Time Management

by Jay on April 8, 2011

It was three weeks ago yesterday that I quit my job and started running my own business full-time.

I have been busier than ever since that day. I have been swamped with the daily tasks of my business, sourcing books and listing them on Amazon. Thankfully, I can say that the past 30 days have been the best period for sales on Amazon that I have ever had. I hope this keeps up! But I have also had to take care of dozens of other random tasks – 401k rollovers, health insurance, contracts, each one of them requiring a certain amount of focus. And then there are new business ideas to check out, new software to learn, research to be done, sources to explore. I’m not complaining – I find this all so much more rewarding than my cubicle job ever was– but I find that I don’t have much time left over for me and my own interests.

I used to be very good at managing my time, but working for so long at a cubicle job has dulled my edge. Over the years, I have become accustomed to days filled with meetings and deadlines imposed upon me by bosses, co-workers and clients, interspersed with a continuous string of technology emergencies to triage and resolve.

Now that I am self-employed, I prioritize my own days, and I am not satisfied with the results. I wake up around 7:30am with my partner M. (I really have to come up with a better pseudonym than “M.” for him – note to self in Microsoft Outlook: come up with pseudonym for my partner), make breakfast and coffee. M. is out the door by 8am. I give myself another 10 minutes to sip my coffee and savor the fact that I don’t have to put a suit on, drag myself to the subway, cram myself in and then show up at the office. By 8:15am or so I am in front of the computer , responding to customers, paying bills, figuring out how to roll over my 401k, and taking care of everything else that needs to be done.

And there I sit working until about noon. It’s like four hours vanish – poof! — just like that. And I never feel that I am done – in fact, I never feel like I’ve even made much of a dent in the work pile.

I usually fix lunch around noon, and then spend the afternoon riding around the city, hitting up my book sources for inventory. By 7pm I am lugging home a big horde of books. From 8-10pm I am listing them, and getting the days orders ready for shipment the next day. Then I have an hour or two to watch TV/spend time with M. By midnight I collapse into bed.

I think a lot of my current time management issues are simply due to the fact that so many of the things I am encountering are new to me. I just bought a new laptop and am still getting used to it. I managed to get a copy of Office 2010 for my computer at a very good corporate discount before leaving my last job. Now that I’ve installed it I find its functionality completely mystifying. There are no menus, only an icon ribbon for each application that goes across the top of the screen. Word and Excel are no longer like old friends; using them has become an obstacle course. I bought a new web designing program called XSite Pro. It makes web design incredibly simple, but I now need to learn allkinds of new concepts.

Soon enough all of these things will become second nature and life will be simple again – but for now I will have to put a lot of effort into learning new tools and new ways of thinking.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul April 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I like “M”… (a famous James Bond character)…. leave it as “M”.
Office 2010… yes, it’s all there, but I’m constantly asking coworkers… where is________

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