This is the first post in a series on organization that I am so excited to share. Since writing this post back in 2009, my principles haven’t changed, but many of the ways that I implement those principles have improved greatly. Goodness – technology alone has changed so much since then! (Hello, USB drives! Cloud software! High res downloading!)  Here is a quick summary of the areas of life I will be covering over the next 2 months:

How I Stay Organized

Work   –   Time   –  Home   –  Money  –  Personal  –  Spiritual

Before I move on – are there any areas of life I’m missing? Feel free to leave a comment if there is a particular area of life you are interested in hearing about.

I’ll be blogging roughly once a week for the next 2 months to cover all of these important areas of life that require 2 main things:

1. Consistent and diligent work

2. Great systems and tools that work for you


Today’s focus: How I stay organized in my work!


(Pictured above: My Monthly Goals (5) Powersheets (6) and Workflow Wall (10))

How I stay organized in my work

1. Keep my email inbox at zero.

This one isn’t easy, friends. I don’t succeed at this every day, but I strive to. The mark of a good business is healthy and quick communication. It’s also important to have a great filing system within your emails, so once you respond, you can file it! Being an email ninja is key. More to come on how I quickly respond in my time organization.

2. ShootQ.

If you are a professional photographer and you don’t use ShootQ, you’re missing out. Yes, it’s $40/month. If you can afford it, it’s totally worth it. Here are the ways ShootQ keeps me organized: Email Correspondence / Lead management / Automated Billing / Automated Emails / Online payments accepted / Workflow implementation / Entire NRP team is in sync with workflows / Tracks referrals / Online contract signing / I have 40+ pre-drafted emails ready to send / iCal integration. ‘Nuff said.

3. Back up photos on a regular basis.

I back up my RAW files 2 places as soon as I finish shooting a wedding/session:
the Drobo  (has additional internal backup drive)
– 2014 External Harddrive

We back up high res completed JPEGS 3 places as soon as we finish the workflow for a shoot:
– the Drobo (has additional internal backup drive)
– 2014 External Harddrive
– DVD labeled and alphabetized
– (4th location: the client’s home after final delivery!)

4. Day Designer / Simplified Planner.

My favorite thing about these planners is the ability to map out your day, hour by hour. The first thing I do every day is prioritize my tasks, then schedule my hours for maximum productivity. I am currently using the Day Designer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be trying the Simplified planner for the last 6 months of this year, so I can experience both! More to come on how I effectively use my planner in the upcoming post on how I organize my time.

5. Setting monthly goals.

I love setting goals, as you know. I’ve been blogging my monthly goals on the 1st of every month for almost 5 years now. (I think this is my first ever monthly goals blogpost!) This keeps the big picture aspect of my business organized. When I can step back and look at a chunk of time, even if it’s just 1 month at a time, I accomplish things that I would otherwise let slip away. 

6. Powersheets.

Love love love my powersheets. They are a powerful tool for setting goals 6 months at a time, which is a manageable way to plan and track even bigger, long term goals for your business. They are wonderful! My favorite part is the “Tending List” you see pictured at the very top of this blogpost. It breaks down your monthly goals into weekly and daily tasks. I keep this on my desk. That way, my big goals are always in front of me.

Part 2 of Organization in Work is coming soon, so stay tuned!

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Do you have a preference on the 2 day planners now that you used both last year?

What do you recommend for designing a logo, website & blog. Your site is SO quick even with all the images so wondering what you suggest for setting up a site and blog. I don’t want it to be time consuming to manage, quick for clients & easy to use. There are so many templates and host options out there. Wondering what you recommend with your experience.

Hi! I’m thinking about this planner vs the Colorvale Photographer’s Planner. What made you choose this one?! :)

@Holly – The color vale planner looks wonderful! I had never heard of it until you posted about it. I chose the other planner because I don’t only want to focus on my business, but I also like to schedule in personal life events. Hope this helps!

[…] Ray’s Organization Series (One, Two and Three):  I believe I’ve read each of these posts at least 2-3 times.  Nancy is a […]

Hi Nancy! These tips are great! Thanks so much! I would love to see more about the Work Flow Wall! It looks so good!


[…] sure to read Part 1 of How I stay Organized in my work if you missed […]

Oh this looks like it’s going to be a great series!

YES! Love organisation posts. (I’m an organisation junkie myself). I’ve heard the “inbox to zero daily” mantra from you a few times, in posts, Instagram etc. Today it’s sinking in. New goal!

The first thing I thought when I read this was, YES! This is good stuff! Thank you for sharing! It is so, so good to see how other people manage and make the most of their time. I can’t wait to see part 2! Also, I have to agree that powersheets- tending list especially- are a complete game changer. They are so very effective for setting, tracking and accomplishing goals!

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