There are some times when being in business for yourself is kind of a drag.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing, I love the technical aspects of all the code tweaking and messing about with making pretty designs work as amazing, functional websites. I love the freedom that’s inherent with freelance… That’s the cool stuff.
The business side of being in business? For me? Less fun. Less free.
So, while it may seem unconnected to the business of doing business, let me start by showing you this video. It’s a commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven that, among other things, outlines the value of making your bed in the morning.
I’ll wait for you to get the gist.. (or watch the whole thing, you should, it’s awesome…)
So, here’s where it applies to me.
I’m not that good at making my bed. I always feel like there are more important things to do… but the thing I’ve noticed is that by NOT making my bed, the whole rest of my bedroom starts to look messy, it seems less important to pick up clothes that missed the laundry hamper off the floor … but if I make the bed? The rest happens easier… with the bed all neat and tidy, it just sets a much brighter tone for the whole room…
Which by extension, really does start to set the tone for the whole house.
SO I took the Admiral’s advice… I started making my bed. I started making a few other changes too… I started doing the dishes before I settled down in front of the tv for the evening… Sometimes I’d put the kettle on, and instead of going back to the computer to tweak sites while I waited for it to boil I’d do little kitchen jobs like wiping down the stove, putting away the groceries, or sweeping the floor. Tiny little things that have meant my house has stayed that little bit neater just because of a couple of simple changes. The bonus? With my house that tiny bit neater? I just felt a whole lot more in control… which for me is kind of a big deal.
I know, I know, you’re still wondering what this has to do with the business of business and office freedom…
Well, the way I manage some of the sites and projects I have on the go, and some of the ways I manage my maintenance clients AND the way I manage my inbox had started to feel rather a lot like that messy bedroom. I have a few tools that are supposed to make things easier, but unless I actually use those tools, well, things just stayed messy, and other parts of my business management also started to slide.
Enter Infinite WP.
I have had this great tool in my tool kit for ages. I used to have a few sites running on it, but I’d never sat down and installed EVERYONE on it. However, I’d begun to notice that a number of clients, past and present, had sites that were woefully in need of updates, (bordering on really bad security risks) and because I was only ever casting my eye over them when things went wrong I started to feel like I needed to take steps to actually get the whole site management shebang under control.
So, I sat down on a recent weekend, took the bull by the horns and got a whole new Infinite WP setup working on my awesome new host’s servers (IWP had stopped working at my old host since they upgraded some thing or another) and one by one I installed the client plugin on each site and added them into the Infinite WP dashboard. A grand total of around 47 sites.
Is this the end to all my organisational woes? No, of course not, but there are a couple of things about it that are kind of like having made the bed… getting this element of client management sorted out has started to bring some of the other things more into line.
Because I’m not wasting time going back and forth across those 47 sites to do updates, or backups, or to just check in and make sure everything is running smoothly I have much more time to get some of those other little jobs out of the way… like getting all my maintenance clients using my project management tool.
Because I’m not wasting time trying to find logins for sites I haven’t checked in on for quite some time (yes some clients pre date my password keeper) I can concentrate on getting down and dirty with my inbox to get that sucker back to Inbox:Zero.
Because I can hook up Infinite WP with my uptime monitor I’m getting ahead of the game and letting clients know their site’s are down (rare, very rare) instead of getting panicked calls from them informing ME … Damn, this IWP is making me look gooooood!
Because Infinite WP is taking a whole lot of fiddly annoying tasks off my hands, I have a whole lot more time to be doing the things I love, like tweaking that code and making websites fly…
So, to wrap up the metaphor… getting my sites squared away in this way is like the business equivalent of making my bed. Everything looks neater, I feel lighter and I can now focus on the fun bits… because I’m doing more of the fun stuff it feels as like Infinite WP has been putting the free back in my freelance.
So I gotta ask… am I the only one? What’s your office equivalent of making the bed? What’s your office ‘freedom’ tool?
Disclosure: This is a post that’s been in drafts since I saw the Admiral’s speech and started getting my sh*t together… the freedom part? That’s because I’m playing along with Infinite WP for some cool discounts on their product… you can read more about that here.