Maintenance – How I work on Admin

Today is maintenance day. It’s the day I spend doing all the behind the scenes, utterly non-thrilling, must be done, admin things. So far, I have, in no particular order:

  • Exported lots of photos to backup folders
  • Checked Facebook and Instagram a million times
  • Started reading a new book (What, was I supposed to admin while the photos were exporting?)
  • Researched press passes – I never have time for this and yet I truly want to attend a USMNT soccer match with a media pass one day
  • Deleted and answered e-mails
  • Checked Buzzfeed, possibly answered quizzes to see which character of Game of Thrones I would be based on my zodiac sign
  • Glanced at the loads of clean, unfolded laundry only to remember that this is a business admin day, not a home admin day
  • Stared at my husband while he ate Wendy’s
  • Debated on writing a post or listening to a podcast because I can not do both despite my best efforts

So as you can see, admin days are so very productive.

I was just discussing the importance of admin days with a friend that recently launched her own small business consulting practice. It’s so very hard when you are starting up.  There’s the website launching, invoice making, strategy planning, marketing, hashtag research (that’s totally a thing), expense/income tracking, the list goes on. And though it’s exciting because it means you’re moving forward and business is happening, it’s much more exciting to be doing the other work you love. Right?

I would much rather spend time photographing my clients and editing their photos than worrying about logistics and details. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good excel spreadsheet because I’m just that kind of nerdy, but there’s no substituting the actual photography.

So how do I make it work? First, there is no substitute for the work. That is my number one priority. If it’s a busy photographing week, then I do the work. I set aside the other things and do the work. But once that’s done, here is how I admin.

  1. Make a list. It’s important to have a plan. Though I would love to deny this, things just don’t get done without a plan or list of priorities. It might be a lofty list, and that’s ok, I do lofty pretty well, but make sure you decide which one to do first, second, etc. Without a priority you might find yourself binge watching something on Netflix, because that is so much easier than this crazy list you just came up with.
  2. Work in a comfortable environment, but not TOO comfortable. Maybe you can get stuff done while you sit in bed with the tv on. Maybe this is where you do your best work. But is it? Are you truly focused on the work at hand? Because if admin doesn’t appeal to you, will you really get it done while trying to figure out if Jon Snow is really dead or will he come back to life at some point in a future episode of Game of Thrones. I’ve discovered that I’m not truly productive unless I’m at the kitchen table. I can listen to music or a podcast, but otherwise the bed lulls me to sleep and the tv is a shiny object.
  3. Give yourself a break. Stand up, stretch, walk, check Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/whatever if only for a moment. But remember you have work to do and despite the new lens filters on Snapchat, it really is more important to work on your expenses than sending your friends your selfie disguised as a zombie/dog/raccoon/wanted poster/guns drawn/and on and on. You think I’m kidding but one can waste hours on this. Even better when your husband catches you wasting hours doing this.
  4. Remember why admin is important. It can be tedious and time consuming, but it ultimately helps you move forward. It’s all part of the work. Don’t assume things will just happen. I mean, I wish things just always fell into place. Wouldn’t it be great if somehow everything fell into place and not only did my work get worldwide exposure but I also no longer had to track expenses, file tax returns, put myself out there in order to garner more recognition? It would also be great if my children listened to me the first time I asked them to do anything, my husband could read my mind, and if that pint of rocky road I ate the other day was all taste no calories.

Have any tips to share that help get you motivated to get the admin work done?