Tackling Your To-Do-List | Episode 006 transcript

This is the transcript for Episode 006 | Tackling Your To-Do-List.
Jack & Jennifer talk about tackling, trimming, & organizing your to-do-list.
Visit this post for show notes.

Jennifer: Hello everyone! You are listening to Episode 6 of the Get To Art podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Roach. Atlanta wedding photographer.

Jack: Premier.

Jennifer: And I am joined by my husband, Jack Roach.

Jack: I’m Jack Roach and I’ve got fresh new kicks and pants, and I got like that so you know that I dance. Today we are going to talk about time management, and to-do-list, and all that, it is going to be great, lots of tips. But before we get to that I want to talk about the tragedy that befell this house just moments ago.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jack: We were in the living room and you reach under the couch and picked up a hammer which is usual.

Jennifer: Yes.

Jack: And I pointed you and I said stop hammer time, and then proceeded to bust out with the lyrics of the first verse of You Can’t Touch This. And you said, you didn’t know the lyrics to the first verse of You Can’t Touch This.

Jennifer: Correct.

Jack: So being a giver, which I am, I followed you into your office and I played you can’t touch this so you could learn the lyrics.

Jennifer: Yes, you did.

Jack: And you didn’t take notes.

Jennifer: I’m sorry.

Jack: Furthermore, you interrupted Mr. Hammer’s flow and asked are we going to listen to the whole song. I would like you right now in front of both of our listeners to apologize.

Jennifer: Well, I’m not going to do that.

Jack: Well, I need you to hurry and get to it because I’ve got lots of stuff to do. In fact, I’ve got so much stuff to do I don’t know where to start.

Jennifer: That sounds like a problem.
Jack: Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever feel like, “Oh my god I’ve got this project to work on. I’ve got that project to work on. Things are flying at me left and right. Oh my goodness there is another email I have to answer. Here’s the kids. I’ve got schedule a long service. What am I going to do?”

Jennifer: Oh no, absolutely not. I’m perfect.

Jack: Alright, well it’s been a great episode and we’ll see you next time and which we’d be talking about with a lying my wife is.

Jennifer: That really sounds like a beginner problem not a may problem.

Jack: Oh okay.

Jennifer: No, absolutely. I feel like that every single day.

Jack: Well, that’s what we are going to talk about in this episode, having too much to do and how to sort through the mess and get it done. Feel the same Jennifer.

Jennifer: On all of it.

Jack: Yup.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jack: You are the host this week. I’m going to sit back and relax and play with my phone.

Jennifer: Are you suggesting that I play with my phone the rest of the time that we are recording?

Jack: I’m sorry. Did that sound like a suggestion? Did you guys know it takes 8 hours to record the episodes of this podcast? Because every time I have to say something I have to tap on the table and get her attention.

Jennifer: I don’t even have my phone in here so thank you. Before we get into the tips or everything that we have for you, I think the first thing we need to do is just assure you that if you feel this way, you are not alone.

Jack: Plenty of lizards feel this way.

Jennifer: We both feel this way every day and we talk about this kind of stuff every day about just how overwhelming it is to be in this world and have all these stuff to do. You know, when you go to a full time job and it’s someone else’s company and you go in and basically do what you’re told to do, and do what someone else wants you to do, and then go home. But when it is your company and you have to be the one to come up with all the stuff to do it could really be overwhelming especially when people try to tell you that you should have such a thing as a work-life balance. I don’t even know like what that supposed to mean.

Jack: Well, I’ve learned a new concept from your best friend, Jenna Kutcher, work-life integration. I think even worst Jennifer is when you have both a full-time job and a side hustle.

Jennifer: Yes, definitely. I agree. I think that’s definitely harder because you’re trying to get this thing off the ground but there is only so many hours in the day.

Jack: In our situation I’ve got a full-time job, Jennifer has a full-time job as a wedding photographer, I’ve got my side thing as an author, and also we both do a podcast, and we have kids, right?

Jennifer: There’s a couple of them.

Jack: We deal with those and the cat.

Jennifer: Where are they right now? We have the cats sometimes needier than the children are.

Jack: We also have our marriage to contend with and personal growth. Jennifer, we got too much stuff in our plates.

Jennifer: We do. I feel really overwhelmed all of a sudden.

Jack: So I think the first of business is to stop doing this podcast. It’s been great everybody; six episodes isn’t so bad.

Jennifer: Not too shabby.

Jack: I have a series of tips and tricks that I have for tackling what I call an obscene workload. What have you got, Jennifer? Am I going to be leading the charge on this one or do you have some advice that you want to throw in first?

Jennifer: Oh, you can go free to lead the charge because I feel like what I have added to the list sort of touches on what you have as well like they are kind of integrated and related.

Jack: My first tip is to write everything down.

Jennifer: That’s a good tip.

Jack: That’s it, write it down, preferably in a to-do list. I use an application and service called To-Do List. It is a to-do list. There is not really that much special about it except that I took the time a while back to really sit down and learn all its features. I really know how to wrestle that one to the ground and make it do what I want to do. But any to-do list is really going to help you get your stuff organized. And organization I feel is key to tackling a mountain worth of workload. I also use a Microsoft One Note. There is also Evernote, you can just keep text files. There is a note app on your phone probably. Any number of things, but those two in tandem are going to form the basis for getting your life in order and letting you focus and accomplish things and mark them off of your list.

Jennifer: Tied in with that else and this could be a bigger topic on its own but also CRMs. What’s that stand for?

Jack: Customer Relationship Management.

Jennifer: Customer Relationship Management, yes. So I have one and it is one of the best investments that I’ve made of my business. There are several different ones that you can use. I use 17hats, but there is HoneyBook, and Dubsado, and lots of others. But they are not just for emails and things to send to your clients but it also helps you make workflows and keep track of what you’ve done and what you haven’t done, so I send Thank You cards to every couple that books me for their wedding. And before that I would worry and I think did I already send them a card, I can’t remember. And so now I added that to my workflow in the 17hats so that now when I go in I just check the little box whenever I send them their cards. And then that way later on when I panic in the middle of the night waking up with anxiety thinking, did I send them their Thank You card. I can look and say, oh yeah, I did because it is already checked off.

Jack: Now lest you think that Jennifer is a lunatic, she can’t remember if she send a card or not, keep in mind that right now Jennifer has at least 13 weddings in some for workload. Probably more if she got queries and leads, right Jennifer?

Jennifer: For this year, yeah, there is also more for next year as well. I have four already booked next year and then several in varying stages of they’ve inquired, we are going to meet, or try to book them etcetera.

Jack: So I help Jennifer sit down and get the CRM set up couple of years ago now I think. And we defined a workflow for a wedding which transports from initial introduction, to setting up a meeting, to sending out a pricing guide, and a contract and then all things go in between. There is about something like 30 steps that go into a wedding and with a CRM you’re able to check off I did this, and it just pops up the next one and says, in 5 days do this, 3 days after the wedding do that, etcetera, etcetera.

Jennifer: Yeah, you even have it set up to where it reminds me a year after their wedding to send an anniversary card or make a Happy Anniversary post on Facebook or that kind of thing. It is really handy to keep track of everything and to remember what you need to do next so that you don’t have all these clients going and your mind just goes blank and you don’t remember what to do.

Jack: In your day jobs you may be using Salesforce and it is a very popular one for enterprise level businesses. The CRMs that we are talking about are the same concepts and the same features but on a much smaller scale and price tag.

Jennifer: Yeah, for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Jack: I would really love Jennifer to sit down and see how I could use a CRM in my author and podcasting businesses.

Jennifer: I’m not sure how you do it with someone who has just bought a book, but for people who are in your audience, how they receive your newsletters, and how you pitch to them etcetera.

Jack: Building on that concept is the 1-3-5 list. My to-do list has roughly a billion things on it. Obviously too much to tackle on a flat structure so I have adopted a technique I guess called 1-3-5 in which every day you sit down and you plan the next day and you say, here is 1 thing I have to get done, 3 things I’d like to get done, and 5 things that would be nice to get done. And so that narrows down your daily task to 9 things. I very rarely I’m able to clear out this entire list in one day but things often get promoted from a 5 to a 3, or a 3 to a 1, kind of rarely from a 5 to a 1 unless there is a time component to it. But this helps me focus on my most pressing tasks rather than just marking everything as urgent, you know, red flag. It also encourages me to sit down and really evaluate my priorities, and if things drop from 1s to 5s, then that’s up to me to look at something we’ll talk about in a few minutes.

Jennifer: Okay, well I’m excited. I’m intrigued. I’ve also used this system too. Maybe not necessarily like in that specifically.

Jack: In such a rigid structure.

Jennifer: Yes, mostly like I’ll sit down in the morning at my desk and say, “Okay, if I get nothing else done today what is the main thing that I’m going to have to get done.” Is it I have to finish this set of photos and turn in the gallery, or is it I have to have this final conversation with this client who wants to book me or, what’s that one big thing that has to get done today. And then I just sort of playing around after that like, okay, once that big thing is done then how else I’m going to spend my time if there is even any time left, or is today is just an editing day. Is today I am chained to my computer and have to edit all day long. That’s, you know, photographer problems where we get chained to our laptops and have to edit all the time.

Jack: Something else that you do that I actually admire is for a week or a month or something you’ll focus on one thing, like for a while it was branding and you didn’t worry about anything else aside from your day to day work. Whereas I might be running around like I’ve got to set up the podcast and newsletter, I’ve got to find new hosting for the website, I’ve got to reach out to bla-bla-bla, and you said, “Nope.”

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s just the way that I got to overwhelmed because I was listening all these different podcasts and reading all these different blogs and just gathering all this information, and all this content, and getting all this awesome education. But when you do all of that at once it can just be so much at once that you feel like you’re already a failure before you’ve even started. It’s just too much at once so I just had to take a step back and take a breath and say, okay, there is no possible way that I can get all of these things done at once. There’s just too many topics to focus on so I need to focus on one thing that I feel like it’s important, you know, the most important thing to my business right now and then just focus on just that aside from my client work, like I still have to edit the photos, in terms of growing my business. So yeah, like how you mentioned it was branding for a while, so if it didn’t fall under the realm of strengthening my brand then I just didn’t worry about it. And then once I feel like I was comfortable with that then I move on to Instagram.

Jack: So the next piece of advice I’d like to give requires a bit of a financial investment and that is finding a virtual personal assistant. So I have one that I really like working with that I give her $20 an hour to tackle a task that I don’t have time to do or I would find too tedious to do. Like it involves filling out a lot of forms on webpages or talking to a lot of different Facebook groups or something like that. I just sink it off to her. But as a rule I make sure that anything I give to her is an investment and not just an expense meaning if I’m going to give her $20 to do this, I need to at least get $21 of value for.

Jennifer: Yeah, definitely. You don’t want to be spending money on things that aren’t going to bring any money to you. This is something that I thought about looking into, another step that I want to take. I just haven’t figured out I think how I want to set up my processes to work within an assistant.
Jack: I actually sent my assistant your information because I develop a level of trust with her and I believe that she can handle your work. We’ll get together and see how we can implement her into jennifermariephotographer.

Jennifer: I do want to use a personal assistant, a virtual personal assistant more. I’m very protective of my stuff which I feel like it’s a mindset that I need to get out of, and that it’s probably pretty common to creative people where you feel like you’re the only one that can touch it. But that’s not true, you’re not.

Jack: You can always find ways to pass stuff off.

Jennifer: Yeah, and I’m going to work with her and see if there is a way that I can work her into my workflow and maybe pass along some things that have to be done but I don’t necessarily always have the time to do. And that’s funny that you mentioned that there because that kind of segways into the last topic that I had on my list which is just talking about outsourcing which I’m really trying.

Jack: Wait, wait. If you listen very closely you can hear the secret third host of the Get To Art podcast, Sebastian.

Jennifer: Yeah, who is scratching at the door begging to be let in.

Jack: He wants his mic time.

Jennifer: Yeah, you can hear him.

Jack: Boy, I put up photos of myself on Instagram. I put photos of my work on Instagram my video game stuff all of that, and I was like, yeah it’s kind of nice. I think it’s cool that you spend your time doing this. I put a picture of a cat and they was like, “Oh my god, tell me more. Tell me everything. Can I have him.”

Jennifer: People loves Sebastian. I think Sebastian needs to have his own Instagram account because I took a photo of him when I was just playing around with my camera one day in my office and he had wandered in and I post it on Instagram and people loved it. It got a lot more likes than a lot of my wedding pictures ironically enough. Maybe I should…

Jack: Maybe if we could get Sebastian married.

Jennifer: Oh, I know right, have a cat wedding. That will be awesome.

Jack: I invite people over for dinner, the grill or something, they are like, “Okay, will Sebastian be there?” “Yeah, he is a cat, he doesn’t go places.” “Oh, okay, I’ll be there.”

Jennifer: Oh okay. So we have people that only accept the invitations to come to our house if they can see our cat.

Jack: I should actually set him up with like a fake email account and just do everything under his name.

Jennifer: Yes. Sebastian has cordially invited you over to have a barbecue and tummy rubs.

Jack: Alright. Well, back on track Jennifer. I think that you should look into outsourcing some of the aspects of your workflow that can be taken care of by somebody else and free up time for you to focus on your core competencies.

Jennifer: Do you think so?

Jack: Well, it is worth looking into.

Jennifer: Well, it is on my list so.

Jack: You should have a virtual personal assistant go over your list.

Jennifer: Yes. Something that I’m trying to do this year is to look out outsourcing my editing because editing just takes up so much of my time. And obviously I will still be in control of the style and everything, and the pictures would still look like mine. I would basically edit a quarter of the photos and then pass them off to somebody else who would copy my settings to the rest of the pictures. And that is something I find very interesting because I would think that editing your photos is part of your unique style. I don’t understand how you would feel comfortable passing that off. But I have a lot to learn about photography.

Jennifer: Well, originally I felt that way and as actually I’m bringing up Jenna Kutcher again because this is something that she taught about in one of her episodes that I listen to and that what convinced me because for a long time I was against editing outsourcing because I felt like this is your art and you’re the only one that could make it that way. But she is right, it is not necessarily true. And the more that I look into the process of outsourcing your editing it actually makes a lot of sense. It is still your style. So basically I would go through the wedding which completed gallery ends up being anywhere from like 800 to 1000 photos. So I would go through and apply the settings for my style to like a quarter of those or maybe like a hundred or so, or one or two photos from each different lighting scenario or different part of the day and then I would hand off the catalogue to an editor who would look and see what settings that I use, and what did I do, and just basically copy those same settings on the rest of the pictures.

Jack: And what would you do with the time that you freed up by doing this?

Jennifer: So many things. I go out to lunch or something.

Jack: Get caught up in the office.

Jennifer: Get caught up on for like fifth or sixth time. I don’t know. I think I could probably get through this series again. I’ve watched it a lot. I don’t know. I don’t have any plans for what I’ll definitely do.

Jack: You could focus on those vendor books that you’ve been putting off for since you started.

Jennifer: Yeah, I never make the vendor books.

Jack: You should make the vendor books.

Jennifer: I should make the vendor books and the blog post. I never make the blog post.

Jack: Hey, I know someone who could do that for you.

Jennifer: I know. Like I said I need to figure out the process of how she would do that and still be from me.

Jack: Part of my day job is finding opportunities for outsourcing some of our operations. Basically we have two to three core competencies that we would never pass off to somebody else but anything else it’s fair game. It is just a numbers game. Would we save money by doing this? It is simple and anything that the answer to that questions is yes I will find somebody to take it over. I’m actually going to hire a guy to come over in the morning and kiss you and say have a good day.

Jennifer: Really?

Jack: I’m not good at kissing.

Jennifer: Is he cute?

Jack: Not anymore.

Jennifer: Why are you glaring at me like that? Well, another commodity that I am always in sort of saving to is time. It is not always necessarily money or saving money. I feel like if I, I’m at the point now where I spend so much time on my business and on my work. Basically, all of my time. If I can get some of those hours back to just do something else even if it is still business related but it is some other area or it be nice to just go do something else. Go have lunch or do something else.

Jack: You really want to go to lunch. You’ve said that like four times. What would you do to your free time? Go to lunch.
Jennifer: That was like the same. I didn’t say exactly…

Jack: I like lunch. I like eat out lunch and I’m going to eat it good. Do you have a boyfriend named lunch?

Jennifer: I can neither confirm nor deny.

Jack: I thought it was Luke.

Jennifer: It was auto correct so as it goes by now.

Jack: We actually outsource a lot of things already even by shopping at Amazon. We are outsourcing somebody going to the store and picking it up and going to register for us. I know a lot of people use services like Fiverr. We are already outsourcing so many things, so Jennifer and I are looking for ways now to step it up to the next level and outsource things that previously we thought were unthinkable.

Jennifer: And not just on our business too but in our personal life as well. I mean outsourcing can also look like having a cleaning company come in and do your house cleaning every couple of weeks or a lawn service.

Jack: Or Kroger and Walmart, and I’m sure other stores not only arrange pick up for your groceries will even deliver your groceries. That’s hours a week.

Jennifer: Yeah, especially if you have kids.

Jack: Well, moving on to our final topic which is my personal favorite. All evidence aside I consider myself a bit of a minimalist and I’m a big believer in the 80-20 rule which is the belief that 80% of your profits, or your progress, or your accomplishments come from 20% of your effort. And so to help manager to do list you need to start looking at it and say which of these do I not need to do. Which of them haven’t been hurt by not doing them and maybe that means you can outsource them. But it also means that you can just mark it off as something that you would ever do like making the bed, who cares?

Jennifer: Yeah, you’re just going to get right back in it anyway.

Jack: Guys, that’s really all we have for you today. Make a to-do list, widdle it down, implement some sort of organization system for it and find opportunities to pay somebody else to do it to exchange time for money. It is simple and if you do that, well, you’ll probably still be in the same mess. It will be a smaller mess.

Jennifer: You can just tackle one thing at a time. I feel like it’s a good take away as well. You don’t have to look at this list of things that everyone is telling you you have to do to be a successful entrepreneur and say, “Oh my god I have to get all that done right now.” Just take a breath and just work on it one at a time.

Jack: Yeah, these techniques won’t eliminate the stress of feeling overloaded from your life but they’ll help you tackle it and narrow it down and lets you take the stress out of the equation and focus on getting things done rather than just being overwhelm and feeling anxious by the sheer magnitude of your to-do list. Well guys thanks for listening to us for this episode. You can find me at jackroachauthor.com and on Instagram @jackroachauthor.

Jennifer: And my website is jennifermariephotographer.com and I’m on Instagram @jennifermariephotographyga. And the podcast is also on Instagram now, it is @gettoartpodcast.

Jack: And you can find out more about the podcast at gettoart.org. We’d love to hear from your so if you have implemented any of the ideas or have organization ideas of your own shoot us an email at podcast@gettoart.org, that’s podcast@gettoart.org. Guys, as a special threat this week if you send us an email at podcast@gettoart.org I’ll send you the unedited version of this podcast because this has been a whooper. I want you to see what I really go through every week. So get to work but don’t forget to get to art. Thanks for listening.

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