Jan 2, 2018

Ryan's Starting a Blog

I'm apparently not supposed to tell anyone.  Lololol!  Does he know me at all?

Ahem.  Anyway, we kicked the idea around a bit, and finally I installed WordPress in a subfolder on my site, he pointed his domain there, and I showed him the ropes.  Oh yeah, did I tell you guys I design WordPress sites now?  I've gotten pretty good at it, actually, since my clients all want to take over site management afterwards, so custom HTML & CSS isn't a terribly popular option.

So yeah, he wrote his first post and I'm so vicariously excited for him and keep trying to chime in with helpful details like SEO! and Social Media auto-sharing! and Build an Audience! and each time his eyes widen slightly in panic.

So I was casting around, trying to figure out a way to distract myself from bugging him while he learns how this whole blogging thing works and I decided to pop back in.  I think it's been 3 months since I posted anything (visible).  And I reread some of the last posts I wrote to get back up to speed and realized some updates are due!!!

I wrote a post about my new routine idea.  Then I wrote a super peppy update 2 weeks later.  Now you, as I would, might feel skeptical about that because 2 weeks is hardly a fair trial.  2 weeks is still solidly in the infatuation stage when success cannot be trusted.

But in this case, it really was a game-changer.  Reading some of those other posts, about how angry I felt, and how joy wasn't a real thing that people feel, makes me feel almost shocked.  It's so easy to forget how bad you felt when you feel better.  And I don't totally disagree with the joy post, but I had forgotten how infrequently I felt happy.

Guys, sleep.  Sleep is so, so, incredibly important and continuing to follow a routine that emphasizes sleep has made all the difference.  I'm not peppy every day, and sometimes I still get irritable for unimportant things.  But I've got extra energy to work on it and try to give some positive energy back to my family instead of just surviving and keeping them alive.

And it's not always the routine that's successful.  It's like I turned a switch and once my body remember how good regular sleep felt, it became harder and harder to prioritize client projects over it.  I've been late on projects a few times.  Outright missed deadlines because I didn't plan enough time, or we got sick (when the baby gets sick, EVERYONE gets sick) and my timeline didn't allow for any deviation from normal working hours.  In the past I would have pulled all-nighters to get it done, but now I can't seem to muster up the will to do it.

So I tell my clients what's going on, apologize, and I learn from these experiences.  I push my lead times further out.  Turning everything around in 48 hours isn't realistic anymore.  I might be reaching the point where 1 week isn't always possible.

Other things that have helped immensely:

  • Daycare - Yes, I felt guilty. Yes I cried (a LOT). And yes it made a huge difference and I'm glad we did it.
  • Business Coach - I seem to be becoming more reliant on talking to sort through my mental chaos. Having someone to echo my thoughts back at me and suggest strategies has just been 100% amazing.
  • Prioritizing Downtime - Not just Friday night date night, but business downtime.  Time to set goals, analyze strategies, and figure out how to make things operate more smoothly.
Things are definitely not perfect all the time.  A mere 3 weeks ago I was telling Paul (my business coach) how I still felt disorganized and overall more cranky than I needed to be.  After solving all my business problems, we kind of naturally shifted into personal life.

I think the real problem at that point was that I was still recovering from some of the losses we'd had, and the resultant sleep deprivation and stress that happens when you fly across the country with a baby.  But I've always been a reactive person, too prone to moodiness, and it seemed like a good topic to tackle.

Fast forward to last week, when I was doing my end-of-year assessments.  This system, that I had set up with Paul's guidance and some hints from Kelli about operations management, let me review everything in just 2 days.  Took all that chaos and disorganization and out-of-control feeling I'd been experiencing in my business and just banished it completely!

I had been working with Paul, and enjoying it, and maybe feeling like we were making a little bit of progress, but it was at that moment that I realized I'm really on to something.  Thus far, my business has been the only thing that really motivated me to keep trying things and stick to a routine and ACTUALLY find a way to be accountable for my goals (eek!).  But the moment it clicked and I realized, "Holy crap, this is going to work!" I knew this was a system I could (and will) implement everywhere else.

The system is complex, and visual, and will require a full post to describe.  So I'll leave you with a summary of my last few months.

I did not realize how much I was struggling.  I was in a floodzone, and it felt like the whole world was either floating or sinking next to me.  But I have found dry land and remembered what normal feels like and it is good.

Also I might be on just a bit of a New Year's high right now.

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