GSD // Sue of The Zhush

Photo by Jacob Kriese / Styled by Ashlina Kaposta
Sue De Chiara
Blogger at The Zhush + Store Owner
See how Sue gets shit done after the jump.

Photo by Muse Interiors

What parts of your job do you love? 
I love buying for the store. Finding and sourcing items that I’m really excited about is the best. When the new stuff arrives it’s like Christmas! I also love it when bloggers reach out to let me know they have featured something from the shop. It’s also so great to see instagrams of happy customers with their new products in their homes!

What parts of your job do you dislike? 
I can’t stand all of the paperwork (and there is a lot) and filing and anything having to do with book keeping and numbers. Thankfully I have an amazing book keeper. Keeping up with inventory is also a drag…

What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into your job? 
There is so much involved with running the store that I never imagined. This is probably a good thing, because if I realized before hand, all the hats I had to wear, I might not have ever gone for it. Knowing the right amount of inventory to order is tricky. Managing the customer relations end of the business and keeping everyone abreast of their order’s status and/or returns is also time consuming. In addition, I wear the “PR hat” for the store, dealing with magazines and sites for publicity and features…this can be very exciting. However, it’s something I didn’t quite comprehend when I naively first started out.

What type of calendar do you keep? 
I keep a very “old school” calendar (this is it here). A habit that has stayed with me from my lawyer days. It’s right out in the open, large and in charge. I’m typing on top of it now.

How do you plan out your calendar? 
I write everything on my calendar, as soon as I know a date, even if its months ahead. If something is coming up, I’ll give myself a reminder note a few days ahead. For example, I jot down when out of stock inventory is due back in, when a sponsorship on my blog is due to expire, even my blog posts go on “the calendar.” My three kid’s active schedule also goes on the calendar, Birthdays, our social lives, Dr. appointments, sports games, everything! The down side is, if someone tries to schedule anything with me, I can’t give an answer one way or another until I get home in front of it, to check it. I also keep a second calendar on the back of my office door (similar to the one above). It’s more personal with only goals for myself or my business, and seasonal reminders for gift shows, holidays, etc. Once a goal is met, I’ll try to up the ante for the next 3-6 months out. This summer I had a goal of de-cluttering, it’s not complete, but I made a lot of headway.

Calendar similar to Sue’s available here

How do you organize your to-do list?
I live for my to do list, which is also very old school and not digital. I make a new list almost daily, re-prioritizing and crossing out as needed. Some things get shifted for weeks in a row before they get crossed off, others get handled right away. If there is something urgent that needs to be addressed (schedule dentist appointment for my son OR order more python trays!) it gets put on top and sometimes it also will get a brightly colored post it note tacked onto the bottom of my monitor so that it’s in my face. Like my calendar, I need to write it out AND I need to see it.

How do tackle your to-do list?
I try to temper the good with the bad. Almost like a weird reward system, in order to keep my sanity and keep me motivated. Since I really enjoy writing my blog posts, I’ll list that after something more tedious like unpack new inventory or filing. Doing the least fun things first to get them out of the way. If something requires a lot of time, like reviewing my tax forms for the quarter or filling out paperwork for a new vendor, I might even break that task down into “mini” bite size jobs.

Do you have a certain strategy you use? 
 I try very hard not to let my email get backed up. Having my iPhone with me even when I’m out is a great way for me to deal with this. I’m constantly checking it to make sure there is nothing truly urgent going on. Sometimes just a quick “got your email and working on it” is all I can send, but sometimes that is all that is warranted. Mornings and evenings are when I get most of my important emails out of the way, either initiating or responding to them. I really love G-mail’s features of allowing you to easily file and categorize everything, which I’m always doing. I delete anything I’ve dealt with already, file away all important stuff and flag stuff that can wait. I do this twice daily, religiously. Even on vacations and weekends. If I didn’t, everything would either pile up out of control or worst, grind to a halt.

How do you get your blog posts organized and published? 
When I first started out, I would literally write a post and publish it daily. I was all over the place. Over time, as with anything, I realized that wasn’t working for me and came up with a system that does. I typically write 3-4 blog posts twice a week, when I have the time and energy and I’m feeling the most inspired. I have a loose but helpful schedule that I like to stick with (I’m a routine person at heart) Monday’s Pop of Purple, Wednesday Wants, Friday it’s a Random Chanel item. Within this outline, I then have various series: a monthly interior style stalk, Obsession du Jours, Peek Inside Designer’s Homes, etc. that I can always rely on if I’m feeling at a loss. I like to bank my posts and tweak them a bit later. Sometimes I even scrap them entirely, but I always have at least three posts lined up. I mark my calendar for a week ahead on what I know I am going to post, and then another week ahead with ideas of what I think might be a good post. I truly enjoy the blog end of things so it doesn’t feel like work. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t spend the time with it. Every morning, I re-check the post one last time and manually hit “publish.” Like most bloggers, its all rigged up to go straight to Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin’ once its live, which makes it so much easier.

Photo of Sue by Jacob Kriese / iPad case

When you are stuck on a project, how do you get out of the rut? 
I’ve found the best thing to do is get away from the computer when I’m stuck. I go for a walk, drive to run an errand with the radio on, watch something on TV, read, etc. Some of my best ideas come to me in the shower or when my mind is left to wander, like on a long walk.

I also know that I tend to do my best work in an uncluttered environment. Sometimes I literally need to clean house before I can get stuff done. Cleaning and organizing even just my desk (or even my computer desk top) can literally help me organize my thoughts better.

How do you GSD at home (decorating, kids, cleaning, etc.)?
I have some housekeeping help at home, which I’m so grateful for. Peapod delivery for groceries is also MAJOR. I’m a horrible cook and it’s my least favorite task of all. My husband only works about a half hour away and can often either take the kids to school or swing by an after school game if I can’t make it.

I don’t want to sound like some “getting it all done perfectly” maven, because that is NOT me. Is it anyone? Maybe, but I don’t know her. Stuff falls through the cracks here weekly, it’s not so much a balance as it is a juggle and sometimes I drop a plate or two. But, when I’m in a work groove and things are getting done and everything is running smoothly, well, that is the best, right? So, that “smooth groove” feeling, THAT is always the goal.

Any other information about how you GSD, please share? 
I employ any and all oddball ways of remembering things that I can. When I’m out and about, it might be an email or voicemail message to myself (a favorite tactic of mine) or even physically keeping unpaid invoices on top of my keyboard. Some days are more “whatever it takes than others.”

Ikat fabric
Instagram addict, lately
loving Instadash on the computer, Pinterest for iPhone, Shazam, Kindle cloud, I also have about five different games on my phone (like angry
birds) I never play them, but they can be life saving for occupying my
children in a jam.

rewardStyle (that link ninja is amazing!), IFB, Peapod for groceries, Pandora, Amazon and Zappos for fast shipping of all the stuff my
children need, right now its back to school supplies and clothes, twitter, tumblr, The Zhush and my blog.
Mac Pages for blog posts, Quickbooks Online for working with my book
keeper (dread the numbers stuff!) it’s great because we can log in from
two different locals and look at the same info, Endicia for shipping and
tracking and managing all the online order shipping.

Mac, Macbook, iPhone, iPad