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Knowing when to step back and take a deep breath April 22, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

Business has started to pick up again (thank goodness!), and I had an Aha moment yesterday that I wanted to share with you. I got absolutely slammed with work over the past weekend. I had 27,000 words to proofread for one client and 5,000 words for another, several personal documents to translate for an individual, and a difficult AGB that I needed to finish. And then another client called begging me to accept another proofreading job (“only 300 lines”). I had initially turned them down flat-out, explaining I simply had too much to do as it was, but then the owner called and I managed to let her talk me into putting it off until Monday. Little did I know she meant Monday at noon my time, but that’s another story unto itself. Monday rolled around, and I had finished everything but the 27,000 words and the rush job. Somehow over the weekend or in the chaos of Monday morning between answering phone calls from the client every ten minutes and scrambling to make the deadline (I finally had to put my foot down and tell them in no uncertain terms to stop calling or I wouldn’t make the deadline), I somehow managed to lose the translation of the personal documents.

I needed to print the pages out yesterday to have it notarized and mail it to the client, and I could not find the file on my hard drive. I have a system that usually always works. Anything I am working on is either in the Attachments folder of my e-mail program or My Documents. Once I finish the job (and send the invoice) I zip up all the files and move them to an archive that is broken down by month and delete them from My Documents. When I get crazy busy, this sometimes has to wait until things slow down enough that I have time to do it.

I looked for the file I needed in both folders – three times! – and could not find it. I looked in my temporary folders. I started to wonder if I had possibly translated it and then forgotten to save the file in the franticness of the weekend. Talk about a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach… I couldn’t remember what I had called it, but I had a vague idea. I definitely knew that it contained the client’s last name. I initiated a search of the hard drive, searching for the client’s last name inside the file itself, and went off to make a cup of tea. As the water started boiling, it occurred to me that I had used a template of a birth certificate and that the file might have been saved in my Templates subfolder. Sure enough – it was!

Organization of files on your computer is so important. I know several colleagues who constantly lose files because they don’t know where they have saved them. I am a double Virgo, so this kind of disorganization would drive me insane. I lost 15 minutes yesterday trying to find the file. Being organized is important, but so is stepping back and taking a deep breath every once in a while. If I hadn’t stepped back and made a cup of tea I might still be searching for the file…



1. Alejandro Moreno - April 23, 2009

Not bad for a weekend 🙂

2. Karen Tkaczyk - April 24, 2009

Wise advice Jill.
I’m juggling several big projects at the moment (as well as the family) and stopping to take a deep breath and remember what important tasks should be given priority makes it all more manageable.

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