Debbie Doerrlamm's "command center" includes both an office area and a nail workstation (in two different rooms).

Debbie Doerrlamm's "command center" includes both an office area and a nail workstation (in two different rooms).

My own mother just about collapsed when I called her back in January 1997 to say I was going to write professionally. By my count, this month’s column is the 40th I have written for NAILS. To mark the occasion, NAILS publisher Cyndy Drummey suggested it might be fun to let readers peek over my shoulder for a day.

A typical day in April ...

7 a.m. The alarm goes off. I take a little time to watch the news and during commercials I put on my famous tea and think about what I need to get accomplished today.

7:30 a.m. I take my tea and head off to the office — a big trip down the hallway. The first thing I do every day is read the e-mail that arrived overnight.

Today’s mail consists of notifications from the web server that all is well and functioning properly, tons of spam, requests for changes to websites I maintain, e-mails from our car club members, posts to the message board, and mailing lists hosted at along with a few questions from technicians worldwide: How do I get my license in another state? Where can I buy a particular product? It takes only 15 minutes this morning to run through all of this — thankfully it was a quiet night.

I see many of these questions over and over, so I have created “canned” responses with information and instructions that I can send out generally with two clicks of the mouse. Today there is only one question that requires individual attention. I also have some other mail in the inbox that I have been putting off responding to — one in particular about the message boards needing serious attention. Responding takes up another 30 minutes of my day.

That done, I hit “send/receive” and am rewarded with 30 new e-mails to wade through. One is from a client who fears a virus has infected her computer. I call to discuss the issue and make sure her virus program is running and up to date. A quick diversion comes when my husband calls from work asking me to do a web search for a badly needed work tool. That task is taken care of quickly.

9 a.m. Over the next hour or so I take my own version of a coffee break, consisting of a shower and another cup of tea with the newspaper.

10 a.m. Back in front of the computer. There’s more mail in the inbox and now I really have to get down to work. Today I have to finalize the prize list for the upcoming Strut Your Stuff 3 Enhancement and Nail Art online competition. A few phone calls are made, chasing the four companies that have not submitted a list of their prize contributions. I call one of these companies and then Instant Message relentlessly until the owner complies.

None of the others are in today, so I proceed with what information I have, laying out the categories and prizes in a spreadsheet, moving things around until the totals are set to my satisfaction. Next, I have to transfer all that to the web page, format it, and send it over to the web server. While in that program, I spruce up the whole Strut Your Stuff 3 area, working particularly on the navigation throughout that section of the site.

My husband calls from work again. He thinks his e-mail is broken and we send some tests back and forth, and, yes I agree it is not functioning properly. I give him the information he needs to tell the computer man at his job.

A new client calls for some minor tech support and to schedule a time for me to stop by the office to fine-tune his e-mail settings for the new website.

1 p.m. Lunchtime. I fix something to eat and catch up on e-mails. This time I see several posts to several message boards that are obviously spam and need to be manually removed.

I spend an hour or so making some minor updates to three different websites, uploading and proofing each of them to be sure all is well.

During this whole process, UPS, Fe d-Ex, and the mailman all bring me packages containing work to do from companies whose websites I maintain. I wade through the pile of paper mail and open up the new bed for the dog that arrived.

4:30 p.m. My husband comes home from work needing some TLC. He has a head cold and needs help packing up a work tool to send off for replacement.

5 p.m. I check e-mail again and realize the spam is at a high level. I spend 15 minutes determining the spam filter on the web server has stopped running and kick it back into action.

6 p.m. Another quick check of the mail shows me that indeed the kick I gave the web server had good results. The spam filter is now working again. Time to put all this aside for a while and do the housewife thing.

 6:15 It’s husband quality time, and also time for yard/house work, dinner, and TV. The computer stays on in case someone sends an Instant Message for help. Today all is quiet and without interruption.

9 p.m. The TV goes off and husband checks out for the night. I sit back down to work and play. The average evening here usually encompasses two or three Instant Messages — either for chitchat or serious assistance. I run through the inbox and try to clean up the easy things that arrived during the day. This usually involves responses or repairs to something on the web server — someone added her salon listing three times and I need to go and remove two of them. Another didn’t follow the instructions and typed her full state name instead of the two-letter initials, so I fix that too.

This is the time I do my homework. That means surfing for new material for the BeautyTech website, research for a purchase or trip, and checking out new software for personal or business use, among other things. This particular night I am deeply involved in seeking out a cell phone plan to replace the service I have now. For me this is a major ordeal, as I use the cell phone as a modem with my laptop when I travel, so the plan and phone has to allow for this, the price has to be right, and the proper connections must be readily available at reasonable costs.

Depending on the events of the night, the computer will get shut down anywhere between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Tonight I give it all up about 1 a.m. and start the cycle all over in the morning.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about