Productivity = Daytime^(-1) * Caffeine

Just in case you didn’t quite follow along, productivity is inversely related to daytime hours and is compounded by caffeine. At least it is for me.

Night Owl - Working At Night

I’ve always believed that the daytime is meant for living. You know, experiencing the world, meeting people, soaking up the sunshine. It has always seemed counterintuitive that people slaved away in cubicles during the most beautiful hours of the day. For me, some of my best “work” is done during the day. I get inspired by conversations, sights, and sounds. I get to meet other business owners. I get to engage in volunteer work.

The bulk of my production work is done at night. See, during the day, my email box queues up with requests from my clients…website fixes, inquiries, support requests, etc. Some of my clients are very much like me and think aloud in their emails, and sometimes they end up resolving their own issues before I ever get involved. (A win for all!) However, I find that it is easier for me to provide support in bursts in the evening hour when I am not being inundated with requests and emails/calls flying back and forth. Contrary to popular belief it is not because I am avoiding responsibility or human contact…it is just easier to work when I’m focused on batches of projects. (I do my best to answer urgent requests or acknowledge receipt of emails via my mobile.)

As a freelancer I have to budget my time wisely. If I keep jumping from task to task I’ll get nowhere quickly. But, if I allow like projects to accumulate, I’ll be able to process them quickly since I generally work in zones…sometimes I’m in the coding zone. Sometimes I’m in a design zone. Sometimes I’m in the social media zone. And sometime’s I’m in a copywriting zone.

How do you manage your creative or productive energy? Any tips you want to share?

Getting Dressed For Work Is Kind Of A Big Deal

I’ve always loved dressing up.

Amara Poolswasdi, Dressed For Work

For some girls, that means whoring out or dressing skanky. For me, it’s always meant sophisticated/business casual. I grew up wanting to dress older than I actually was because I wanted to be taken seriously. In high school I was that annoying girl who really wanted to wear cardigans, slacks, turtlenecks, button-down shirts, and heels. (As a matter of fact, after I got my driver license, those were the exact pieces I bought after I drove myself to the mall. I was only sixteen at the time.)

To an extent I am still that girl. Unfortunately at my current age it ends up confusing a lot of people. “Is this woman 40 with amazing skin?”

I realize that I am in the business of packaging identities. Graphic design, marketing, and communications is all about what you say and how you say it. I am not really into fashion per se. I enjoy perusing magazines from time to time or window shopping like the rest, but every once in awhile I emerge from a maelstrom of identity-crisis inducing incidents as a reincarnated and refreshed creative. I find that it pays to let it show.

A significant other recently pointed out that as a designer, I had to pay more attention to the details of my own presentation. It wasn’t enough to have a creative portfolio or to have artistic interests. Not only do you have to play the part, you have to look it too. Time and time again, I’ve found a modicum of truth behind that statement. So, although I am not going to throw out all of my conservative clothing, I do resolve to add a bit more flair and fun into my wardrobe. (That can take the form of interesting accessories, rather than major pieces.) I want to approach my own presentation that I would my client’s brand identity, website design, or copywriting work. I want it to be fun, interesting, and leave something up to the imagination! I want people to dig deeper and find the double meaning.

The thing about getting dressed for work is that it puts you in the right frame of mind. Even though I work from home, I don’t have to look like it. Why wear drab clothes and not bother getting out of bed? It makes me feel lazy; therefore, I present myself lazily and my work comes off very sloppy. But, if I take the time to get dressed and accessorize, it helps me practice my design skills well before I begin putting pen to paper or mouse to screen.

Today it took me about five seconds to decide to snazzy up my outfit. Why? I’m under deadline today! I have to get a website deployed later this afternoon and get my client’s book out to the publisher. Now that I’m in the right frame of mind, I can think creatively and get the job done with some…wait for it…flair!

Office Space Flair