Archive for February, 2012

“Excitement about goals is often diminished by our fear of failure or the drudgery of work. If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big. Do a job for a long time and achieve what you set out to achieve, and suddenly, the dream job becomes a trudge instead. The job hasn’t changed – your dreams have. Mostly, though, it’s about our fear. Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety. While you can work hard to dream smaller dreams, I think it’s better to embrace the fear and find bigger goals instead.” – Rightsizing Your Passion by Seth Godin

Weekly goal setting is a concept that Eric wanted to implement into our routine several years ago, but the old multiple job thingy didn’t let it happen. Lame excuse, we know! So finally when we went full time he/we made it a TOP priority. I have to admit at first I wasn’t fully on board (thinking this was just another assignment added to the overly long list of to-do’s) until I started seeing the progress & growth it created. We now do our very best to schedule two a week:

THE TASKS AT HAND + THE BIG PLAN (rhyming unintentional)

For both meetings we get out of the production office, grab some fresh air and visit a place that inspires us. Local spots within walking distance like Sparkroot, The B Line and even our favorite little outdoor corner (when it’s NOT 90+ out) are perfect. The point is to get out of our normal work environment. This way we are less distracted by emails, paperwork on the desktop and client deadlines. We can focus on only what’s in front of us… a NOTEBOOK, the company of each other and of course yummy food. Funny enough we tend to always go around breakfast time (cause we love a bfest… who doesn’t?). Our minds are crisp, we’re hyped and don’t have the stresses of the day weighing us down. Plus we tend to be more motivated to tackle the week ahead. Having a clear goal (and path to get there) puts us on the same page. Of course the goals aren’t always the same, but these meetings allow each of us to voice an idea, argue… I mean process them and devise implementation. One week we may focus on Eric’s topic and the next mine. Even if you’re running solo it’s still very important to set aside time for this. Heck bring a friend or fellow colleague to bounce ideas off of. They always bring a new prospective. WE should and plan to do this also because it’s easy to get trapped inside your little bubble.

Typical discussion items for a TASKS AT HAND meeting:
• returning emails
• scheduling consultations, photography sessions and design appointments
• design project deadlines (culling, editing, uploading and gallery wall concepts)
• placing client product orders
• packaging orders
• marketing & mailings
Pretty much the day to day tasks that occur within every client project.

Typical discussion items for a BIG PLAN meeting (our favorite of course):
• business/personal LIFE goals
• branding/website/blog
• marketing strategies
• studio layout/design
• perfecting 12 step experience with clients
• pricing guide
• products
• equipment
• traveling
• setting and sticking to our work day schedule
The list goes on and on…

Last week we discussed a BIG PLAN topic… hours of operation. Since going full time we’ve struggled with sticking to a set schedule. I’m sure many small business owners can relate. We discussed this topic awhile back and ‘had’ set our dream work schedule: four days on, three days off. Building a business is hard as hell and sadly our dream schedule just wasn’t going to fly. Don’t fret (as if you would… come on we’re photographers), our goal is the dream schedule especially when we start the fam! But for now we’ve adjusted the schedule. Something that works, allows us to stay on track and still have time for ourselves.

Finding balance between our professional and personal life is very important and equally as challenging. It’s easy to let all your love and attention go to the business. This is why setting aside 1-2 hours a week for owner meetings is so meaningful. We can write stuff down, define a time to do it and move on!!! Personally, I am the type that NEEDS to write tasks down. It frees my mind from idea clutter…

With that said, we highly recommend creating/purchasing a ‘capture tool’. Capture tools are simply that, a devise that allows you to quickly get down ideas. We love the Action Method line created by Behance. It’s modern clean graphical products fit perfectly within our aesthetic. We each have our own Action Cahier mini journal to jot down our day to day tasks. It’s especially nice when you’re on the run (yay for pocket size). We then use our Action Journal to capture the BIG PLANS. For the computer/iphone junkies, there’s also an intuitive task management application, Action Method Online… it rocks!!! They have a free intro plan (which we use) or the premium (paid) plan. Maybe someday!

We’d love to hear your thoughts for weekly meetings.

• Do you make an effort to do them?

• Do you make it a priority?

• What do you discuss?

• Maybe you want to have them, but there’s a hold up? PLEASE SHARE!

*All images were captured during a TASK AT HAND or BIG PLAN meeting and created using Instagram. We’re obsessed. Follow us dagnamit!

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