I know I keep talking about “busy season” and “wedding season” and how it’s coming (in my head, I say it like “Winter is coming” GOT reference?!).  But it’s true!  It’s this looming thing that is coming and there’s no way to stop it.  And honestly…busy season is a GREAT season.  Busy means that good things are happening in my business.  It means that my work is working.  That I’m doing what I love…photographing people in love…and I’m doing it often.  But there’s a huge difference in being busy because you’re busy and being busy with a purpose.

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard the saying, “We don’t work for ourselves to be slaves to our work”.  And it’s true!  I left teaching to run my business full time so I could spend more time with my family.  So that I wasn’t having to juggle 15 hats at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong – there are seasons in the life of your business when you just have to push through and keep going.  But there are tools to help us keep our busyness in check.

Today I’m sharing with you some of the tools I use to keep my life and busyness in check. 


The mission for my life right now is this: Love and serve my family well.  Run my business with integrity, honesty, and hard work.  Serve my clients the best I can.  And don’t forget to take care of myself.  If I’m not taking care of myself, I simply can’t take care of others. These tools allow me to use my time more wisely, plan my business strategies more easily and efficiently, and spend more time with my family. 

Tools every creative business owner needs to use:

1) Planoly

YOU GUYS.  I hopped on the Planoly train a few months ago and oh my gosh I should have done it sooner. I withheld myself from this amazing unicorn of an app in “the name of authenticity”, “i can’t plan that far ahead”, and “what if I have something else I want to post?”

My original problem:

As a photographer, I use high-resolution, professional photos 99.9% of the time on my IG feed.  So what I used to have to do is export from Lightroom, email the photo to myself, download it on my phone and upload it to Instagram.  I can’t tell you how many times my husband has gotten irritated with me or my child has thrown a fit because I’m staring my phone trying to come up with which picture to post and what words to write during family time.  That where Planoly comes in: Planoly is an Instagram planning platform.  You can do it from your phone or your desktop.  The desktop feature was a game changer for me.    Now instead of spending 10-15 minutes every time I need to post something, I spend about 2 minutes and it’s done.  

How I use it & why I love it:

  • I upload my photos directly to Planoly from my computer, cutting out 3-4 steps (i.e. saving time).  
  • You know how IG scrunches all your text into one paragraph?  I can write my captions on Planoly and its copies and pastes my text exactly how I typed it.  No need to be frustrated with spacing anymore!
  • I can plan out my Instagram feed and see it ahead of time.  It makes it easier to move photos around to make my top nine more aesthetically pleasing. 
  • I can schedule my posts! [Insert praise ALL the hands here!!!] When I schedule my posts, I get an alert on my phone when it’s time to post.  I hit the “post now” button, tap the caption space in IG and paste my text (it’s already copied for me) and I hit “Share”.  So, so, so easy!  **Planoly has also started auto-posting but I haven’t jumped on that train yet. 

2) Google Calendar

I know, this probably isn’t news for you.  But it’s such a wonderful tool so I think it’s worth mentioning.

My original problem:

I used to have things on multiple calendars and all over the place, causing me to waste time to check difference sources for things.  I also use Google Calendar to plan everything in my business ahead of time. So instead of sitting down during precious babysitting time and brainstorming ideas about what to write about, I know exactly what to write about and a lot of times, my blogs are written and (mostly) done weeks in advance.

How I use it & why I love it:

  • I have created several different calendars: I did this so that I can turn them off when I don’t need to see everything (like the blog calendar)
    • One main calendar where all Kathryn Ivy Photography events go
    • Blog Calendar
    • Task Calendar
  • Main Calendar:
    • All sessions
    • Meetings (I send Calendar invites to all meetings)
    • Other commitments that I need to be able to see
  • Blog Calendar:
    • Blog topics on post topics – this way I can plan ahead and know what is coming.  I like that I can add notes on the event anytime as they come to me.
  • Task Calendar:
    • This is where I add things like roll out dates, email list topics and send dates, etc

My main calendar syncs to my husband’s calendar so that he can see when I have weddings scheduled, and be sure to be home for things like bridal consultations and engagement shoots!

3) Simplified Planner & Block Scheduling

My original problem:

I get a small amount of work time during the day whether it be during nap time or when I have a babysitter.  The temptation is to hurriedly try and get a lot of stuff done while multi tasking.  But that actually causes less work to get done overall.  You see, it takes brain power to switch from one thing to another.  It’s hard on your brain to switch from editing to emails, then to writing timelines, then to creating a educational brochure.  You waste precious time reorienting your brain to a new task as you switch back and forth.

How I use it & why I love it:

  • The Simplified Planner just works for me and my day – I love the structure and simplicity of it. I use the planner as my tool to plan my day by block scheduling my time.
  •  It gives me a little bit of wiggle room and grace for when my time planning doesn’t go quite as planned.
  • I love crossing things off a list – this allows me to do that while keeping things tidy and simple
  • It keeps my business and home life together on the daily.  I can see meal plans for the day, make notes to myself (i.e. all the stuff I didn’t get done today!), see a complete timeline for the day, and create multiple to-do lists…all on one page!

Sample of Block Scheduling: The key is to only do the scheduled task – turn off all notifications on your phone and computer so you don’t get sidetracked!

10-10:30: Emails

10:30-10:45: Schedule Blogs for April & May

10:45-11:15: Finish up remaining blogs for next 2 weeks, schedule them

11:15-11:30: Planoly for the next 1-2 weeks (in correlation with events, upcoming sessions, and scheduled blog posts)

11:30-12:15: Edit

There are a few more tools that I use to help me run my business and life, and i’ll follow up with a new blog post on those another day.  I hope this helps you as you grow your business!


Interested in learning more on a one-on-one basis?  Click here to learn more about my one-on-one mentoring sessions! 

Wednesday Workshop comes from my love of teaching (did you know I used to teach kindergarten?!) and genuine hope to build others up.  When I first started my business I was hungry for information and I scoured the web to find it.  I was so thankful every time I landed on a website or blog that shared the information I was grasping for.  I hope this series is that for you.  Please email me or DM me on Instagram with questions you want me to answer on a Wednesday Workshop – I’d love to answer them for you! 






Wednesday Workshop | Apps & Tools that Help Me Run My Business & Live My Life

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