Changing the Workflow to Get More Done

IMG_6433If you show up somewhere with your shirt on backwards, someone usually lets you know. People realize right away that the picture is on the back, the buttons aren’t where they belong, and the shirt just isn’t right. A friend or kind-hearted passer-by whispers in your ear, or perhaps you catch a look at yourself in a mirror. You excuse yourself to the bathroom and turn things around.

If only everything worked that way. Earlier this week, I was behind on my work. For months now, I’ve been behind on my work. Every day, I do the same thing:

  • Find and post articles to @newsfromtengrrl.
  • Answer any pending email messages.
  • Write the blog posts that are due.
  • Set up outgoing social networking posts for @RWTnow and @BedfordBits.

Intersperse spot checking email, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, and you have a pretty good picture of my day.

The problem was that by the time I got through finding the articles I post to @newsfromtengrrl, I usually have to stop and go take care of family duties. When I got back to my work later in the evening, I felt anxious and stressed. The “real” work that I needed to do, the blog posts and social networking updates, only got done when I was in panic mode (and often tired). Many times, I found myself in the wee hours of morning sleepily wondering if I could just push a few things off till the next day.

One afternoon this week, I found my stress levels rising. I hadn’t finished finding posts for @newsfromtengrrl, yet I only had about 30 minutes left before I had to clean the kitchen and cook dinner. The inner dialogue started:

Why can’t I ever get enough done? The afternoon is gone, and I still haven’t gotten to the real work. Damn it. I never get to what I need to because of the stupid news posts. But I have to finish the news posts before 6:45 so that the blog post goes up by midnight.

Out of some corner of my mind, a quieter, calmer voice said, “You could change the settings for the blog post, you know. You made this problem when you decided the post needed to go up at midnight.”

It wasn’t just a lightbulb moment.

There were rainbows. And unicorns. And glitter.

For nearly a year, I have been doing my work backwards, but no one had kindly leaned over and whispered in my ear until now! So a couple of days ago, I flipped my work flow. The news articles are the last thing I look for. Writing blog posts and status updates come first. I reset the WordPress plug-in so that my blog posts go up at noon instead of midnight.

It’s made all the difference. Look, here I am actually writing a blog post and the dinner fixings aren’t even out of the refrigerator!


[Photo: IMG_6433 by abbybatchelder, on Flickr]