What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is running end to end with the amount of jobs I currently manage. I wake up at around 6am, take the dog out, make coffee, and shower. Then, while my hair air-dries, I check up on my blog post for the day, review my schedule, and answer emails from my overseas factories for Grandiflora. When my hair is dry and coffee is gone, I throw in some hot rollers, get dressed, and head to my day job at Abercrombie & Fitch. At A&F I work through future designs, manage the prototypes, and help the designers to find materials they love for upcoming seasons. I usually work until around 7:30pm before heading home, cooking up some dinner with my husband, Matt, and working on my House of Earnest post for the following day.
What parts of your work do you love?
There are so many things — I love the travel for A&F (I’m usually overseas every other month), I love creating ideas that have loomed in my head for years, and I love working with my husband on Grandiflora.
What parts of your work do you dislike?
The accounting! I’ve never taken a finance class in my life and although I understand the need and (especially with running my own business) the importance, I really hate managing all of the receipts, purchase orders and invoices.
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into starting your blog?
I was pretty new to the blog world as a whole when I started House of Earnest. I didn’t realize how diligent you have to be to reach out and interact to stay connected on the internet. Like any relationship, creating and maintaining friendships with bloggers takes a lot of effort and time — although it’s also one of the greatest blessings of this business.
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of your blog, job, and shop?
I don’t think people realize how many tries it takes to get it right. By ‘IT’ I mean a product design, a styled shoot, a blog post, a collage, whatever. I’ll place something, stand back, move it, stand back, swap it out completely, stand back and keep going in this manner. Bloggers, professional stylists, designers — nobody has one plan and sticks to it 100%. It’s about playing with the scenario, getting a feel for it, then tweaking until the outcome is perfect.
What type of calendar do you keep?
A written one. I use the Poppin 18 month calendar (above) which let’s my years overlap — no more carrying around two planners for the month of December!
How do you plan out your calendar?
On each month-view page, I list out blog post ideas for that month. Then as the month approaches, I use mini sticky notes to plan which date each idea will post. The sticky notes are nice and movable for when plans change.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
It’s a two-pronged approach. For to-do lists and tasks, I am obsessed with Omnifocus (screenshot above). It’s a little pricey (and just for IOS at the moment), but I love love love it. It tells my what order my to-do list should be done in and is great for cataloging multi-stage projects. It’s a life changer. For just remembering random things or logging webpages and URLs that I want to remember, I use Evernote. Evernote also let’s me share my notebooks of ideas, links, or files with my husband, who is my business partner.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
I’m pretty strict about this. Before I leave for work in the morning, I clear my inbox out. At noon, I check and whittle down again, then at night before bed, I make sure all requests are taken care of. Keeping up on it in little chunks means that it never gets out of control. Oh — and I have some pre-written responses (saved in Evernote) for certain emails that I get over and over again.
What is your process and/or work strategy? Anything that you have found that works for you?
I give myself time limits on tasks. Emails can get daunting, but I look at the clock and say, “OK, how many can I jam out in the next 25 minutes.” For styling a blog post, I can get really wrapped up in it and spend all day when it really could be done in an hour. Telling myself that I only have until 3pm makes me stay focused and work harder.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
Gretchen Rubin said, “outer order contributes to inner calm” and I live by that. I get cranky and loose focus when my house or workspace is messy, so I keeps things organized to keep my mind clear.
- I definitely use the regular suspects — twitter and Instagram mostly. I don’t share any fashion on my blog, but I document a lot of outfits in Instagram!
- Omnifocus — As I said, I am obsessed with this app. It shows me what is next on my priority list and gives me tasks that actually pertain to my geographic location as well. So if I am near the dry cleaner and I need to pick up laundry, it will alert me. Randy Hunt (creative director for Etsy) turned me onto the app at a party and I am forever thankful!
- Evernote — I use Evernote a lot to document where I found certain things online. I used to try and recall where a photo was from, but using Evernote’s web clipper means that I can save articles and products into folders.
- Google Drive for iPhone — I can shoot off invoices, reference my budget, or create a quick purchase order for Grandiflora and send it right out… all from my phone.
- Dropbox — Dropbox has saved my life so many times. Paying for the space is totally worth it. I keep all photos on there now and can access them from any crazy internet cafe I might be at in another part of the world.
- Keep — A great way to catalog products and be able to shop them without loosing the link or going to a dead end site.
- Etsy — I just love Etsy. There are so so many amazingly talented people in our world and discovering new shops is one of my favorite things.
- Thesaurus.com — I use a thesaurus all of the time. I realize in my posts that I can get really stuck on one word (another word for ‘cute’ anyone?). I look all of those overused words here and pick out an alternate, like darling!
- Blogs I love and visit daily — Vmac + Cheese, The Fresh Exchange, Channeling Contessa, Fabric Paper Glue, A Daily Something, Camille Styles, Oh Happy Day, Oh Joy, Note to Self.
PROGRAMS & TECHNOLOGY
- Omnifocus for Mac — same reasons as above!
- MacBook Air 13″
- Nikon D300s
- Remote Shutter Release (for DIYs!)
- Bamboo (although I’m terrible at it and need some serious help)
GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.