Less is more, practice to schedule!
Sitting down at my computer one evening I realised that I'm going crazy by how much stuff I had to do. I've tried so hard to systemise my work. I created endless to-do lists and every day closing my eyes before going to bed felt like I couldn't breathe. My wedding photography business was suffocating me. Something had to change and it had to change fast.
I bought a diary where could only fit in just enough to-do tasks for the day to keep me sane. If I couldn't fit them all in one day, I was forced to spread them on to the next day. I figured I had a consistent list of daily 3-4 tasks plus 2 more that required at least 1-2 hrs each.
Having my to-do lists in front of me spread out over the week, I decided to create a timeline for them. Timelining (I just made up a word!) my tasks made sense and gave my day a solid structure. Here's a sample of one of my timelines (the timeline idea came to me from the photographer that I admire and constantly learn from www.jasminestarphotography.com)
7.00am Wake up and get ready for the day
8.45am Update wedding suppliers on the upcoming bridal shoots
9.00am Blog and Social Media
10.00am Upload 2 galleies on my new gallery provider
10.45am Leave the house for a meeting
11.20am Meet with a client
12.35pm Leave the meeting and post an album to the client
2.00pm Design a wedding Album
3.30pm Cull wedding photos
5.00pm Find 2 more guest bloggers
.... after dinner is my personal time or if the timeline shifts (and usually it does shift, because things do run late or take longer than expected) I continue doing work for two more hours after dinner then read, do some work on my tank and watch TV and prepare for bed.
When I started following that system I stopped wasting my time after completing a significant task. I wasn't fidgeting with my nails or wondering on Facebook. I knew why I was waking up early in the morning. I found out that the system won't work unless you commit to practicing it a couple of times. It's okay to fail at it too. Before you become a pro, you will stumble upon a couple of distractions on your way that you have to deal with. Just like anything :)