Am I too old for all-nighters?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

(Image courtesy of The Unofficial Stanford Blog)

If there's one thing I despise, it's a missed deadline. I’m definitely guilty of it, but I try my darnedest to meet them--even if that means staying up all night. The problem is, when you're tired you make more mistakes, and when you're finally finished with the project, you want to sleep for days. I think this holds true the older you get. Many of my co-workers and team members ask how I do it all. I don't have a set list of instructions, but I've had plenty of practice.

Before I started WOW!, I pulled many all-nighters for my graphic arts business. Many of my clients wanted their catalogues and ad layouts done yesterday. Being the nice person I am, I always complied with their crazy schedules. Without really realizing it, I got into the habit of donning my Wonder Woman costume and "making it happen." These marathons consisted of a week of nose to the grindstone, sleep deprivation, and lots of caffeine, and later, wine. Thing is, I'm still doing it, for a lot less pay. But when does the time come when I can just relax?

I find that the older I get, there's more need for recovery time. There's more need for vitamins and headache pills. And now, every chance I get, I like to gel in front of the TV and tune-out. Is this the life I really want to lead? I often wonder.

Sticking To My New Year's Resolution

Our team members know this, but I made a New Year's resolution that I'm trying to stick to, and have been fairly successful at--though it's a WIP (work-in-progress). I'm dolling out assignments (paying for them) and delegating more. There comes a time when you have to realize what your time is worth--even in this tough economy. You can do it all yourself, but if it's killing you and not good for your health, or your overall business, why not pay to have someone else handle the task?

Delegating More, Doing Less

This method can be applied to anyone who owns her own business or freelances--which is basically the same thing. So next time you are commissioned by a potential employer and think you can handle it all, why not try tacking on a little extra to your price and having someone else take some of the burden off of your shoulders? That's what being a businesswoman is all about: delegating and moving forward. Form a team of talent that can help when you are in need. Network with individuals in your same field. Be an agent. Never turn down a job. Say yes, find help, and charge accordingly. And lastly, get some sleep already! You don't have to take on everything yourself. Think of your health and well being, like I'm trying to do.

What is your method for working less and maximizing your time? I'd love to hear your advice.


Margo Dill said...

I wish I had a strategy for working less. :) I guess I just try to prioritize and ask myself, DOES THIS REALLY HAVE TO BE DONE TONIGHT? So, basically I have deadlines set by other people (editors, clients) and then I have deadlines set by me (finish Chapter 33 of my ya novel, type poem). If I am going crazy or tired or have a busy week, I ask myself, "What REALLY has to be done tonight?"

I also delegate housework or cooking dinner to my husband or to the local fast food restaurant (LOL). :) I wish I could delegate it to my dogs--they just lay around all day or play with a bone or something. Think of all the work they could do for me! :) HA!


LuAnn said...

As a journalist, I sometimes have to pull all-nighters to complete writing assignments. Am I too old? Yes, indeed. Do I do it anyway? Yes, indeed. The problem I run into is when to sleep afterward. I often have work to do the next day that prevents me from spending the morning in bed. Sometimes, that's OK ... until I run into someone who says, "You look really tired today!"

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