Is This Too Much? [en]

[fr] Je crois que je fais beaucoup de choses 🙂

I do a lot of things. I’m pretty good at juggling. (Yikes, I promised Ian a review of his book Juggle! ages ago, and it’s still in draft state somewhere somewhere in my blog admin…)

Anyway. There are times, like now, where I pause and ask myself if I’m not doing too much. I’m not really asking you — only I can answer that question — so consider this a chance to peek in while I wonder out loud.

I knew I would have two very busy months in May-June, and I’m OK with that (the price I’m willing to pay for a really exciting gig that came through at the last minute).

But I realized this week-end that it’s been a long time since I’ve had a few days to myself at home. I’ve been running for way more than these last two months, and I don’t like running. I know it’s good to be busy for a freelancer, but there are different kinds of busy, and I can tell you there there is some bad busy in my busy.

(The reason I had a few days to myself at home is that I fell ill just before heading off to a 4-day judo training camp. I couldn’t go. I spent two days being “reasonably ill”, and the last two days I’ve been feeling much better and enjoying my unexpected free time.)

So, is this too much? Look at me wonder out loud. Here are my big, ongoing areas of activity — professional and less professional.

  • a “social media and blogger relations” gig with Solar Impulse (trip to Paris end of the month)
  • co-directing a course on social media and online communities (exam time: nowish)
  • editor for the travel blog in French (and also contributor)
  • I manage a coworking space, eclau
  • my freelance activity is not limited to the four things mentioned above (not included: talks, short-term consulting and training, coaching sessions on WordPress…)
  • I’ve been asked to write a book (and am going to)
  • I do judo and am preparing an exam for in two weeks (not my exam, I did it last November: partner for a friend of mine who is doing hers)
  • I sing with CafĂ©-CafĂ©, though I’ve missed more rehearsals than I’ve attended over the past year 🙁
  • I go sailing (though I’ve had to sacrifice this spring’s regattas to judo training, and last year’s to singing)
  • I have a bunch of “light” hobbies like photography, reading, tending my plants (got orchids now!), going to the chalet, rollerblading…
  • Oh, I have a blog… you’re reading it
  • I also have a social life (I actually do) which includes family and close friends in other countries (and even other continents)
  • …not to mention that I’ve decided I needed to take proper holidays, which I’m doing (but that’s time off away from home).

I think that pretty much sums it up. I’m not sure how I manage 🙂 — but I do!

Slowing Down: About Cleaning, Laundry, Accounting, and Backlogs [en]

[fr] Il vaut mieux avoir un style de vie ou processus qui nous permet de faire les choses Ă  mesure (compta, rangement, nettoyages, vaisselle...) que de courir et devoir s'arrĂȘter pour s'occuper des dĂ©sastres accumulĂ©s qui ont commencĂ© Ă  nous pourrir la vie.

I’ve just spent about 2 hours tidying up the flat and cleaning it. And yesterday, as I was about to head out to my concert, I couldn’t find my flashlight (which we need for one of the songs). It wasn’t where it was supposed to be, I couldn’t find it in the half-unpacked bag from our last concert two weeks ago, and basically lost 20 minutes turning the already messy flat upside down. (I found it finally. Hidden inside one of my concert t-shirts I’d taken out of the bag.)

This experience has allowed me to realise, after all these months of living a reasonably tidy and organized life (not too much, but enough to be functional), that it’s much easier to find something when the place is not in a mess *and* it’s nicer to clean/tidy as you go along rather than have to stop to do it (although I actually do like cleaning).

A year an a half ago I set off on a process which helped me crawl out of 10 years (maybe even a lifetime) of feeling overwhelmed by the mess in my living space (thanks, FlyLady). There’ve been ups and downs, but overall I have been living in a tidy flat for many months, doing my accounting, putting my laundry away instead of living in the laundry basket, and giving my flat a quick cleaning session once a week. I’ve been slacking these last few months though, probably because of calendar overload.

What’s the general teaching here? In the spirit of the “not running” and “doing things now” principles I detailed in my “Journey out of Procrastination” series, I’d say the following:

It’s better to go slower and have a process/lifestyle which allows you to deal with things as they come, rather than running around and having to stop to deal with the accumulated backlog once it starts impeding on your ability to live happily.

In practice, for me, that means I need to pay attention to build enough time into my days/weeks for:

  • unpacking bags
  • putting things away after I’ve used them
  • washing the dishes after the meal/snack
  • doing my accounting at least once a week
  • cleaning the flat roughly once a week
  • putting my laundry away the day after laundry day
  • taking things to the office

In summary: planning ahead enough so that I’m not in a rush. Added bonus: life is more enjoyable like that.

Busy Busy Busy [en]

[fr] Ma vie, cette course.

Two whole days is not enough. It’s the first day, and the last day, and nothing in between. Arrival and departure days do not count.

Next time I come up here, I’ll take a longer break.

I haven’t walked much — the weather isn’t really inviting, and my free access card which lets me use public transport freely in the area is not valid in November. December, hopefully, will be more exciting: some snow, maybe. I’ll be back just before Christmas.

I realised that I haven’t uploaded the photographs of my last trip here. To say the truth, I’ve been horribly busy. Way too horribly busy. At times it seems that I spend my months and years saying that: “I’m busy”. Busy, busy, busy. I always have tons of things to do, and if I don’t, I invent more. I long for a few weeks of leisurely time — India is great for that.

Money is an issue. As a freelancer, I can take time off whenever I want, as long as I can afford it. These days, I can’t say it’s really the case. On the other hand, maybe it’s worth examining how much paid work I actually accomplish each week over the month. It might help me get organised better.

It’s always the same problem: busy, busy, busy, I keep “working” but a lot of it is not directly earning me anything. And often this “work” is not very visible (read Suw’s great article on the nature of work in a knowledge economy), which leaves me with a sense of frustration at the end of it all.

Stalling [en]

[fr] Trop à faire. 5 jours avant mon départ pour prÚs de 4 semaines, et les priorités sont toutes conflictuelles. Aaaah! (Mais bon, je me connais, je vais m'en sortir.)

Gosh, I haven’t published in ages. Scary. I’m stalling. Too much to do, too little time, not sure where to start. Well, life is deciding for me, because I have 5 days left before departing on a nearly 4-week trip, and there is only so much one can do in 5 days. So, some news and some thoughts.

  • Going Solo: things are good. 25% of tickets sold in less than a week. Video of my speech finally made it online. Don’t miss Early Bird price until March 16th. In one word: register. Reminder: stay up-to-date on Going Solo by subscribing to the Going Solo blog or the Going Solo Twitter feed — much better source of news than CTTS.
  • 5 talks/things in less than two weeks. A talk for parents of teenagers in neighbouring France Thursday evening. A session at WebCamp SNP. A panel to moderate at BlogTalk. Co-hosting a core conversation at SXSW and moderating another panel (both multilingual stuff). I should blog about these more in detail. And more importantly, I have quite a bit of homework to do to prepare the four last ones. And I’m a bit anxious about how moderating panels will go — never done that before.
  • travel: Cork (Ireland), Dallas-Austin (Texas), San Francisco. That means I need to sort some stuff out before I leave for nearly a month (clean the flat, do some paperwork, pay bills, see people). I’m going to have to pack <shudder> — and I still need to unpack. I’ll be in San Francisco for two weeks, so maybe I want to organise a dinner or something there. I’ll be distributing Going Solo moo cards all along my journey. I’m apprehensive about all this travel. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, curled up on the sofa, with the cat purring next to me. But I’m looking forward to seeing people I like.
  • work to do for Going Solo: not the least, unfortunately. Sort out the programme. Get back to all the people who sent in speaker proposals. Get sponsor/partner documentation and contracts sorted out so that the partners waiting in the lobby can be let in. Promote, promote. Worry about WiFi a bit more. Happily, video filming, venue set-up and design, and some offline promotion do not depend entirely on me. Prepare a “dossier de presse”. Finish rounding up media partners. Promote, promote.
  • blogging: posts piling up in my head. About books I’ve read or am reading: The Paradox of Choice, A Perfect Mess (got a post brewing about GTD and messiness), and The Black Swan of course. Need more time to read. More time to write. Can’t keep up.
  • misc: photos to upload, podcast to edit, other sites to update, e-mails to answer (I’m far from zero right now), plants to water, a life to live…

This roughly sums up where I’m at right now.

Pas Superwoman! [fr]

[en] I'm postponing the blogging seminar (similar to the surprisingly successful one I gave at LIFT08) I was planning to do at the end of this month. I can't both promote Going Solo and this seminar correctly at the same time -- there aren't enough hours in the day and I'm not Superwoman. If you're interested in such a seminar, get in touch -- and when I have enough interested people I'll set a date. In English or French!

Contrairement Ă  l’image que certains me renvoient, je ne suis pas Superwoman. Et souvent, j’ai les yeux plus gros que le ventre.

Tout comme j’ai mis le projet “livre” un peu sur la touche pour me consacrer Ă  des activitĂ©s plus directement lucratives (vous savez que ce n’est que l’appĂąt du gain qui me motive), je me rends compte que je n’arrive pas Ă  faire la promotion de Going Solo (les inscriptions sont ouvertes, profitez du tarif spĂ©cial de cette semaine de lancement) et faire Ă©galement la promotion du cours d’initiation aux blogs que je comptais organiser le 26 de ce mois.

Vous noterez donc l’usage subtil de l’imparfait dans la phrase prĂ©cĂ©dente, qui vous indique que je reporte ce cours. Comme je l’ai dĂ©jĂ  Ă©crit ou du moins dit, les personnes qui vont s’intĂ©resser Ă  ce cours ne sont probablement pas des lecteurs de ce blog. Cela demande donc que je fasse de la pub plus “active” que ce dont j’ai l’habitude — et en ce moment, j’avoue que promouvoir Going Solo me prend toute mon Ă©nergie (je passe les nĂ©gociations avec les partenaires, un nouvel afflux de demandes de confĂ©rences, voyages prĂ©vus et confĂ©rences Ă  l’Ă©tranger, sans compter que je n’ai encore quasi rien bloguĂ© au sujet de Going Solo en français, bref).

Donc, plutĂŽt que de faire les choses mal, que de persĂ©vĂ©rer Ă  vouloir maintenir une date parce que je l’ai fixĂ©e, je prĂ©fĂšre carrĂ©ment la faire sauter (parce que, regardons les choses en face, avec le peu de pub que je vais pouvoir faire, le cours ne sera pas assez plein, et je vais devoir faire sauter de toute façon).

Sur le concept, par contre, je persiste et signe. Mon workshop Ă  LIFT (exactement la mĂȘme chose, mais en anglais) a suscitĂ© un nombre tout Ă  fait satisfaisant d’inscriptions et de participants (pas forcĂ©ment les mĂȘmes) — d’autant plus pour une confĂ©rence branchĂ©e “technologie” comme LIFT — et la formule a parfaitement fonctionnĂ©. Retours trĂšs positifs de la part des participants (mĂȘme ceux qui n’avaient pas amenĂ© leur ordinateur, un comble!) et une invitation Ă  donner ce genre de sĂ©minaire Ă  la RĂ©union (j’y rĂ©flĂ©chis sĂ©rieusement, ça peut ĂȘtre sympa d’allier le profitable Ă  l’agrĂ©able).

Voici comment on va procĂ©der (j’ai mis Ă  jour la page des sĂ©minaires pour reflĂ©ter ça): les personnes intĂ©ressĂ©es me le font savoir. Je garde une liste de ces personnes. Quand il y en a assez pour organiser un cours (disons, 6), j’organise. Et pour ceux qui auraient des besoins urgents de cours de blog, on peut toujours s’arranger.

Sur ce, la Pas-Superwoman va aller s’occuper de sa pile d’e-mails, et se nourrir. A plus, et n’oubliez pas de promouvoir Going Solo autour de vous. Si, si — ça me rend grandement service!

Busy! [en]

[fr] Je cours, je cours! Pas mal de nouveau sur le site de Going Solo. J'espĂšre mettre les billets en vente dĂšs mercredi!

Gosh, have I been busy these last weeks. My “one post a day minimum” resolution kind of evaporated when I started running all around town looking at venues for Going Solo.

Well, we have a venue now, and today I spent a fair amount of time playing with Expectnation to try and get it ready to open registration less than two days from now (fingers crossed).

We also have
badges to display in your sidebar (thanks, Carlos!) and more content on the Going Solo site. [Pulled the badges after some feedback. New ones soon!]

I also seem to have found our fourth speaker, which I’m quite excited about (no, not telling — both parties are going to chew on it a little before we make it offical).

Now, I just need to sleep, prepare my workshop, rehearse my Open Stage speech, announce the Lausanne blogging seminar for 26th February and figure out how to market it.

Uh-oh! Night night everybody.