Regular readers know that I design private jets along with residential interiors. People constantly ask me if I get to fly on private jets and the answer is “yes, occasionally.” It would be awfully tough to design them and not fly on them. But my interior design world can be very different from personal world.
My work life is very fantastic most days and often requires pinching myself and asking “is this really happening?” And on other days I’m at a client’s house cleaning the floors on my hands and knees before a rug installation or breaking down boxes and sifting through mounds of popcorn searching for the missing lamp finial. It’s always about design and helping clients have the best possible surroundings even when it’s not glamorous.
The same goes for my “real life.” I found myself chuckling at the irony of my dual worlds one night at the store when I was asking the produce guy if the organic strawberries were still on sale after I had just landed from flying cross country on a client’s $45 million dollar jet. And that kind of sums me up. I am the girl who looks for a coupon one minute and then buys olives for $35/pound after saving three dollars on detergent.
I think that contributes to being a successful designer. That same client who’s jet I was flying on was just as concerned about her budget just like any of my other clients. A little different budget perhaps but still a budget. Clients want to know that you are judicious with their money; spending where it’s important (for me that can be imported olives) and saving where possible.
Time management can hold the same ironies. Take for example last Monday when my blog about Time Management posted. If I were going to be completely honest here I would tell you that as that blog posted I was dragging around with my eyelids propped open with coffee and toothpicks. Why? Oh, I stayed up super late the night before since I was having computer issues. As a result I wasn’t as sharp as I am normally and ended my day by falling (oh yes) at Beans’ school and spraining my ankle. More irony? The football trainer and one of the coaches examined my ankle, iced me and bandaged me right there at the school. Talk about time saving…I didn’t have to make the dreaded ER trip!
I ended up watching Dora The Explorer with the Beans instead of all the THINGS I had planned…and that’ s exactly what was supposed to be happening. The lesson? Not everything goes as planned every day but trying to be as productive as possible in case things go awry helps tremendously.
Life is like that. Some days are just going to be like THAT. And there isn’t anything you can do- except breathe and see the positive in it. And laugh…which we like to do no matter what.
This is what I thought immediately after I fell and realized I wasn’t going to recover quickly…
Until recently, I have operated on the philosophy that “everything will be alright.” Comforting, right? A spiritual mentor updated me on my thoughts when she told me this:
Yes! EVEN BETTER! Everything already IS alright. As it is…I just have to adjust my thinking to accept that.
So in the hopes of making everything run a little more smoothly just in case life hands me ONE of THOSE days…
Here are some time savers/helpful hints (whatever you want to call them). These have been collected from all of you who nicely emailed me, commented on my Facebook Page and left comments on my last post about time management as well as things I have tried with success.
1. Have every last detail done the night before- Who would have thought we would be laying out our clothes after grade school, but it works. I would rather not be searching for the right shoe when I have to meet my contractor in fifteen minutes. Mr. V and the Beans make a game out of putting together her outfit every night before her bedtime and I always enjoy seeing what they came up with! This goes for everything related to “the next morning.” Beans has lunch at school but other moms who pack lunches have told me they always have the lunches ready to go the night before. They also go as far as planning breakfasts–which makes a lot of sense.
2. Leave it by the door- Because my mind is often thinking about tile on a job site or backordered fabric I need to see what I have to take when I’m leaving rather than think about it. If I see it, I take it. We have a “station” near the side door where we leave Beans’ backpack, keys, phone and ANYTHING else I need to put in the car. Better yet, at times I will load everything I need into the car the night before.
3. Online Grocery Shopping & Drugstore.com- Are you kidding me? I thought shopping in my pajamas only worked when it came to Amazon or Nordstrom. But a kindly neighbor suggested I order my groceries online and pick them up at the store. Genius. I have a list already in my account (this takes about a half hour to set up for the first time) and I quickly check off what I need every week. I can add or delete based on what’s on special (organic strawberries I hope)! They have everything bagged and ready…I just pull up at a designated time and they load the car. SAVES ME HOURS! My grocery store charges $4.95 for this service and it is SO worth it for me. Sometimes they run a free week so check with your local store- I know Whole Foods offers this as well. I also love Drugstore.com and Beauty.com for toiletries and cosmetic items. These sites ship to the house and shopping online prevents me from spending hours in Target looking at hand soap and wrapping paper.
4. Brain Dump- I keep a pad by my bed for anything that occurs to me as I am retiring for the night–or something that wakes me up. I brain dump at the end of each day (one of my lists) or when my assistant and I are driving from an appointment. I find that “cleaning” out my head really helps me focus. Circular thinking is deadly to creatives. Circular thinking is when your gray matter cannot get off the hamster wheel and you spin and spin and spin. This in itself is a time waster!
5. Daily/Weekly Check Ins- I do this with my staff and with the ever patient Mr. V. It’s critical that we know what is going on with each other. With my staff we do a client/vendor status meeting to keep everyone in the loop as to what needs to happen, what’s happening and what we want to avoid happening. We keep them brief however, because meetings with no purpose are time wasters. With Mr. V it’s more about how Beans is and what she has going on as well as what’s scheduled for each of our work situations. We also try to do a date night every week where we DON’T talk about this stuff but that’s a topic for another post. I could call it “SHIPS THAT PASS IN THE NIGHT- HOW TO KEEP A HAPPY MARRIAGE AFLOAT IN BUSY WATERS…”
6. SLEEP! This goes with number 1. I read in a book recently that your day starts the night before. Boy, howdy is that ever true. I am way too old not to get my proper sleep. I feel drugged, sore, prone to sadness and carb binging when I don’t sleep. I also have a very short temper and can’t seem to grasp the bigger picture of anything when I am worn out. The other thing someone recently shared with me was NO SCREENS BEFORE BED. An hour before bed, tune out from tv, iPads, laptops and iPhones. Especially the last three. Lighted screens mess with your capacity to sleep deeply. Not to mention the tendency to spend an hour more than you thought checking Pinterest.
7. Meals planned. Make two and freeze one for later- I admit I have never tried the “Make two” concept but a reader suggested this and I think it’s genius. She said she likes to do it with lasagna which freezes well. I do plan my meals for the week though and as long as we can stick with it and not switch course to the Thai restaurant at the last minute on a tired Tuesday, it’s a great idea. I can quickly implement my online grocery list and add anything I need for a particular recipe. In the worst case scenario, I always keep fresh pasta packages from Trader Joe’s (and some of their entrees too) in the refrigerator that I can throw together. If anyone has any other ideas about dinner time savings I would be forever indebted!
8. Plan more time than I thought the task would take- How many times have we perfectly scheduled our entire day only to have the whole thing go off track by unexpected traffic or a four year old who won’t put on their underwear? Whether it’s a doctor appointment or a client meeting or working on a project, I have started giving myself a time cushion. If I get done or arrive early then I can relax and not rush. And an “unhurried Amy” is a “happy Amy.”
All in all, life is going to mess with my schedule. And like the irony in my quest for strawberries on sale vs. private jets, it seems the days I most need things to go according to plan are the days when things go cuckoo. It’s nice to know that we are all in the same boat in our desire to make things a little better and a little more organized in our daily lives. It’s also a relief to know that no one is perfect.
Thanks again for all of your tips. Please keep them coming and remember…
Thanks for reading,
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