By Ann K. Monteith, CPP, M.Photog.Cr., ABI, API
Staying organized is one of the most challenging aspects of being a small business owner. Because few small businesses require that the owner wear as many hats simultaneously as a photography studio owner, good organizational tools are worth their weight in gold.
Two of the best apps I have found to keep me organized in the office, on the road, and at home are Evernote and Wunderlist.
I’ve been using Evernote for almost three years now, and to date I have around 1500 notes, many with attachments, stored in this “I can’t live without it” app.
What Evernote does for me is replace the many folders I used to have floating throughout my desktop and laptop computers . . . (most of which I could not find when I needed the information or the documents contained in them) and put them in “Notebooks,” nicely alphabetized by subjects such as: Apps, Blog Ideas, Colleagues, Competition Prints, Current Projects, Graphics, Facebook Ideas, Financials, Marketing, Photoshop Tutorials, Promotions, etc. Anytime I see something online that I want to capture, important email information to save, or a file I need to keep, I create a “note” within the proper notebook.
It took me about 15 minutes of playing with the free Evernote version to recognize the value of being a premium member for only $45 per year ($5 per month if you are a skeptic). Premium membership allows you to attach any kind of file up to 50MB to a note. For the first time EVER, I can
find software and hardware manuals and other helpful educational downloads when I need them. Because Evernote syncs across all my computers and my mobile devices, my life and my computer are much less cluttered since I discovered Evernote and the host of other helpful apps associated with it! You’ll find a wealth of information and ideas on the Evernote website under “Noteworthy Blog” and “The Trunk.”
It takes a lot of lists to make my business function, and until recently I have struggled with finding the right digital list maker. Most list-maker apps are too limiting for me, and most project managers become too complicated. I don’t need a Saturn rocket; I just need a stick of dynamite, and Wunderlist has come to my rescue. It’s the only one I’ve found that makes it easy to create and edit a large number of simple lists, prioritize items and assign a deadline. Wunderlist doesn’t yell at me when I miss a deadline; It simply shows a red line that says “4 tasks are overdue.” When I click on that line, it takes me to the 4 tasks so I can easily reprioritize these items and others to get things back on schedule.
The best feature of all is that I can easily add a note to a task if needed, and I can click a button to see what items from all of my lists are scheduled for “Today,” “Tomorrow” and the “Next 7 Days.” High priority items receive a “star” and I can view my star list by clicking the star button. Another great feature is that once I check off a “done” item, it keeps a list of what I finished and when I finished it.
So to sum up: Wunderlist gives me an instant overview of my workload, plus the satisfaction that I know that I’m accomplishing something. And yes, it syncs over all my computers and devices. It’s FREE and it’s WUNDERFUL!