16.75 Hours on My iPhone

16.75 Hours on My iPhone

4:45am: Alarm, turned off. Got calendar reminder that it was my turn to post the blog today (oooops!)

4:46am: Check and respond to texts and emails from while my phone was on sleep (9pm to 5am).

4:50am: Check Instagram and Facebook (the app is back on my phone. I am PATHETIC).

4:55am: Check calendar to determine what the heck I am supposed to do today and how to dress appropriately (any meetings to dress up for?)

4:59am: Check weather app. Hot today. Cold at baseball tonight. Welcome to Spring in Northern California.

5:00am: Got to my exercise studio app to make sure I am signed up for the 5:30am class. Sign up for the Wednesday and weekend classes.

5:02am: Flashlight.

5:10am: Check Evernote app (where I keep all my to do lists).

6:18am: Check emails and texts post Dailey Cycle class.

6:22am: Starbucks App: Buy coffee.

7:00am: Look up a new recipe I want to try on my favorite cooking app (Inspiralized).

7:10am: Read The Skimm for some daily world news summaries. If you are not getting this daily email, you should.

7:15am: Order groceries from Instacart for delivery tonight after my son’s baseball game. Includes ingredients for the recipe I want to try.

8:10am: Working from home for a few hours. Looking at emails as they come in. Responding, forwarding on laptop.

9:40am: Take a picture of something funny at my daughters camp I saw to post later to my private friend group on Facebook.

9:50am: Check Google Maps to make sure I know quickest route to get to work after dropping off my daughter at Spring Break tennis camp.

10:11am: Call my dad to make sure he can provide lunch for my son today (they are hanging out….Spring Break baby!)

10:15am: Check email and respond to a text (at a long stoplight).

10:18am: Take a picture of a gaggle (?) of turkeys in our vineyard as I am driving in.

10:50am: Check and respond to email (my work desktop is not working…ahhhh!)

11:00am: Edit picture on CameraPlus app.

11:15am: Post edited turkey picture on winery Instagram page, Facebook page, Twitter and Flickr.

11:32am: Check LinkedIn app and respond to connection request. Look up a phone number and email address of a connection. Scroll through posts and relevant industry news.

11:38am: Take a picture of a magazine cover (his CEO is on it) and text to my husband.

11:49am: Install iOS 8.3 while waiting for my desktop to load Outlook. Errors are killing me.

(Lunch)

12:03pm: Checked Facebook while my food was in the microwave. Jealous of my friends that are posting pictures from Mexico. Reminded myself not to check Facebook this week due to inevitable Spring Break envy.

12:14pm: What time is it?

12:17pm: Checked Shopify app for my “side project” fitness sleeve business. No orders yet today. 😦

12:22pm: Via Safari, checked web site of Gobble, meal delivery service, for meals next week.

12:24pm: Responded to Evite for a birthday party for my daughter this weekend.

12:55pm: Double checked the family Google calendar entry of my son’s baseball game tonight. Place and time.

(In a meeting)

1:10pm: Booked two work lunches via OpenTable for the next two weeks.

1:15pm: Checked email.

1:16pm: Cancelled one of the work lunches for next week via OpenTable (based on one of the emails received).

1:40pm: Looked up the web site and images via Safari App for a country performer that is playing at the winery later in the year, as discussed in the meeting. To be announced!

1:42pm: Scheduled personal lunch via text for next week with a friend.

2:01pm: Zappos app: eyed those shoes I want.

2:04pm: Listened to a new voicemail, which is sent to me as an attachment in an email (love that my work vm does that).

2:06pm: Sent an email to task someone at my office with something (per the voicemail I received.)

2:20pm: Responded to a group text about soccer carpool this week.

(Out of meeting)

2:22pm: Skimmed several wine industry article links (sent to me in an email). Feeling bad for some growers in Lodi that lost a decent amount of their crop from a freak hailstorm.

3:02: Posted and commented on funny picture in my private friends Facebook group.

3:08pm: Responded to a text from my Instacart shopper.

(in car)

3:15 Called husband to get son’s cleats and bring to baseball game. No answer.

3:18: Husband called back. Mission accomplished.

(Home for ten minutes then to Little League field)

4:31: Texting back and forth with hairdresser to schedule appointment.

5:01: Hair dresser calls. Missed it. Still no appointment scheduled.

5:15: Daughter commandeers phone at son’s baseball game.

6:45: Game over. Take phone back. Check email. Answer three customer emails.

6:47: Text husband (a coach) where we are going for dinner.

7:15: Check Facebook. F you Mexico. Why am I not there?

7:45: Receive call from Instacart shopper. He’s early. Just pulling up at home.

7:51: Call Instacart shopper…he gave me one of the wrong bags. Is this supposed to save me time? Yes yes, it does.

8:01: Buy cute shoes on Zappos.

8:30: Texting with a few friends during break from GoT. Check work social media pages to see if anything exciting is going on.

9:15: Set alarm. Check email, Instagram and Facebook. Retire to iPad to read a book on Kindle app.

Surviving WFH + Home Construction

Surviving WFH + Home Construction

construction-smallI’m 5 weeks into a home construction project, and have been challenged daily on surviving this endeavor. Did I mention that I run my company primarily from home 24/7? On top of having two kids and a paranoid cat that hates loud noises? Plus a husband who works 45 minutes away, and must. be. at. his. job. by 7am every day?

Yeah, that’s me.

We decided to add a “mud room” onto our home – so basically I can stop obsessively cleaning and griping that my formal living area is littered with kids shoes and sports equipment. Now that we’re in the throws of construction, this grand idea is perhaps kicking back at me.

And because I work from home and am known to be detailed oriented, (hey – this addition is my brainchild), I can just add this onto my plate, right? Easy-peasy. It’s certainly not as demanding as coding a prototype, running strategy for companies, or launching a product, right?

Wrong.

After I have learned these lessons the hard way, I hope each lesson can save your sanity, work, project and personal life.

Construction 101 – 201

Like it or not, since you are the person that everyone will see the most, you will be on point to make critical decisions, unexpectedly. My advice to personally survive this is to educate yourself before the project begins.

Learn how to read plans. Understand the type of help that will do each line, squiggle, block and circle on the plans. Even though you are not responsible for project management, knowing what’s going on and how it could impact your work schedule is critical.

Know the “contact points” where two different workers need to work together, and know the demarkation between the crew’s objectives. If the sequence does not make sense, ask your GC about it. When new crews are coming onto the site, they may ask you questions, and the more you know, the less time you spend away from your work, or worse – giving them bad directions. I have been surprised how many times two crews looked at me for the answer on these little yet important decisions.

The GC is your new BFF

Know that your GC is on your side and will do a great job handling the contractors. But if there is too much or too little interaction with your GC a myriad of problems can arise. You and the GC should establish a communication pattern covering the most critical project elements that is most conducive to your sometimes unforgiving work schedule is critical to maintain sanity.

Start and end the week with a GC project meeting. Cover the important things like: daily work and contractor schedule, inspections, onsite management and decision points, and most importantly payments due. We also talk about my work travel plans (so there’s someone here to secure the place and give help) a week in advance. If these meetings are regimented and routine, the stress around your project management participation is alleviated.

Spousal Involvement

“Let’s chat later.” I’ve had to establish with my spouse when he wants to talk about the project and I need to get work done, and just cant talk now. He just has to wait as most big construction decisions don’t need to be talked about at 10:30am on a Tuesday. Putting brain energy toward your business instead of directing it to your construction during the workday is a must do.

Our Saw Horse Dance. Every morning seahorses awake, and do a dance with their spouse before taking off for the day. My husband and I do a “Saw Horse” dance, because we catch up every night and discuss the projects and any upcoming decision points. I usually have a list written down to cover, and use that as our agenda so there’s a beginning and end to the shop talk, and we can then talk about being a family or something else important.

Weekend work is now the norm. There’s always extra business that can’t get done during the construction cacophony. I’ve been adjusting some work activities that are not compatible with loud noises and interruptions to be finished during the weekend. Planning out your projects that accounts for your tolerance to noise and interruptions will reduce your stress. It may mean no more late nights/ late mornings, but the better quality output is worth the sacrifice. Having a spouse on board to support the extra work and play with the kids while you’re finishing projects is super helpful too.

Personal Planning

Project manage the construction to avoid your worst fears. Put in place the right tools to help you avoid stressing out and stay focused on your work, not the project.

For better budget management:

  • Build your own project management spreadsheet and bonus points if you add in cash flow/ payment tracking.
  • Take pictures of every contract, invoice, and keep them on your phone.

For better project management:

  • Get everyone to use a project management tool. We use Evernote, and it’s been a saving grace. Checklists, reminders, collaboration spaces (chat rooms) super helpful vs. always adding important ideas on text strings.

For better work efforts:

  • Add a new calendar type called “Construction” onto your calendar and block out noisy/ distracting construction times a week in advance. This way when you need to set up a meeting, you know if you can actually talk at your house or if you need to pick a different location.
  • Get earplugs or noise canceling headsets. Not hearing the contractor conversations is really helpful.

For the emergency work conversations:

  • Find out where you have the best noise cancellation and access to WiFi. I found out that by being inside my parked car with the doors shut is still in my home’s WiFi signal reach for those unplanned / must-do calls.
  • Delay conversations until the crew is on their 30 minute lunch break. 11:30 – noon every day I have critical calls, planned.

For making better construction decisions:

  • Our kids are getting used to our Saturday mornings filled with construction discussions and then something fun. Going to hardware stores, lumber yards first thing on Saturday helps keep decisions moving.

For accommodating hard deadlines:

  • To accommodate restricted commercial hours, I’ve been taking a late lunch break before the kids get out of school, and visit the businesses who have restricted hours. It meets the deadline requirements, and sets time aside for good decision making.

Know Thyself

I know I’m the most productive in the morning. And I’m the GC for my business, so I need to spend that brilliant and depleting brain power on my company’s projects, and not on the construction project. I’ve adjusted my schedule to now account for the potential construction distractions in addition to the other responsibilities that I’ve signed up to fulfill. If something arises that’s not worth my highest brain power, I try to delegate it to later in the afternoon or night. If decisions require more thought than 3 minutes, I delegate it to my GC, or put it on my list to review that night with my spouse.

I also know when I need a break. I hit that wall earlier last week, and my husband took time off of work to jump in, and it’s been a saving grace. We got things accomplished that I could not shoulder alone – and that too has kept my stress down.

Construction and Working From Home can be a brutal combination if you don’t stay on top of what can affect you the most adversely. Be honest with yourself about your thought and contribution quality, and get everyone involved to understand those needs. And always remember, this too shall pass.