The past couple of months has been more than unusually web-work-busy for me. I launched several new sites and still have a number of projects in my “to be completed” pile. I’ve had so much work on my desk — about the time I think I see some light at the other end — three or four more projects march through the door, so many people pulling me in different directions, had to get my taxes ready for my accountant (when you don’t keep up with the paperwork all year long this makes for some heavy duty work), try to keep some semblance of a clean house (I gave up cooking many years ago), work my regular full-time job — you know the one that provides me with health insurance, life insurance and a regular paycheck, walk the dogs as often as I can which isn’t nearly often enough, try to sneak in a little time with the grandkids and squeak out four to five hours of sleep a night. Oh yeah and somewhere in there spend some time with my husband when he’s in off the road. My boss has told me I’m the best multi-tasker they have, yet even with that going for me it wasn’t enough.
Believe me I’m not complaining. I wished for a very long time to have this much web work (it’s called being successful!) but sometimes what I wouldn’t give for someone to invent a 48 hour day for me or at the very least morph me into an octopus so I’d have more hands to do all of this with. Realty is that even though I have web-help to dole some of this work out to, sometimes I still can’t peddle fast enough.
Yesterday I found myself screaming “UNCLE!” I decided enough’s enough of this custom written instructions thing. I had to come up with a more efficient way to teach my clients how to work in their WordPress sites. It’s just not right for them to have to wait on me and the guilt of me not getting them done in a timely fashion was one monkey on my back I wanted OFF!
Brainstorming for a Solution
I was stuck on “There’s GOT to be a better way!” to handle this instructions thing. I finally saw that I was in a rut and doing things purely out of habit. All these years I’d written detailed instructions, different for each and every site’s needs. With more and more clients wanting WordPress sites, I could see the writing on the wall and believe me, this graffiti ain’t pretty. If I was going to be able to do design work and develop websites, I had to find a way to better deal with the not-so-pretty or fun but necessary evil of the after launch details. But what could I do to change this for the better? Send them all off to Google for help? Dig up a bunch of Googled links myself and pass them along? NOT going to happen. My clients are more important to me and deserve much better than that.
My brain got so fried I couldn’t think straight anymore and all of this was definitely impeding progress everywhere else I tried to work. Thoughts of “I have to get these done!” wouldn’t even die a slow death. This was making me seriously crazy to the point that I just wanted to throw up my hands and scream “I quit!”
I woke up last night, got my FurKids dinner ready (and apologized to them for the umpteenth time that I wouldn’t have time to take them for one of our favorite overnight walks — AGAIN!) and set my first pot of coffee for the night to brewing (I go through two or three pots a night when I’m web-working). While I was doing all of this, I could think of nothing else but that I hated what I was going to have work on, how guilty I felt for not having them done yet and for having to work instead of taking some much needed time for us and our nighttime walks. I’m sure you’ve all been there at least once in your lives although most of you probably have skin-kids instead of furkids to feel guilty about neglecting because you have to work.
Brain Fart Meets Brainstorm
I had to face the cold hard fact that my brainstorming was more brain-farting than anything else and that I was well past being tired and frustrated with the whole thing. If I wanted to dig myself out of this mess, I had to come up with a long term solution that would do away with the never-ending “Finish the site and write the instructions routine.” As I approached my computer I literally cringed. I didn’t even want to sit down in front of it. My brain was swimming with thoughts of “I’d really rather dig a hole in the back yard, climb in and make the world go away … or better yet … leash up the dogs and just walk all night!” when suddenly and without any notice whatsoever … the brainstorm smacked me upside the head.
Oh good grief! “Duh, Earth to Deb … what the heck took you so long to figure this out?” Why not write a set of basic tutorials in such a way that would work for most of my client’s initial purposes and put them on my website? I can then send them their login information and a link to Page 1 so they can get started. I’d still have to write custom instructions for special features but by putting some simple beginner’s tutorials online, I’d have more time to be able to write the specialty feature instructions and in the mean time they can delve into learning the basics.
Lots of Coffee and No Walk but …
I managed to get five basic tutorials written and online overnight, complete with some screen shots for reference purposes. Not a bad night’s work if I do say so myself.
BREAK TIME! I may have missed our favorite walk time but I’ve been at this for about 16 hours now and an overdue walk is better than no walk at all so me and the FurKids are outa here!
If you’re interested in learning a bit about my way of working in WordPress, you can start by reading my Wordpress Tutorials.