I just started a free Google Sites website that I’m going to use as a company wiki. I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile and now that I have a part time intern, figured it would be a good time to get some of the documents and procedures in a place where I can share them easily (only with people I allow access, of course).

Today was super-busy.

I dreamed about being cold for several hours before finally waking up (with a 40-lb Springer spaniel laying on us) to find that it really was cold – the pilot light in the furnace had gone out and it was 58 F when we checked the temperature. Thankfully it doesn’t seem like it needs a repair, it’s fine tonight.

After breakfast, I finished up a proposal, packed up my project folders and notebook and went to spin class. I really like the group ride classes better than the ones that don’t even pretend to have anything to do with actual road riding. The class was full, but happily I got there early enough to get a pass (people without passes get booted).

Then I had three meetings in a row – first with a current client to discuss the SEO research my partner has completed; the second with a prospective client for whom we’re submitting a joint proposal; and the third for a current web design client who’s decided he wants his logo updated.

I went by the bookstore to look around for some inspiration about the logo, but didn’t really find what I was looking for. No problem; I’ll do some more Googling on the topic tomorrow. But I’m kind of glad today is over, work-wise…

I have a big list of ‘shoulds’ for my business right now. Unfortunately, things are getting in the way: the big problem I’m having with Windows 7 is the main one right now. I’m waiting for Microsoft tech support to call within the next hour for the third troubleshooting session of the week…

Anyway I thought it would help me get moving on some of my business ‘shoulds’ if I wrote about it. Here they are, in no particular order.

  • Think about my new year’s resolutions for Red Kite Creative, and then write a post about them. I’m thinking, but I haven’t written anything down yet…
  • Send out thank-you’s for the referrals I’ve received so far this year (that would be three). I’ve actually acted on this one; I tried to think of something a little out of the ordinary to send as a thank you gift. I love going to the movies, so I bought movie gift cards – enough for a movie and snacks for the client and his/her significant other. And Cinemark lets you upload a custom image to use on your cards – so they’re logo items! They’re in the mail to me at this moment.
  • Write and send out the first email newsletter of 2010. Normally I send this out the first week of the month. I’m hoping to get to it this weekend.
  • Update my client address book and sync it with my Blackberry’s.
  • Send out an email to all current clients offering to update their website’s copyright (if it needs it) and check in to see if I can help them out with anything related to their site or hosting.
  • Redesign NOCO Hosting’s business card. I redesigned the website in November and should probably have cards to match.
  • Get QuickBooks up to date for 2009. This is probably the most urgent thing, because I need hard numbers to send to the city in a few days. I need to sit down for a few hours this weekend and get all the end-of-the-year payments in (and make sure it all reconciles). I really dislike accounting.

I think that’s enough, although I can probably come up with a few more. These are the most pressing items, however, and I’m hoping to tackle several of them this weekend.

That is, if I don’t have to spend it reinstalling Windows 7 or worse yet, going back to XP.  I really hope it doesn’t come to that.

So where is Microsoft? There’s only 45 minutes left in this two-hour support call window…

I keep everything I read – that is, all the potentially useful tech/web/marketing articles. And anything else I see in print that inspires me – color guides from paint manufacturers; the National Parks mini-guide…

All of these things live in my closet in an ever-taller stack all year, and at the end of each year I cull. I use my X-Acto blade and slice out everything I want to keep. It then goes into my inconspicuous blue plastic file box into a folder: Graphic Design, Brochures, Social Media.

Some of these I use as inspiration for the monthly newsletter I send to clients. Others are just for my own inspiration – I browse the box for design ideas from time to time.

Today’s my day to cull, while my husband’s laboring over his Newcastle pot roast for Christmas lunch. So I thought I would share what I consider to be keepers (in no particular order).

  • How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live, Time
  • Ten Essential, Inexpensive Win7 Downloads, PC World
  • Speed Up Everything, PC World
  • Hey, Don’t You Want This? Inc.
  • Arrange In-Person Meetings with Online Tools, PC World
  • Create and Monetize Podcasts on Any Budget, Website Magazine
  • Get the Most Out of WordPress, Website Magazine
  • Making Widgets Work, Website Magazine
  • Choosing an Open Source CMS, Website Magazine
  • How Twitter is Revolutionizing Business, Entrepreneur
  • A stack of paint chips
  • Where Have All the Words Gone? Inc.
  • Google Voice: One Number to Manage Them All, PC World
  • Crowdsurfing, Top One
  • Word of Mouth: The Death of Advertising? Top One
  • Your Future Life Now, Popular Photography
  • Is Your PC Bot-Infested? PC World
  • Heal Your Hardware, PC World
  • Best Ways to Back Up Your Data, PC World
  • Design Influence 60th Anniversary Issue, NCSU College of Design Alumni Magazine
  • Keep Your (Business) Cards to Yourself, Entrepreneur
  • Really Simple Success, Entrepreneur
  • Content is King, But does It Ka-ching? Entrepreneur
  • 3 Timeless Landing Page Optimization Themes, Website Magazine
  • Inspiration for Reseller Hosting, Website Magazine
  • Getting the Most from a Client/Consultant Relationship, Website Magazine
  • RSS Advertising, Website Magazine
  • High-Risk Security Threats and How to Fix Them, PC World
  • Toxic Avoiders, Small Biz
  • Clip Joint: How to Run a Business on the Cheap, Small Biz
  • How to Market Via Your Email, Small Biz
  • Saving Face Online, Small Biz
  • A Terry bicycling catalog
  • /CSS/Convert Your Site to Mobile, .net
  • Reap the Rewards of Constructive Criticism, Top One
  • The Neverending Quest for Bandwidth, Top One
  • Mystery Solved, Inc.
  • It Isn’t The Economy, Stupid, Inc.
  • Reid Hoffman LinkedIn, Inc.
  • Get Started with a Small Business Server, PC World
  • The Conficker Worm, PC World
  • The Best Free Stuff You’ve Never Heard Of, PC World
  • Uncover the ‘Bugs’ Hidden in Web Sites, PC World
  • We Asked, You Twittered: What’s the Best Part of Owning Your Business? Inc.
  • How Low Can You Really Go? Inc.
  • Leverage Social Media to Help Recovery, Northern Colorado Business Report
  • How to Fix Your Display’s Pesky Stuck Pixel, PC World
  • Boost Your Multimonitor Experience, PC World
  • Go Virtual for Safer Online Shopping, PC World
  • Windows 7: The Smartest Way to Upgrade, PC World
  • Inside Windows 7, PC World

And of course, for some magazines I keep the whole issue: HOW, Dynamic Graphics, STEP Inside Design,Practical Web Design.

All done. My closet is cleaner, I have a lot of new ideas in my box, and I won’t have to do this again until the end of 2010. Now it’s time to go make sweet potato gratin and brownies.

Today I found a good article entitled ‘Making the Most of Your Day as a Freelancer’ from FreelanceApple.com. This one made me think.

I know how easy it can be to get distracting when you’re working at home. Sometimes I’m really in a zone and don’t notice anything but what I’m working on, but there are other times when I can’t stay focused.

I think one of the reasons is, even after 4 1/2 years working on my own I still need some sort of routine to help me make the most of my time. Like today – I really intended to go to the gym this morning. The bag’s sitting there on the bed, packed and ready to go. But it’s 5:48 and it’s still sitting there.

I’m going to try to work up a schedule for the rest of the week and see if I can stick to it. Gym time three mornings per week (I need to get up earlier) and no peeking at email every 10 minutes.  It’ll be interesting to see (1) if I can do it and (2) what impact it has on my productivity.

Go on vacation, then come down with the flu the day after getting back and that tends to put out the fire when trying to catch up on work.

This week has been super-productive so far. I have a shoe store client for whom I’m integrating FoxyCart, a great little ecommerce system for smaller shops; today I added FoxyCart forms to about 30 products and finished the remaining cart setup, and tomorrow will be ready to build a checkout template.

I’m also integrating OptionCart for a BMW racing parts store – that’s nearly done. And a Plogger image gallery for the same company (which is now complete).

And…what else?

  • Finishing up a custom Javascript gallery for my typographer client, as well as 11 XHTML/CSS custom template pages. That should be done this week, I’m just working on a list of revisions.
  • Adding functionality to a large site for which I’m working as the developer only. I have a WordPress theme to build this week among other things.
  • Finishing up a WordPress site for a dentist – tomorrow I’ll be creating a template for her online scheduling tool.

Whew. Time to make dinner.