, repeatable system, I cannot. I've tried, didn't work. So this is my system. First and foremost, I do a review the night before of what's happening next. And again I'm gonna go line by line, through these so you know what they mean. Number two I tie all the appointments that I know I have to alarms. Because I get so in flow with whatever I'm talking about or doing or shooting, I have no idea where I am, much less what time is. And my producer, Heather, knows that to be true right here and now. I have to like check in to see where I am because I'm so interested in telling you about this, that's what I'm thinking about. Prioritize tasks, I need to make sure I know what to do first, not guess it, not just bumble in there and hope something gets done, I have to be really clear about that, I need to set a schedule of work for the day actually line it up. I'm gonna use really great hub options. Software and applications, that connect everything for me. And I wanna make sure everything I'm saying and doing so frequently is automated. I don't wanna keep doing the same work over and over again I wanna maximize every amount of work, effort, content I build, whatever it is, to work for me as hard as possible. And lastly, I'm gonna lock down these as habits, I'm gonna create a system that allows me to make these things I want to do, I wanna do this, I wanna be this person, I wanna do it this way, into habits, where I don't have to think about it anymore, I just do it. So first, my review the night before. This is such a big deal, this is such a big deal. Please please please please please strongly consider starting this out as a habit and seeing how it can change your life. It seems like a little thing. What do I have to do tomorrow. No you're gonna review exactly what you have to do tomorrow. What is on the calendar, what do I need to do, what should I be doing, and what can I cut out? So right now, what is scheduled for tomorrow? I'm looking at a calendar, I have a very active calendering system and it's all tied together, and everything's color coded, right, green is family events, blue is business, pink is shoots, magenta is shoots. Not pink, it's magenta. And I need to make sure that those are in line so very quickly I can see if i have a shoot that day without doing anything other than this. Glance at my phone. I already know I have a shoot. Color code your appointments according to what they mean to you. If I have a coffee shop meeting, it's gonna be in brown. Color code it so you can really quickly know what you're doing that day. So you know, work out, a work out is on my list every single day, I don't know how to get anything done without physically moving well every day. One of my habits is 60 minutes of movement, whether it's biking, running, my fitness class, whatever, a day, so that's usually how I start my days. I have a parent teacher conference that I cannot miss I feel horrible when I miss a meeting with a teacher. I already know I don't wanna feel that way, it's the worst way I feel, if I'm late picking my kids up at school or something like that, it's not worth that feeling, so that's prioritized. I know I have to knock out a blog post, I have a lunch meeting, I have to edit some of the production work I just finished, I have to pick up the kids at school and I'll have a photo shoot I have to arrange for where they are after I pick them up. Whatever the case might be with their dad or whatever. And my husband. But I have a really clear idea of what happens tomorrow. I'm not going to bed trying to figure out oh I have to slug through the next day. I'm not waking up and thinking, what's gonna face me today, I have a lot of clarity about what is happening and I can cut out if I have like, yep, I got this, this and this, and one of those things is, I dunno, maybe one thing on my list is website review and I'm like it's not crucial, these other things are crucial, that's going off the calendar I'm gonna put it on Friday. And I do this right now. I tie all appointments to alarms. Anything that's scheduled that's important, a photo shoot, a lunch meeting, a parent teacher conference, anything that's scheduled gets put on two alarms. One is onto my Fitbit, I'm obsessed with. I'm obsessed with any sort of accessory that reminds me to move, one goes right on there and having an alarm that's physically on you, that moves you and says hey, you may not have seen the other alarm but here I am, is gold. It's so valuable. Have something, that almost sounds like a little tip, it's a huge tip. Have something, if you're somebody who gets in flow and gets really creative and forgets where you are and loses track of time, which is very much me, put something on you, chip in your head, I don't care. That says nah nah, next one, let's go. So that's what that is. And then it's on my phone. My phone is with me most of the time. They take it away from me when I come on here. But I have my phone usually within, you know, reach a lot of the times, and I'll have it go as an alarm in my phone too. So it's really hard for me to miss a meeting or a photo shoot, without being alerted a couple different times. And I set these all up the night before. Which by the way has reduced my variable level of maybe 20% of the time missing somewhere or being late to nearly nothing. Maybe 1% of the time I may have an incident, but most of the time, I'm where I need to be, I'm on time, 'cause it's respectful to the people I'm meeting, and I don't feel out of control, 'cause I know what's coming. These alarms are sent usually 15 to 30 minutes ahead of the task, based on where I need to get to. To sounds like a little thing, it really does flip your reality so the reason for that, so if I have something that is a lunch meeting, and we're meeting at a restaurant across the street, 10-15 minutes, let me close out what I'm doing, I know that's coming, I have to move to the next thing. If it's an appointment across town, that's 45 minutes away, it's a good hour and 15 minutes. I have to give myself wrap up time. This is where self reporting comes in. Self awareness, knowing who you are, and how you naturally do things. If you are someone who needs to wrap up what you're doing to feel like it, you feel fulfilled about, I got that done, build in your time in advance. If you're someone who's like no, I can leave that, I'll get back to it tomorrow I don't care, it doesn't weight on me in any way, okay, modify accordingly. But start with knowing who you are and how that works for you. Prioritize the needs, but oh my goodness, pepper in joy. Schedule joy, you're not, if you're so busy that you forget to like smile, and like relax and have your shoulders drop four inches, then you are doing this wrong. 'cause we are alive for a very short amount of time and we all know how short a time. Everyone of us has looked around and said oh my gosh, like, things are moving and happening. You have to schedule in the parts of your life that make you feel alive. Because there's very few things that'll allow you to spread joy than you feeling joy. If you think about the fact that, from an energy perspective, if I wanna bring you joy, it kinda has to come through me. Like that's the energetically how it goes I have to bring joy to you, by experiencing it myself. And if i wanna show up for a photo shoot and be alive and energetic and really see who you are, I need to do things that allow me to come naturally into that space, when I'm with you. And if I'm racing from thing to thing to thing and I just run up and I'm like, right, let's do this shoot, hum, hi. Like that's, you can feel that, you can feel that that's not genuine and I'm not gonna get a genuine response from you. Cause I didn't allow myself time to actually slow down and enjoy my own life. So what are the three things you most need to get done that next day? Just do three, three is the number, three, three, three. Doesn't mean that you can't do five and it doesn't mean that you only do one very well 'cause it took three times the amount of time that a normal task takes. But if you try to schedule these needs as more than three at a time, you tend to feel like at the end of the day, no matter how damn productive you were, you failed. And nobody wants to feel that way. You don't wanna feel at the end of the day, I worked and I worked and I worked and I still didn't get it done. I still failed. 'cause it's going back to, we started with this like how do you want to feel? And how do you feel now? And how do you cross the bridge from how you're feeling now to feeling the way you want to feel. One of the things I would love for you to avoid because it will trip you up, is at the end of the day, feeling like this is what I prioritized and I didn't get to it, I failed. That will knock you back. You had a question?
Yes, you got a question.
So you're human like all of us, what do you do--
Yes, thanks for recognizing that.
You know right.
You're so nice.
I'm awesome though hey.
But seriously though, what do you do when your stuck in a funk and you're out of fortune or like something happened and you're just there and you have to psych yourself up and channel that happiness.
Give me an exact example of that. When you say something happens, like in your brain, or out here what do you mean?
I know it has to be more specific yeah. Not environmental stuff but maybe something is happening in your life, you know like a fight with a partner or family or you know, your landlord is whatever. How do you?
You're about to be intended.
Yeah exactly, yeah. How do you deal with that yourself? That's what I'm curious about.
Yeah I mean like any one of you, the humanity trait we all share is alive and well and I've absolutely had like stretches of time where I'm feeling really down about something that's happening in my life that's out of my control but makes me sad, something that's, you know, happening really sadly to someone I love, maybe things not going according to plan, or just feel really sad that day and I don't even know why, right? These things happen to all of us, and I absolutely experience those and feel failed by them. But one of the things I do to try to not have it affect the work I want to create, 'cause it can so easily affect the work you wanna create if you are an energetic person who feels a lot of things and wanna interact in a very feeling way, when you feel like crap, it is hard to bring it. 'cause you don't have it to bring. So one of the things I do is A, I pepper in things that are just, how do I take care of myself, so I can bring it? Like I've got to figure out how all the time I have these little moments, even if it's just sitting in a window drinking my coffee and breathing for five minutes. Or it's sitting down and journaling. Or it's going for a walk in the woods, which by the way, every studio I've picked has been near woods, that's not a mistake, that's on purpose, I feel so good, when I just put everything down and just walk for a while. So if I'm doing that, I have a lot more reserve to step into a situation that calls for more energy than I have. First and foremost, it has to kinda start back here. The second thing is what I brought out earlier I think I said this earlier yesterday, is I have to schedule it so that when I'm showing up for a photo shoot, I don't race right in. I don't grab my bag, I just got off answering 16 emails, I updating my website, I'm grabbing my bag and I'm going into a shoot. If I do it that way and I'm feeling low, it's a recipe for disaster. Or really slow awkward start. And to me it's significant that the client has a great experience. So if I'm showing up and they're like she just really wasn't there, that's going to affect, not only the shoot, their experience with me, the amount of referrals I'll get and how the sale goes eventually. I have to think of it that way, as a cascade of, it really is, like what I bring in, how things go, we all know how powerful first impressions are. I will have a cascade of consequences by being so out of it when I first get there. And it's really natural to do that when you're feeling down. So what I will do is park my car, wherever I need to be, like off, where the client won't find me at, 'cause I'm early but I will pull up and I will make sure I'm separated a little bit from where I need to be, on purpose, and I'll either take like five minutes just to calm my brain and shift through. By the way I do the same thing when I walk in the door at home I pull the car in and just wait, because I have a hard time racing from there into the family and then having them attack me and then be like (gasping). So I have to kind of have a transition time, you're building in transition times, 'cause that's how we work. We have a hard time racing from this to this to this, it's not that we can't do it, I can do it. I can't sustain it. So i need to be able to build in that transition time that's very vital. And then the other thing I would suggest strongly to you guys is I know very few people who are really killing it, at the top of their game and don't practice some form of meditation. Call it what you want. Quiet time, a walk through nature, like, sitting down in a certain way with bells, I don't care meditation is massively important, it's a vital part of my life. And you can do freaking two three minute meditations, five minute meditations. I have a couple of great apps that I use for meditation, that's not part of this process but it answers your question. One of them is Insight Timer, I've been using that for, easily, I don't know, since the day it came out, and they've revised it and updated it and made it better. It's a free app I think, or like three bucks, something like that, that's called Insight, I-n-s-i-g-h-t Timer. And I have it setup so I know exactly what my favorite meditations are, and I have them segmented by time. If I have three minutes, three minutes can take you from this to like, hey what's up? Just by calming this down. The other one I think is called Simply Habit, I've gotta double check. That's really nice too, 'cause they've got a wheel that you can click on and you can say, okay, what's your deal right now, I'm stressed, click on it, I've got two minutes, click on it, go. I love that. I think that's a free app with in-app purchases to expand on it but, that's a very very long answer to your question ad the reason I have a very long answer is 'cause I've experienced that many many times.
I think we all have.
Yeah we all have. But I've definitely, if you are somebody who feels a lot of things, which pretty, goes hand in hand with creativity often, this is a normal part of your life you're trying to figure out how to feel less sad or down or upset or whatever, and bring something that your client will respond to.
We're just not robots, yeah.
Say it again.
We're just not robots.
We're not robots. ♫ I am not a robot (laughing) it's a song I love that song. Hmm, but being able to have a system in place so you don't feel like, I can't get out of bed, much less keep up with my client meeting, like, you know, have a system in place that allows you to do that. And I'm not saying we don't still have those days where we're like no, I can't use anything, I'm like, whatever, fine. But for the mass, majority of the time, have a way to pull yourself out of this. You know, for as long as it takes to get done with that part. And I, I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely have had experiences where I've pulled up to a shoot, felt really down, or stressed, or upset, when into the shoot, and was so in the zone of that, that when I got back to my car and sat down, I could feel it all come back. That's just I think how it is for us. Okay, thinking about your needs, prioritizing three things, and thinking about what are the small pleasures I can build in throughout the day and that is scheduled. And remember a system of prioritizing is not the same as a to-do list. I've talked to people about this before, they're like yeah, I do lists, I do to-do lists. I'm like that's not what I'm talking about at all. A to-do list is everything you've gotta do and it's usually a very endless looking list and we write things down just to scratch 'em off because we want to feel like we're making progress on our to-do list, that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a priority list. Of all the things I know I have to do what are the three main things. And let me schedule them accordingly. It's a different concept, it's a different way of looking at things, and it's a more clear headed way to approach a whole bunch of things you have to do. Here too, when you're looking at that to-do list or what's on your schedule, be ruthless about thinking is that something I even have to do? Just 'cause it's on there or it's brought to my attention or I feel like it's a calendared meeting, do I have to be part of that, really? I do very very few meetings, 'cause the amount of times I actually have to be there, versus just get a digest of what happened. I don't have to sit there for an hour and wait for my small part. Just give me an overview of what I need to contribute and I'll just do that in advance. Start making those choices a little more ruthlessly. Protecting your time and energy. I love this, by Steve Jobs, "people think focus means saying yes to the thing "you've got to focus on. "but that's not what it means at all. "It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas "that there are. "You have to pick carefully." and for us whether it's 100 other good ideas or a hundred other great opportunities or a hundred other directions you could take your business in 'cause you're capable, you're capable of doing those shoots I have 17 things that I can shoot on my website 'cause I can do all of them. I can take travel shots, I've got the, I'm not saying me, but generally speaking, I can do all of these things. You have to say no to some of them. That's the secret. Here are the things I do really really well. If I wanna show you more, we'll do that offline or I'll bundle it in something, but I can't show you everything, I can't do everything.