As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m on an efficiency kick this summer.
When my kids aren’t in camps, I work what I call the “Club Sandwich Shift” – up early in the morning to work for three or four hours, then off to have fun with the kids for a few hours, then back at the computer for a few hours in the afternoon (while the kids watch a video or play with friends), and then back on the computer after dinner.
The schedule allows me to keep up with work while letting my kids enjoy summer. But it does have its drawbacks.
Yesterday morning I worked from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then went into the kitchen to mix up blueberry pancakes for the family. When my young son tried to get a taste of the batter, I said, “Don’t do that honey. Raw data isn’t healthy.”
“What?” he said, puzzled.
“I mean batter,” I explained. “Raw batter isn’t healthy.”
“So why did you say, ‘Dada?’” he asked.
“Because I’m tired,” I whispered.
Ah well. Nothing an extra shot of espresso can’t fix — at least temporarily.
But the fact that the human mind (at least my human mind) has limits has only pushed me to truly optimize the time I do spend working. Having a clear, organized workspace is one way I stay efficient, but a busy schedule this spring had left me with a few too many piles of paper – not only on the desk, I’m afraid, but on the floor, on top of the filing cabinets, even under my desk.
So I spent two days earlier in the summer tidying up – filing papers, catching up on bills, throwing away bags and bags of old files, magazines, and out-of-date financial records; arranging my office supplies; and re-doing my bookshelf so that I could find everything – truly – in a moment.
Taking a page from FlyLady, I’ve also started throwing away 20 things a day. I don’t care if it’s 20 pieces of newspaper, 20 old bills, or 20 books that I know I will never, ever look at again — 20 things leave my office very day. So, yes, 140 items leave my office every week.
It’s getting pretty darn tidy in here.
Moreover, I’ve revamped my project-tracking strategy by transferring it from the white board (which is forever getting erased or written over by small children) to an Excel document, which is both hidden from curious eyes and allows me to color code clients and priorities, as well as add notes to myself. I put every possible work task on that list – no matter how small – because that way I know I’ll remember it.
It’s all in the name of working better, so that I can live better. But there’s still more to be done.
Next up: Improving email efficiency