You and Your Work Schedule…Who’s Controlling Who?

I was taking my daily walk yesterday and speaking with one of my favorite friends, Eve, as I cruised through the woods at Waveny Park in New Canaan. Among other things, we talked about how we run full-time businesses, have families and still manage to keep our sanity.

We also talked about how we manage our client interactions so that it all works.

Here are a few tricks I’d like to share:

1. Set Your Own Hours. Just because a client emails me in the evening or on the weekend, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean that I’m required to answer them immediately. I get to set my working hours. I also don’t get angry when a client emails me during these times, all it means is that THEY are working and I’m grateful that they’re putting work into my queue.

2. Use Technology. When I want to work in the evening or weekend, I use an email delivery tool that allows me to schedule when my emails will be sent. I find this effective because I can “stay under the radar” during evenings and weekends, but still be productive. It’s great to be able to respond on my schedule, while making sure my client receives my email at a time of my choice. Send Later for Firefox and Boomerang for Chrome if you want to do this too.

3. Manage Expectations. When I start working with a new client I set expectations in the beginning. I let them know that I’m usually at my desk between 9 and 6. I answer emails within 24 hours. I’m always “trolling” my email for emergencies and quick requests, and while I understand there are times when it’s important to start early and work late, I just don’t want it to be a way of life.

The result of this is simple: My clients know what to expect while I still having plenty of time with my family and friends!

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Things I Can’t Live Without: My Flexible Hose, Tough Grade

I love this hose!

It’s light and flexible, relieving me of my previous struggles with those heavy, green hoses we’re all accustomed to.

Plus, it’s super-easy to coil, making watering the garden a snap! Get yours here!

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Save Time With These Three Filing Tips

I was talking with my client Dorothy last week about her newsletter. While we were on the phone, she began struggling to find a document I had sent a few months ago. She looked in her email, she searched her hard drive, she even looked through a pile of papers she had stacked on her desk.

After roughly 3 minutes I asked, “How do you organize your digital files?” She said she just keeps them in the “My Documents” folder of her computer.

And it turns out that’s exactly what she meant. She has everything, thousands of files spanning years and years, sitting there, completely unorganized, in one big bin. It’s the digital equivalent of “filing” your documents by opening the basement door and throwing them down the stairs. No wonder she was frustrated!

So, here are my 3 Tips to save time and frustration:

1.Think in terms of categories. When setting up a new file structure, think about the different buckets you’ll need to store your information. Then make a separate folder for each. In my case, for example, my main categories are:

Clients – all client related files are found here
RocketGirl Solutions – this is where I store the information used to run my business
Personal – everything else – photos, family documents, etc.

Categorizing is more efficient than organizing filing by date (as you might with paper files). This way, you’ll never have to remember “when,” just the more obvious “what.”

2. Make use of sub-folders. Within each primary folder I create sub-folders – again grouped by category. So, for example, within my “Clients” folder, I have additional sub-folders by client name. Inside each of those, I have more sub-folders (e.g., newsletter drafts, logos, projects).

3. Choose meaningful file names. To make finding documents as easy as possible, make sure to give a meaningful name to each one. Not only does this allow you to find what you need quickly (without having to keep opening documents and looking to see what’s in there), it makes searching your folders quicker, too!

According to Newsweek, the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for things they can’t find. I can’t help you with those lost sunglasses, but if you follow these simple digital filing concepts, you can definitely bring that number down!!

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Things I Can’t Live Without: My Kneelo Kneeling Pad

As a city girl for most of my adult life, I love that I now have a garden right out my back door. This year I’m all in – growing plants from seeds and having a blast. But the downside … Continue reading

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Put Yourself In Your Clients’ Shoes

Last Friday after school I drove Emily to her horseback riding lesson at Silver Lining Stables in Monroe, CT. She rides a sweet horse named Ty who belongs to the daughter of my friend Cindi. I was thirsty and a … Continue reading

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Things I Can’t Live Without: The Grand Ole Opry

On our road trip to Nashville we scored tickets to the legendary Grand Ole Opry. It was amazing! There’s not a bad seat in the house and the performers always seem as excited as the audience to be there. We … Continue reading

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Is Your Business Day In Focus?

Last Sunday, I met my friend Liz for breakfast at a local diner in New Canaan. She’s from Boston and we don’t see each other often, so when we first sat down the hubbub of the restaurant faded into the … Continue reading

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