Shine Interview Series #3: Ivana Micic on Staying Organized While Freelancing

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Welcome back to the Shine Interview Series!

If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, you might want to head back to this post to learn more about what the heck this 6-part interview series is all about.

For the SparkNotes version - I’m basically interviewing some incredibly awesome freelancers, creators, and all-around inspirational people in order to learn their habits, routines, organization tips, and time management strategies. Basically, I want to learn just how they do what they do.

All set? Awesome.

These interviews are shared across my blog, newsletter, and Instagram, so be sure to bookmark or follow on Bloglovin’, subscribe to the newsletter, and follow @theblissbean on Instagram!

Now let’s get right into the interview.

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I stumbled upon Ivana’s Instagram after she worked with Tricia Wang, a model whom I just happened to follow (THIS is the post if you’re curious, and I know you are). I quickly got lost in her photographic world, obsessed with the angles, the movement, and the soft, glow-y colors in all of her photos. “Glowy” probably isn’t a word, but how else would you describe that magical quality?

As a personal goal, I have been working on taking the initiative to tell people when I admire their work, so I stopped scrolling and DMed her to express how much I loved her photography. And now, lo and behold, I have the privilege of interviewing her!

Ivana is originally from Serbia but has been living and working in Tokyo for 4 years. She majored in Japanese at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, but ditched it all pursue her dreams in fashion and portrait photography. Her work is inspired by “playful filmy editorials and documentary-style images” and she loves creating photos that make you feel like you are stepping into a movie.

Ivana’s work not only inspires me to push myself in portrait photography but to forge my own path to attain the career I want, and I was so excited to learn about how she works. Hope you enjoy!

How do you manage your calendar?

I use the Google Calendar app to share my schedule with my partner, and I find this to be the most useful option for us because we can synchronize when making our plans and accepting jobs. I write my daily tasks and appointments with friends in the calendar as well and just assign them a different color, which helps when looking at your schedule for the upcoming period. I also shared this calendar link with my best friend, so that she can keep track of me as well when she wants to invite me out.

What is your system for task management?

My system for task management is to add tasks as well as other plans to my Google Calendar, but aside from that I also use an app called Todoist. I’m currently on a free plan, so I don’t have the option to prioritize those to-do items. However, I love checking them off when I’m done. On top of that I use Trello to collect information about upcoming shoots because that information is extremely hard to find in the chat box with other team members. It keeps things clean.

What is one habit that makes you successful?

I wouldn’t call myself successful yet, but what gets the job done in my case is prioritizing work above everything else. I have been like this since kindergarten (the type of person who does my weekend homework on a Friday). When you’re freelancing, it’s not just the quality of your work that sets you apart but also the speed, so delivering your product on time is what the client will appreciate. I abide by that rule and just dedicate myself to getting the work done even if I’d rather be somewhere else doing something else.

Walk us through your morning routine.

My morning routine is definitely something the doctor would not recommend. I wake up late on most days and have three coffees on average, on an empty stomach. It might not be healthy but I am not a morning person and drinking that coffee in the morning while checking all of the unread texts and emails relaxes me and also wakes me up. I also hate the taste of water. After I am done with coffee (usually takes me 1.5 hours to wake up properly), I take a shower and I’m out the door for a shoot, or if I am staying at home I’ll sit down at my computer and fire away until my stomach is growling. I usually don’t eat breakfast until about 3-4 hours later. It’s always the same routine unless I am supposed to be at the location helping on a music video shoot. In that case everything is extremely rushed and I’ll usually drink my coffees in the car while we’re trying to break through the Tokyo traffic to the location or a studio.

Are there certain times of day you find you are most productive?

Usually after midnight, when I don’t have enough energy to think about anything else other than editing, but not yet sleepy enough to go to bed.

Do you set goals? How do you keep your goals in sight?

I do set goals, however, they are mostly inside of my mind. These goals are something that I strongly desire so there is no need for me to remind myself of them every day, because they never leave my mind. The only thing that I do notice about my goals is that I give more importance to short-term goals and they usually take me to those long-term ones that I am always thinking about.

What is one piece of advice you would share for someone trying to find balance and organization?

The best thing I have heard so far is that setting working hours for oneself is the best way to go. However, when that’s not possible, fitting in a few things that we love doing in our week helps to prevent burnout. As for the organization, trying out different systems and sticking to them for a while will make clear what suits us the most, so trying out different things is key.


I love the idea of sharing your calendar with your friends! Scheduling can be a big pain, but giving the important people in your life access to your calendar is an easy way to eliminate the back-and-forth of trying to find a date that works for everyone.

Also, I second the endorsement of Trello! I use it for my photography business and for my blog content calendar, and it really is a fantastic way to pull together a jumble of different pieces of information.

To learn about where Ivana finds inspiration and motivation, find part 2 of this interview available exclusively in the Bliss Bean newsletter! If you’re a current subscriber, it’ll be in your inbox (check your spam folder if you don’t see it). And if you’re not subscribed (yet!), just use the form below and you’ll instantly get a link to the interview.

You can find Ivana at her Instagram, @imivamic , and her photography website,

And hey, I know I’ve said this a bunch of times, but before you leave, you should:

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Thank you for reading, and keep on shining :)