New Workflow, Who Dis?

I’m writing this from a very quiet hotel room. I’m on my last work trip of the year, and after some productive alone time, I’m left with a ton of thoughts scrambled in my brain and the tiniest baby hotel notebook to brainstorm it out.

I mentioned earlier that my biggest goal for 2019 was just to time mange. I used Fringe Hours to help set my 40-hour (plus 10% travel) work week around the girls’ schedule. That meant not splitting my focus when I’m exclusively with them, and using the hours that they are sleeping or with the nanny to do the bulk of my work.

This gave me a solid window of time (9:45am-4pm) where I only have to be at work, and as soon as they wake up from afternoon nap, they are my only priority. When Troy’s time is available as well, then we can split tasks until they go to bed. Any sleeping/cleaning/me-time/us-time is reserved for 8pm-8am. I make it a mandatory that I get out of the house at least once for a longer period of time over the weekend to do whatever it is I may need to do, and Troy has the same opportunity as well.

Twelve months later, we have the girls on a very good schedule and I am able focus and be more time-efficient. While this has been great for my postpartum sanity, I also adopted a “Done is better than perfect” mindset. Next year, I want to switch gears, which brings me to The Passion Planner! (Not an ad, just really excited!)

I’ve been looking for a bullet journal/weekly planner hybrid to plan my days, but also to do some goal setting. My current planner (a standard weekly agenda from Staples) was transformed this year with highlighter for the girls schedules, color-coded pens to differentiate work and home tasks, and lots of stickers because I admittedly am a terrible doodler. I also had small Post-its for my #101in1001 goals, big Post-its for my monthly goals, and Post-it lists for seasonal planning.

All of this I want to synthesize into a workflow, a daily schedule where I can build and plan for both the short-term and long-term. Super nerdy, right?

Which brings me back to this hotel room. While I have an talent for planning and lists, consistency and motivation have always fallen by the wayside. One of my authors is a life coach, and she has really been my inspiration to help build and exercise my executive function. In the last couple days, I’ve done a deep dive into productivity podcasts, blog posts, and Pinterest tips. I’ve also been doing follow up on social media tools and webinars that I want to start incorporating into my work skillset.

I imagine the new workflow might look something like this, jk…


The Passion Planner gives me my basic weekly timetables, but leaves additional space for goals/braindumps/squiggles, anything I need to commit to paper. Some people get creative with their planners, in additional to their Passion Roadmaps.

I’m looking forward to this building process and seeing what new toys I can play with.

Working from Home

My absolute favorite book on work habits and effectiveness.

I’ve seen a few blog posts lately about how to stay focused when you’re working from home. They’re always a bit humorous, since I’ve been working entirely from home for almost 5 years now. For me, telecommuting isn’t necessarily about discipline or sticking to schedules. It’s about know how and when you work best.

Here is my usual work schedule:

  • 7:30am Wake up.
  • Casually get to my computer and log in by 8am.
  • 8-9am Go through all 3 email accounts, check FB/Twitter/blog list, check work and personal to-do list for the day, eat breakfast. All at my desk
  • 9-10:30am This is where I get 90% of my work done, whether it is priority projects, email correspondence, processing, paperwork, social media, etc.
  • 10:30-11:30am If I don’t have a meeting, this is when I move to the couch. Troy works exclusively on the couch, so this is where I get my “office interaction” and ambient TV noise while I work.
  • 11:30am-12:30pm Lunch break: Eat, shower, go for a walk depending on how busy things are. Troy and I will go out to lunch twice a week, just to “get out of the office”.
  • 12:30-3:30pm Unless I have a big project to work on, this time is usually spent doing odds and ends. In between work emails, planning and non-priority tasks, I’ll do laundry, start dinner, or work on a blog post. It’s a bit of a perk, especially since almost all of my work is done before 10:30.
  • 3:30-5pm I will still keep my email open to field any late tasks or answer questions from clients in different time zones. If I’m feeling ambitious, I will start a project for tomorrow or update my to-do list.
  • 5:30-7:30pm Gym, usually the only time of the day to really leave the house.
  • 7:30-10pm Dinner, DVR, check emails on last time.
  • Sleep by 11pm. Yes, this means I get over 8 hours of sleep every night.

Not too bad of a schedule. What I’ve learned through working from home, is that you have to be available more than the standard 9-5, but you don’t have to be “crazy busy”. I will check emails on weekends and while I’m traveling. I am still productive during the work day and everything still gets done. Work smarter, not harder.

Troy and I find that on the occasion when we do go into our actual offices, we get crazy busy. Whether it’s because we are interacting with more people or because people will schedule face-to-face meetings, I’ve found that when I’m in the workplace I am pushed to capacity and it’s a bit draining. The same amount of work gets done, but I don’t get winded working from home….

It’s definitely a different environment, and there are times when I absolutely need to get out of the house. We probably will not be working from home forever, but it’s given me/us a better sense of how we operate, how we can be effective/productive, and how we can more efficiently use our time.

Even if you’re not a telecommuter, imagine how many hours you could save by better knowing how you work. Whether it’s at night or super early in the morning, with loud music or absolute quiet, with little breaks or powering straight through, what works for you?