I recently finished up a web site (using WordPress as a CMS of course) for a client who besides being a client is an amazing writer. He has a best selling project management book (The Art of Project Management) and has another one coming out in the next month. If you have a few minutes, take a look at his web site and read his blog or some of his essays to learn more about design, project management, working with others, and all kinds of smart tips.
Well, the first two days of working at home have gone great. I have gotten more stuff done before 8am than I can usually do by the time 8pm comes around. I am able to get up, spend some time with my son, workout, shower, and then start working all in the time it would usually take me to get to my office. During lunch, Triscuit, Evan, and I go on a nice walk and then come back for some more work. Not to mention, I can now also stop working much earlier and enjoy some time with the family. Good times. Why did I not “retire” (as Dad Muller would say) earlier? All the while, I get to work with interesting clients on really cool projects which forces me to keep building my skill set.
When every hour you spend impacts your bottom line, I have learned a few tricks to working smarter.
- Do not be a slave to email. When I am working on projects, email can be a continuous distraction. “I will just see what x client wants really quick” can easily turn into a mental distraction as I try and work out the issue. Worse, I will drop everything that I am working on to address the issue. In the past few months I have learned to focus on one task or a group of tasks at a time, then break, check email, and move onto the next task or group of tasks. I also pick an hour or two to just focus on answering email messages. This allows me to stay focused and get tasks completed and off my plate.
- Pick a work schedule and stick to it. Start work and end work at a reasonable and consistent time. If I know I will work from 8am-4pm, I can budget my work and play time accordingly. I may not want to always work at 8am, but I know I do not want to work at 7pm either. Setting a schedule allows me to differentiate work and play time – making both much more enjoyable.
- Realize not everything is an emergency. This was extremely difficult for me when I first started consulting. Just because a client emails at 11pm does not mean I need to email them back within 30 minutes. Set boundaries (and a schedule) so you can differentiate between a true emergency (server down) and a client’s request to change colors (not an emergency).
- Build in time for business development. I use Mondays to do all my accounting, company web site updates, marketing, etc that will help me advance my company’s position for future growth. Current clients are very important, but so is getting the next client. Do not fall behind!
There are a lot of ways to work smarter and I would appreciate any other suggestions.
I finally had a few minutes to update my company’s (SDAC Inc) web development portfolio. If you are interested to see what I have been busy working on in the last two years, check out my consulting web development portfolio. You will notice I mainly focus on building dynamic web sites using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS). I have a few additional non-SDAC web sites in my personal portfolio, but this is a good start.
[tags]SDAC Inc, portfolio, WordPress[/tags]