Organizing My Life

This week beat the crap out of me.

Don’t get me wrong…I kicked its ass. But I walked away with some bruises and maybe even a broken arm. Haha what if I wrote in analogies this whole post? That would be annoying.

At 6am on Thursday morning, I found myself working. I hadn’t gone to sleep yet and I thought about pulling an all-nighter. Instead, I drafted a new email to Adam (he was sleeping like a normal human being) and basically said: HELP. The thing is…I can be a bit controlling. Or I don’t want to burden someone with tasks so I choose to do it instead. Over the past few weeks everything had piled up and I found myself working  24/7.

When I finally woke up (ahh glorious sleep) I realized that Adam had checked off every task and attended every meeting for us. He’s quite literally my hero.

You might be thinking, “Jeez Allie. Get your shit together!” Yeah, I’m trying. Here’s what I learned this week:

  • I need to get on a normal sleep schedule. For my sanity. For my clients’ sanity. For Adam’s sanity. Oh and my dog seems rather annoyed when I stay up late too. I need to retrain clients so that they don’t think I’m available every minute of every hour.
  • I need to be okay with promising deliverables/emails/proposals within 72 hours. Instead, I’m constantly saying, “Oh yeah I’ll get that to you tonight,” and then realizing I said that 30 times in a day.
  • I need a way to see all current + potential projects’ timelines and deliverables in a very visual way. We just landed 4 huge projects. We’re in the middle of 3 projects. We have 3 clients on retainer. I’m constantly juggling and I need to see the big picture to accurately create timelines and deadlines. Suggestions, please! (I don’t like Trello, Asana or Basecamp, FYI)
  • It’s okay to pay for things that bring you sanity. We had our house cleaned and started ordering healthy, gourmet food that’s delivered to our house daily. It’s an amazing feeling when you can heat up your quinoa, pork + brussels sprouts in a minute and serve dinner.

The bottom line, however, is that I am really happy. I’m learning so much and I’m passionate about all of the work that I do. I’m so thankful that my problem is that we have too much work. It’s kind of amazing. I think that with a little bit of organizing…things will be a bit more manageable. Plus we just brought on an amazing intern. Things are looking up!

It’s been so long – how are you? What’s happening in your life? Any advice for this chaos? 

PS: Check out our new site! I’m proud!

a CONSIDERATION

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27 Comments
  • Lynn
    Posted at 07:34h, 17 January Reply

    Great topic Allie! Let me share a little of what your crazy aunt Lynnie has learned over the years…

    A good nights sleep and a healthy breakfast beat an all nighter every time. I learned that in college.

    Get a good old fashioned white board. Someone very close to both of us always has a white board calendar on her fridge. She was/is the most organized person I know. Decorate a wall with a huge timeline. See the big picture in a big way.

    Practice saying, “let me get back to you,” instead of committing on the spot. I tend to overbook/over promise and that’s how I end up with 13 dogs at my house at one time.

    Everyone is happier and saner when I’m not working under the impression that if I don’t say yes immediately I may never get another client.

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:03h, 17 January Reply

      This is the best advice!! You are the best :)

  • Alle
    Posted at 08:39h, 17 January Reply

    Oh. My. Word.

    I’m going through some of the same stuff! I had a big install over the weekend and ended up working over at my parents house the entire time — I didn’t see my boys at all and it was all because I tend towards over-promising and then my priorities get out of whack.

    That retraining of clients and wiggle room in your time-frames for deliverables/emails/etc. are key — I’m going to work on this, too!

    And I JUST this past week finally landed on my dream project management system. I’ve tried Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Podio — you name. I can’t tell you how many “free trials” I started out there. Bleck.

    Then I landed on TeamBox. Oh, it’s saving my life — I’ve started implementing all the “template” pieces into it, so I’m not reinventing the wheel every time. And it’s taking all of my communications with clients out of Facebook/email/smoke signals and into one place with their “conversations” tab — there’s even a simple gantt chart to plot out your projects and see how things are overlapping. The task lists are great, there’s time-tracking, and the paid plan can link up to your Dropbox account. So far, my clients are loving the organization and higher level of involvement it’s giving them. And oh, there’s also a Chrome extension for gmail that lets you turn emails into task list items in TeamBox — blew my mind!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:03h, 17 January Reply

      I’m so glad I’m not alone!! And I’m totally checking out TeamBox now. I’ve been considering OmniFocus too. Thanks for commenting, Alle :)

  • PJ
    Posted at 08:46h, 17 January Reply

    As someone who’s been on the client end on various projects through the years, I can tell you that I never expected turnaround within 48 hours. That almost seems unrealistic! A week between drafts or updates is definitely more reasonable. Once I even had to wait two weeks! (That felt long.)

    As long as your clients know what to expect up front, they won’t mind waiting because they’ll know that you’re giving them your best work. And that you’re not rushing through their project.

    Now, get some sleep!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:04h, 17 January Reply

      I love to hear this!! Really good advice. Time to SLEEP this weekend!

  • kellylaine
    Posted at 09:33h, 17 January Reply

    It has taken me a while to accept the fact that paying for things you are capable of doing yourself is okay sometimes. Like for instance, I have a fancy washer and dryer in my basement, but I work two jobs and try to hit the gym a few times a week so I’m never home long enough to complete a load of clothes (or when I am, I’m too exhausted to “clean”). So, I’ve been dropping my laundry at a service and I plan to have someone clean our house once a month as well. It’s a small price to pay because… well because #yolo. Any time spent stressing about laundry or cat hair on the steps is time that you can never get back. It’s a waste!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:04h, 17 January Reply

      I hear ya… I used to feel snooty for doing it but getting our place cleaned and paying extra for food is totally worth it to me. Cleaning my kitchen every night is NOT ideal.

  • Emily @ Urban Departures
    Posted at 09:49h, 17 January Reply

    I hear you. My week hasn’t been the most pleasant: my family of three is sick and I’ve been away for training for most of the week. I can barely wake up in the mornings, my home is a complete mess, and I’ve been eating instant noodles. I feel disgusting. Like you, I’m trying to develop some kind of normal sleep schedule. My husband and I committed to waking at 7AM daily this month, but with the family being sick, that hasn’t been happening. Anyway, I’m just rambling.

    Get some sleep!

    P.S. re: Everlane (from a previous comment I left) I’ve always been a fan of their tshirt, but your review expanded my closet and I now have a silk shirt (LOVE) too. Yesterday another order came in. I am happily typing away in their terry sweatshirt (so comfortable!)

    P.P.S. The new website is impressive!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:05h, 17 January Reply

      Oh no! I hope you all feel better soon :( I’m so glad you love Everlane’s silk blouse! It’s one of my favorites. I need one of their terry sweatshirts. Which version did you get?

  • Lisa
    Posted at 10:17h, 17 January Reply

    BRAVO Allie (for putting these intentions out into the atmosphere). :-D

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:05h, 17 January Reply

      aw thanks Lisa (teeth) Ragland :)

  • Liz
    Posted at 13:16h, 17 January Reply

    I feel like I could have written this post. Right there with you, lady! Freelance life is ROUGH in terms of staying organized. Basecamp works great for G + I but if you hear or anything else I’d be curious to check it out!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:07h, 17 January Reply

      So far I’m interested in Updatey, OmniFocus and TeamBox! Isn’t just so crazy keeping everything straight.

  • jensen
    Posted at 13:51h, 17 January Reply

    I have yet to find a good project management software, but I’ve found that having a visual system in my work space is super helpful. Mine was inspired by the gals over at braid creative, they have a giant chalkboard wall where they list out all the clients they have for the quarter and their own personal business goals so that everything is right in front of them everyday. This is a semi photo of it that I found: http://www.megbiram.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/KathleenWorkingGreerInez.jpg (they also talk a bit about it on their blog if you do a little searching)

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:07h, 17 January Reply

      I’m totally open to an analog version + draw on the wall! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  • giulia
    Posted at 18:04h, 17 January Reply

    this sounds crazy! you should be proud of kicking its ass, though:)
    for planning big projects and deadlines i like to make calendars in big pieces of paper and spread them out on the floor. just to get away from the computer and do something with my hands!

    • Allison
      Posted at 19:08h, 17 January Reply

      Thank you :) I am pretty proud. And I love that you’re one of many that suggests actually writing it all out!

  • sofia
    Posted at 19:34h, 17 January Reply

    I drafted a post very similar to this one earlier this afternoon. I keep on writing todo lists only for it to grow. Sometimes I can’t sit still or relax if I know the apartment needs cleaning or dishes are piling up. Oh and don’t get me started about my office. It’s a pile of stuff. Matlock helped a lot while I was traveling, but some things you just have to do on your own.
    Earlier this week, I misplaced a small vinyl pouch that normally I wouldn’t have given much thought to, but this time I was in a frenzy because I had puty 32gb sd card in it with all my photos from my trip to Pakistan & my sister’s wedding. I was driving myself crazy as well as everyone else looking for it. Luckily, after letting it sink in that the pouch and all those digital files were gone, I found it!!
    That was a major wake-up that I need to slow down. Perhaps sometime this month I will find balance and do that.

    • Allison
      Posted at 02:59h, 20 January Reply

      Oh my gosh!! I am SO glad you found the memory card. I can’t imagine how I’d feel. I lost a memory card last week but I have no idea what was on it so it obviously wasn’t that important.

      I’m hoping the last 2 weeks of January look very different than the last 3. for both of us… Can’t wait to hear about your trip though!

  • Diana
    Posted at 23:27h, 18 January Reply

    I used OmniPlan for projects and I loved it.

    • Allison
      Posted at 02:59h, 20 January Reply

      OmniPlan looks awesome – is there a bit of a learning curve?

  • Vanessa! (@withgreatheart)
    Posted at 01:38h, 19 January Reply

    Yes! Oh my goodness, my sleep schedule is so jacked up right now. Even my guy is worried about me, he actually pulled me aside today to ask if I’m doing okay, haha, I felt terrible at how concerned he sounded. I don’t know what to do. (Are you guys gonna have any motivational fitness competitions on Considering You in the near future?) I used to have one person I worked with that would contact me at all hours of the day. Unfortunately that working relationship came to a bittersweet end.

    That gourmet food service sounds wonderful! I wonder if we have one around here… the new website looks wonderful by the way! You and Adam look so dapper.

    • Allison
      Posted at 03:00h, 20 January Reply

      We hope to do some challenges very soon! To get our butts into gear as well. I realllly need it. Even if only a few people participate. Considering You gets so neglected when our lives are so hectic.

      Glad you like our site! And I totally feel you about your sleep schedule. I’m writing this comment at 3am :(

  • Kara
    Posted at 23:55h, 19 January Reply

    My work has just started using TeamGantt… don’t know if this would suit your needs, but a lot of people here like it! http://teamgantt.com/support/getting-started/

    • Allison
      Posted at 03:01h, 20 January Reply

      Funny because I searched for a “project management software using Gantt” on Saturday and totally fell in love with TeamGantt and now we’re using it! I LOVE IT!!!

      • Kara
        Posted at 22:33h, 20 January Reply

        Yay! Good to hear! :)

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