Tag Archives: busy

Playing Catch-up

Posted by: Maggie

I want to start posting about Eleanor’s birthday extravaganza, but I realize that I’m a bit behind in posting about what we’ve been up to lately. So I’m going to do a relatively quick run-down of what’s been going on over the last month followed by a couple in-depth posts (including a long-overdue pregnancy update) before I get to the birthday fun!

I actually have to look at me calendar to see what we’ve been doing. I usually go through my Lightroom Catalog at my dated photo folders, but I was so busy that there are zero personal photos from Halloween through Thanksgiving. All I have is client work for the month!

Elora Star is born!

The month started with my best friend since high school, Betsy, having her baby girl, Elora! Well, technically she had her October 27th, but I got to meet her and shoot her newborn portraits a week later.

(You can see more at Maggie Keegan Gross Photography.)

PartnerCon and Meeting Meola!

A few days later I headed to San Diego with my friend and fellow photographer, Renee, to attend PartnerCon, a photography conference. I had won my admission when I took Christa Meola’s Online Boudoir Photography Workshop over the summer. I had a great time with Renee and I learned sooooo much! I came away feeling inspired to keep shooting what I love, and fantastic ideas about how to run my business better, from workflow suggestions to studio management tools to ways to take better care of my clients.  It was exactly what I needed right now, and the reason that I decided not to shoot sessions in December, just to keep the month for business planning and organization.

The best part of the conference by far was finally getting to meet my photography idol and unofficial mentor, Christa Meola! By chance, the very first morning, she sat down right next to Renee and asked to see my schedule. I introduced myself and she immediately jumped up to give me a hug! We had been emailing since I got her book last Christmas, and taking her workshop over the summer. It was so wonderful to get to meet her and spend a little time talking with her a few times during the conference. She is truly what has inspired me most in my photography business over the last year. I feel so lucky to have her in my corner, offering me guidance and inspiration!

Work, Work, Work

The rest of the month flew by, I shot a baby shower and a whole bunch of Holiday Mini Sessions (you can check out all the posts over at Maggie Keegan Gross Photography, some are up and more are to come)!

AND that brings us up to Thanksgiving! That post to come!

I’m back!

Posted by: Maggie

Okay, so I realize that it has been almost a month since I posted and I feel horrible about it! At my busiest in the last two years I have still managed to post at least twice a week. But the last month and a half has been crazy! Maggie Keegan Gross Photography has been so busy that I literally have not taken a single photograph that I was not being paid to take in a month. I’ve had quadruple my normal monthly clients. Which is awesome and amazing and puts me on track for where I want my business to be in the upcoming year.

But it also means that I am exhausted and worn a bit thin. With work, Eleanor to take care of, making time for her and Josh, and (sort of) taking care of housework, all while pregnant has just taken up all of my time. Something had to give and this blog was it.

So I apologize and want you to know that I am back and recommitting myself to regular posting!

I have just two newborn sessions to shoot in December, and then the rest of the month is for business organizing & planning, blogging, and celebrating!

I hope you’ll forgive me my absence and continue to follow me and my hectic life!

p.s. If you want to see what I’ve been up to head over to Maggie Keegan Gross Photography to see all my recent work!

Fabulous Friday: The Email Charter

Posted by: Maggie

I had something else planned for today’s Fabulous Friday post, but after spending more than four hours yesterday going through and replying to email from the last three weeks that I didn’t have time to get to earlier, I changed my mind.

Earlier this week I read about Chris Anderson & Jane Wulf’s Email Charter over at Swiss Miss, and I loooooved it! Please check it out and join me in trying to spend less time working on our inboxes!

10 Rules to Reverse the Email Spiral

1. Respect Recipients’ Time
This is the fundamental rule. As the message sender, the onus is on YOU to minimize the time your email will take to process. Even if it means taking more time at your end before sending.

2. Short or Slow is not Rude
Let’s mutually agree to cut each other some slack. Given the email load we’re all facing, it’s OK if replies take a while coming and if they don’t give detailed responses to all your questions. No one wants to come over as brusque, so please don’t take it personally. We just want our lives back!

3. Celebrate Clarity
Start with a subject line that clearly labels the topic, and maybe includes a status category [Info], [Action], [Time Sens] [Low Priority]. Use crisp, muddle-free sentences. If the email has to be longer than five sentences, make sure the first provides the basic reason for writing. Avoid strange fonts and colors.

4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
It is asking a lot to send someone an email with four long paragraphs of turgid text followed by “Thoughts?”. Even well-intended-but-open questions like “How can I help?” may not be that helpful. Email generosity requires simplifying, easy-to-answer questions. “Can I help best by a) calling b) visiting or c) staying right out of it?!”

5. Slash Surplus cc’s
cc’s are like mating bunnies. For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time. Not to be done lightly! When there are multiple recipients, please don’t default to ‘Reply All’. Maybe you only need to cc a couple of people on the original thread. Or none.

6. Tighten the Thread

Some emails depend for their meaning on context. Which means it’s usually right to include the thread being responded to. But it’s rare that a thread should extend to more than 3 emails. Before sending, cut what’s not relevant. Or consider making a phone call instead.

7. Attack Attachments
Don’t use graphics files as logos or signatures that appear as attachments. Time is wasted trying to see if there’s something to open. Even worse is sending text as an attachment when it could have been included in the body of the email.

8. Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
If your email message can be expressed in half a dozen words, just put it in the subject line, followed by EOM (= End of Message). This saves the recipient having to actually open the message. Ending a note with “No need to respond” or NNTR, is a wonderful act of generosity. Many acronyms confuse as much as help, but these two are golden and deserve wide adoption.

9. Cut Contentless Responses
You don’t need to reply to every email, especially not those that are themselves clear responses. An email saying “Thanks for your note. I’m in.” does not need you to reply “Great.” That just cost someone another 30 seconds.

10. Disconnect!
If we all agreed to spend less time doing email, we’d all get less email! Consider calendaring half-days at work where you can’t go online. Or a commitment to email-free weekends. Or an ‘auto-response’ that references this charter. And don’t forget to smell the roses.

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