Working Two Clients

I find myself in that not-great-but-necessary position where I’m working with two clients at the same time.

The deal is – one project, A, is winding down.  There’s an (unknown, but getting clearer) picture of the amount of testing that needs to happen.   And my other client, with project B, really needed something changed (prior work) before June 4th.   At the time we said yes, it looked like A would finish in the middle of May …

Here I am.  Both clients know that I’m working with them part-time, and that I have the other client whom I’m also doing work for.   Both are excellent business partners and are easy to work with.   No problems!

However, I’m left with having to juggle tasks between the two of them.  How and when do I switch?

My answer is, I use a modified Franklin Covey Planner system.  I thought I could easily find a link to something that explained it, but I couldn’t, so I’ll just lay it out.

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  • I divide the page into my two clients.
  • I make a list of everything I can think of that needs doing, whether urgent or not.
  • I figure out the A priorities.  These are things that are critical, MUST be done today, or at least very time sensitive things.
  • Then the “B”’s – important stuff, like do-this-week kind of stuff.
  • Everything else is “C”s, or (gasp) D’s, which I might never get to.
  • At this point I deviate from the Franklin system, and I add some other prefixes:
    • W = things I’m waiting on.  
    • Q = things that can happen quickly, like in a pomodoro. 
    • T = things that happen at a certain time.  Ie, i don’t have a choice of when to do them.
  • I then go through and assign priorities.. A1..N, B1..N, etc.
    • In general, if its more risky, i’d give it a higher priority.
    • If it affects more people, I’d give it a higher priority.
    • I’ll put the Q’s before the non-Q’s.   Because crossing more things off my list is better.

Then, here’s the two client bit:

  • I always do A’s cross-client, switching context as I need to.
  • Then I settle down on one client till my next big break, like lunch, perhaps .. work on its stuff.
  • Big break – lunch – or visit the Gym just down the street.
  • Resume with other client.

I don’t try to hide from one client if I have an “A” to go work for the other client.

Another hack I’ve found is, instead of using Pomodoro’s with an alarm, I’m using them with 25-minute playlists (from either Spotify or Amazon Prime).  When the music stops playing, its time to wrap up the current thought and take a micro-break.  I have tried Richard Franklin’s “Music to Code By”, but I seem to be doing more EDM now – stuff like Gold Panda, Tycho, etc.     Thank you Amazon Prime Electronic Betas for Work Playlist.

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