I have the energy to work with two clients per day, but this requires two things:
1. A solid hour and a half in-between clients.
2. A delicious dinner and a margarita waiting for me at the end.
Forget about blogging or responding to emails on these days. I can only pull this off 2 days/week max. If I felt like client #2 was receiving a compromised service in any way, I wouldn't do it. Last week I worked 10:30am - 1:30pm and 3:00pm - 6:00pm. Client #2 benefitted from an energized organizer fueled by her favorite lunch: an Indian buffet. I start getting the shakes if I don't park myself in front of a bottomless vat of chicken tikka masala at least once per week. That, literally, is my secret sauce.
I eat around 7:00pm or 8:00pm. After finishing with my client(s) I usually have a good hour or two to work before I meet up with my boyfriend, a friend, or my family for dinner. I eat out more than I'd like to, but certainly cook more at home in the winter.
I used to work and email until midnight or 1:00am. I hit a wall with that years ago though. I know I get fuzzy by 9pm, so plan accordingly, but still sometimes find myself getting the inbox down as late as 11:00pm. My newsletter goes out on Wednesdays, so, most Tuesday nights I'm finishing up the posts so my assistant in Portugal can program it overnight. Writing my newsletters and posts is actually quite enjoyable, I just wish I finished it up about 24 hours earlier. I'm very firm about my rule of no Facebook after 10:00pm! I read for about 15 minutes in bed before lights out at midnight. Wish that were closer to 11:00pm.
Everything above is true, but for it to read even truer, every other sentence should read "Reply to emails." For every billable hour, I probably work five hours behind the scenes. I feel like I spend my life on email and I'm not sure how to change this.
I'm a very good organizer and get a tremendous amount done to reach those who need me the most, but the emails run me down. The days I throw my hands up and don't respond to emails, it piles up and my heart sinks. Right now I have 144 emails in my inbox, which is about 124 above my comfort zone. I just spent a weekend enjoying myself: yoga, plant shopping, dinner out, yoga, and brunch, but now am looking at a Sunday night of getting that number down to 75 if I'm lucky.
I's a sunny 60 degree Sunday afternoon and I just sent my boyfriend home. He's been waiting to hike with me all day but I still have work to do even though I'm a better time manager than I've ever been. Also, in the past year I have learned to delegate. I'd like to delegate more and manage time better on a macro scale. I cross a lot off my list day-to-day, but around the next bend will be setting bigger project goals and setting aside days to execute them. When I've done this, I've shocked myself at how quickly I can produce. I've pulled a lot off in the last few months and am now confident that with short deadlines I can complete anything.
I started my organizing business in 2001. Many of the last 14 years were spent wanting so badly to "be busy," but I just didn't know what that was and admittedly didn't always have the motivation to do it when the path was clear. I've sent out countless notes in bottles and now that they're floating back to me in the form of magnificent professional opportunities, I'm working my tail off.
It feels like every week something rolls in that just knocks the socks off of the people close to me. (I don't share a ton on social media, so I have a lot brewing that only those close to me hear about). My good friend Lauren Fritsch also wrote an article as part of this blog tour: More Than Enough. In it she talks about feeling like she hasn't accomplished enough even though she has recently achieved so many of the specific goals she set years ago. I relate. I sometimes feel like I'm making up for lost time. I recently told my ever-patient boyfriend, "To some extent this will probably never end. I'll reach a goal and want more because I'm learning that it's about the thrill of the ride."
I get that building a business takes work. I'm fortunate to have found work I love at age 21 in 2001. I am doing my best and am starting to feel very proud of myself. A large percentage of my to-do lists are tasks I enjoy. I know I'll hit my stride with better delegating of everything else. If emailing at midnight every now and again is the worst of my troubles, then I'm very blessed. It's good to be Kacy Paide.
So, it is a beautiful day for hiking, but it's also a beautiful day for sitting on my couch with my windows open and blogging about doing the work I love. This past weekend someone asked me: "What is the most fun job you've ever had?" The answer was easy: "This one."
Thank you for reading. Enough about me! Did anything surprise you in this post? What routines do you have in place that help you to protect your personal time? Is there anything else you'd like to know about how I run my business? Like this departure from organizing advice? Please share in the comments! I'll do my best to answer questions in future posts if I can't fully answer in comments.