KELLY BEALL // DESIGN CRUSH
What are you currently working on and what does a typical day look like for you?
I typically start my day around 8am — I’m not a morning person so I don’t force it. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and let my two dogs outside. While they’re out stretching their legs, I put the coffee on and feed my two cats and whatever foster animals I have at the moment. Right now it’s three kittens who are survivors of May’s tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Once everyone else is taken care of I sit down at my laptop with a huge mug of coffee and start work.
Email is first, followed by social media amplification of the first blog post of the day. The rest of the morning is spent making my way through Twitter, Pinterest, Feedly, and Facebook and interacting with my readers. If I have a photo shoot the light at this time of day is what I like to work with.
Around 1pm I’ll break for a quick lunch, usually something thrown together with whatever produce or leftovers I have in the refrigerator. I’ll run around with my dogs, Piper and Bebe, for a bit and then shower and do the getting ready thing. Most days include at least one phone or Skype meeting and I try and schedule these for mid-afternoon when I’m at my best mentally. I try and call it a day around 6pm, but generally end up working off and on throughout the evening. (Because I want to, not because I feel I have to.) Dinner is made around 7pm or I’ll go out to meet up with friends for a bite. By 10pm I’m usually in bed with a book, trying to slow down my mind and unwind for the night.
What parts of your work do you love?
Just about all of it! I love connecting with readers and other bloggers on a daily basis, I love getting to flex my writing muscles, and I love that I’ve found a viable outlet for my creativity. But I think my favorite part of owning my own business is the flexibility that has come with it. I can set my own schedule, and that’s been more valuable that anything else.
What parts of your work do you dislike?
The numbers, invoicing, and accounting parts of my job are definitely my least favorite. They’re time consuming when I’d much rather be creating.
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into starting your blog?
Definitely the financial side of things. I never suspected I’d be sending out invoices, tracking down overdue payments, and spending mad money on taxes. But at the same time, it makes me feel very real and legitimate in my business.
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of blogging?
When you’re a full-time blogger, it most definitely is a full-time job! I work at least as many hours as I did at my last office graphic design job, actually more. The difference is that I enjoy nearly every minute of my day.
What type of calendar do you keep?
I use a hybrid calendar system, meetings and appointments go into my iCal as well as written in my Day Designer
. Other daily tasks (errands, chores, etc.) go into the checklist portion of my Day Designer. I find that being able to write action items out, as well as physically check them off, not only makes them more memorable but more rewarding to accomplish.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
Most days I try and get the thing or things that I’m dreading most out of the way right off the bat, sometimes referred to as “eating the biggest frog.” It makes the rest of the day so much easier to get through! After I’ve crossed that off, I move on to the things I’m most looking forward to tackling for some instant gratification.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
To me every email is a potential fire, and the faster I can put it out (reply) and put the ball in someone else’s court the better. I’m also a big fan of labeling and starring to keep things organized and important conversation threads from disappearing. Aside from that, both my personal and business email address both flow into the same inbox which keeps me from jumping around or potentially missing something important.
What is your process and/or work strategy? Anything that you have found that works for you?
My strategy is just that, to do what’s best for me. And that means taking the time of day I’m least productive to cross other things besides Design Crush related things off of my to-do list. After about a year of working for myself I realized that I’m basically worthless between the hours of 1 and 4pm – so that’s when I shower, run errands, plan dinner, etc. Since I’ve embraced this way of doing things I’ve noticed a surge in productivity and happiness.
How do you GSD at home?
It’s all about lists and setting deadlines for myself, without either I’d be a lost cause. Everything from framing new art to vacuuming goes on my to-do list! I also try to put things away immediately after use, it helps keep my pile-making habit at bay and clutter from building up.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
Always be willing to lend a hand.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
— the keystones of Design Crush’s social media plan, so I post to them all several times a day because they each have a different audience.
— keeps me up to date with the weather in OKC, which can change on a dime and effect a photoshoot or other plans. It’s also extremely calming to look at aesthetically.
Notes — so predictable, but it keeps me organized when I’m on the go and I don’t have to carry along 37 pieces of paper.
CNN — has turned me into such a news junky, I’m on this app whenever I have a down moment.
— helps me keep tabs on my site’s traffic and demographics, as well as track trends.
is not only addicting and brilliant, it’s also given me an entirely new social media platform to help grow my audience.
— keeps all of the RSS feeds that I subscribe to organized in a clean, easy-to-read layout and let’s me bookmark items I want to save for later reference or reading.
Adobe CC —
Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightbox
Pages, Keynote, Numbers