Attending conventions and events like SWPP and WPPI is a great way to energise yourself and get fresh ideas. And of course, it is great to be surrounded by other photographers who understand the challenges that you experience as a photographer.

However, there is an all too real downside.

Overwhelm, distractions and bright shiny object syndrome.

We attend all these great classes, get inspired, get carried away taking notes and get distracted from our strategy and change direction before we have given what we are doing a chance to work.

Or we come back home, with a pad full of notes that just gather dust for years to come…

The same could be said for some of the other courses and programs you buy too…

How many times have you been to an event, sat their paying attention and taking notes from the speakers and that you wanted to implement, then you get home, and maybe you look at the notes again, but if the truth be known they just gather dust somewhere never to see the light of day again?

So with the SWPP just around the corner, I thought it might be rather timely to share this simple system for making sure that you get the most from the event or training…

It’s an idea I received in my inbox a while back from a lady called Monica that I thought would be really useful.

However, this goes a step further than getting you to take action, it helps you prioritize what you learn based on the return on your investment – in other words, how much impact it will have on your business and what it will cost you to implement it.

Definitely a system I am going to be implementing, so here goes (from the email):



The heart of the system is a spreadsheet with 9 columns, here’s how it works:

  1. TO-DO Priority – this is the last thing to fill out. After I enter all the things I learned that I want to use in my business, I rank them in order of importance. I use the other columns in the spreadsheet to determine the order I want to tackle the list (more on this in a bit).
  2. Short Name – this is a short, descriptive name for me to use when referring to the idea.
  3. Description – This is a longer description that I use to add details so that I know exactly what the idea is.
  4. Taught By – this is the person that taught this technique/strategy/idea at MFA Live.
  5. Business Impact – this is a ranking, 1 (low) to 5 (high) on the potential it has to change my business in a positive way.
  6. Level of Difficulty – this is a ranking, 1 (low) to 5 (high) on the how hard I think it will be to implement this idea in my business.
  7. Cost Estimate – this is a ranking, 1 (low) to 5 (high) on the how much money it will cost to implement this idea in my business.
  8. Time Estimate – this is a ranking, 1 (low) to 5 (high) on the how much time it will take to implement this idea in my business.
  9. Notes – this is where I make any additional helpful notes about this idea.

Once I get columns B through I completed in, I go back and determine how I want to tackle them based on the business impact, level of difficulty, cost estimate, and time estimate. I put my decision in ranking order in column A, the TO-DO Priority column.

Here’s how to determine the priority:

* Start with the high-impact and low difficulty, cost, & time ideas.
* Then tackle the high-impact with medium difficulty, cost, & time ideas.
* Next, do the medium-impact and low difficulty, cost, & time ideas.

That’s where I stop. I’ve found that any ideas that are medium-impact or low-impact with medium or high difficulty, cost, & time aren’t worth the effort.

The key piece to making it work is having great notes…

Who’s going to use this?

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