My website design business is supposed to be a part-time gig. But, like many of you know, being an entrepreneur and small business owner makes that “part-time” thing really hard to stick to. Especially when my computer and iPhone are within arm’s reach most of the day and I don’t have an office outside my home where I can leave my work. The past two posts I wrote are about productivity and the tools I use to manage my time efficiently. This post is the last in this productivity series and I’ll be talking about juggling work and life and how productivity factors into the mix.
In my last post, I talked about productivity, getting things done and why that system works for me (and a lot of others). It’s the system I fall back on and know I can trust when life and work get hectic. I used to rely on a Moleskine notebook to hold all of my todo lists, but over the past few years, I’ve transitioned to relying more on my iPhone and electronic note-taking. While I still carry around a small notebook, I find it easier just to get my notes into my electronic system immediately rather than translate them from paper later.
But my productivity system doesn’t rely simply on todo lists. In today’s digital world, we’re processing a ton of information, from emails to social media feeds to texts. Here are the tools that help me work smarter and more productively. Some of these tools are business and design-related and others are for personal productivity. For me, work and personal life are fairly intertwined (I work from my home, after all!), so many of my tools serve both purposes.
I’m a big fan of being productive. In a pretty geeky way, actually. I love the Getting Things Done methodology. David Allen’s book changed my life. I’ve been reading Lifehacker since its inception and am always on the lookout for finding ways to be more productive. I’m busy; who isn’t? I’ve got young children, a growing business, friends and family I like to hang out with and a lot of hobbies that I like to spend time on. The days aren’t getting any longer and I. love. to. sleep. I’m not one of those people that can get by on four or five hours of sleep. I need a good seven hours to function.
So I’m constantly in search of new tools and ways to make my life easier, both personally and in my business. When I started writing this blog post, I thought I’d just talk about productivity, in general, but then I realized that there’s way too much to cover in just one post, so I’m going to break it into three parts. This first part will focus on the basics of Getting Things Done (or GTD), why it works for me and why it’s important to find your own “system” that you trust.
I’ve been lucky to work with a wide range of amazing, passionate business owners. We’ve worked closely to design and build their website in a way that represents and shows off their business in unique ways. And during these phases of design and growth, I’ve come across some really cool WordPress plugins.
WordPress, on its own, is a great platform for blogging and designing a website. But what makes WordPress a truly amazing piece of software is its plugin system. The WordPress plugin directory currently lists 24,023 plugins. That means if you want to do something with your WordPress website, it’s pretty likely there’s a plugin for your need. What is a WordPress plugin? It’s a software component that gives you added functionality or features to an already existing WordPress site. Typically, WordPress plugins are easy to install and implement with little or no programming experience needed.
Among those 24,023 plugins are typical WordPress plugins that most websites and blogs should make use of, like an SEO plugin, an anti-spam plugin, an analytics plugin, and a backup plugin. But there are some really cool plugins out there that can make blogging and connecting with clients easier and more unique.
You may have noticed that things look a little different around here: gone is the overly-corporate-I-do-everything-under-the-sun website. In its place is something that is much more personal and months in the making. Well, five months of actual design and writing. But it’s been stewing for well over a year. You see, I’ve learned a lot this past year. From doing business with some awesome clients and from doing tasks I really didn’t like all that much. I realized what I really love to do and that’s design beautiful websites.