Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Rules of Work Horse

Over the years, a common theme in my life is that people call me a "work horse." For some reason my mind flashes to a Clydesdale humping the farm field, dragging a heavy plow. I shake my head and return to reality now. Since I'm no fan of the idea that one must pull a heavy plow to get a lot of work done in a day, I thought I would much rather give you some tips on why it is that most people seem to associate the Clydesdale with yours truly. The real reason is that over the years I have learned some important lessons on how to get a lot done in a day. I thought you would appreciate my insight.

Organization first and routine second -- when I first got into business, I set up my paperwork and got all my primary documentation stored and on-the-ready. I have central contracts, invoices and legal documents pre-written and on stand-by for when a need rises. I recently had a very unappreciative former business associate who worked with me and asked for assistance in this area. She blithely took it for granted that handing over this kind of paperwork was a no-brainer and lacked appreciation for its original creation. A lot of work was poured into the creation of that documentation. So, don't assume it's not a big deal like this person did, because it was just given to her. Pay close attention to getting it set up and done ahead of time so you can efficiently pull out the template each time you need to use a form. Incidentally I have found that whenever you give someone something, it's rarely appreciated or valued -- taken for granted, yes.

Routine second and goals third -- set up a daily routine of activities you do in a certain order. If you follow your routine you will also stay organized. I get up every day, and after taking my kids to school, I answer morning email followed by writing this blog. I look at the blog's analytics to ensure I'm on track, and then in short order, I move onto client work. First, public relations followed by editorial work. I do not break the routine unless there is unexpected project. This routine ensures I get X amount of work finished each day.

Goals always -- within that routine, I set up goals. I will do X number of pitches to the media. I will complete X number of pages edited. I actually edit per chapter. So, I would edit until I finished an entire chapter, which means authors see between 4-5 new chapters each week, which looks very productive. The same goes for the PR pitches to the media. The clients see X number of pitches transparently landing in their email boxes to show them who we reached out to.

Those key tips are what make my work so effective, keep work moving forward, and keep clients blessedly contented. And that my Friend-Os is the super secret sauce to my success.

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