I’m the coffee-cup wielding nut-job at the school gates, because the truth is I am particularly bad at managing my time. This is a problem when parenting, but especially when running a small business.
When the neighbour isn’t picking my eldest up from school, I’m flapping about, trying to get out of the house with my youngest. Dinner probably hasn’t been made, I’ve decided it would be an email/marketing day but, the bulk of it has been spent on social media. It’s a groundhog thing, it happens more than I care to admit.
It’s unproductive, and pretty toxic. I don’t get out as often as I should, afternoon school runs shouldn’t count as ‘going out’. Various friends have recommended a wide assortment of clever life-managing apps and sites. Hootsuite for social media usage, Gotomeetings for webinars, Woocommerce for my online shop . My phone has become an almanac of ‘potentially useful stuff’ – none of which ever gets a look in.
There is a key to effective time management. I’m yet to find out what it is. Replicating that method used by your super-mum friend who has 6 kids (all in matching, ironed slacks) may be tricky. Some folks can run a profitable on-line Etsy shop while owning a printing business, and still find time to groom a large dog while you struggle to water your house plant. Don’t measure yourself against other people’s standards, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Identify your own particular style of ‘order’ (or lack thereof), and build up slowly, fixing the broken stuff step-by-step. Praise yourself when you get it right. Make getting organised a labour of love and self-preservation, it’s not an exact science.
See my previous ‘lists’ blog, it’s one of the many ways I’m trying my hand at self-love.
Lists; because no human ever, except for probably Stephen Hawking, and those bizarre children joining Mensa, can actually remember every relevant and semi-significant detail.
I got into an early list habit, jotting down homework that needed completion, and housework that wanted doing in exchange for pocket money. I have never weighted completion of listed tasks with any real importance, acknowledgment was, for the best part half the labour.
Lists of clothes, shopping lists, lists I showed my friends, lists I didn’t show anybody. Lists I couldn’t stomach reading again myself (nobody should ever make that list, you were young and single, sometimes not. We all make mistakes). I kept some, I threw others away. I probably have a list of all of them somewhere.
For the best part they get completed. The devil is in the detail… The pen you write with, the medium you write on, envelopes, business cards, bananas. Some you keep and use time and again, others you’ll scrap instantly. They’re a brain bin, they remedy a distracted mind.
I’d leave the house with no shoes.
I haven’t written in ages, because, and I’m probably hasty in saying this, I have had no major recent misadventures!
Exceptions to this are the ‘not bothered’ plumber after the epic flooding in the property downstairs, the apparent complete success of the ladies circuit training class (and my own diet), then the weekend’s undoing of said diet… Then there was rejecting the troupe who wanted to use a 40m sq. space with a 6ft ceiling for a trampolining class… Also, cutting my own hair.
Between those things, half term, Valentines day, the search for a new vehicle that won’t leave us unable to feed ourselves, and re-doing my driving lessons – nothing much has really happened.
You’ll get to read about my wing-mirror culling antics soon, which I’m sure you will find enthralling.
I’ve been asked to leave a yoga class for laughing at a man farting loudly. I’ve also sent myself hurtling into a mirror off a Swiss ball back-side first. I like the gym environment, it’s dynamic, and it’s entertaining, but a gym habit requires commitment. It’s also not exactly embedded in the fabric of my being (I bunked P.E. for 4 years, my teachers didn’t even know what I looked like).
Nevertheless, now as a fully fledged grownup, I persist. My response to my lackadaisical attendance is to set up a workout environment that allows dizzy mums like myself to bring their children to the studio and blitz the jiggle in a team effort. The plan is to allow myself, and others to bring the kids and workout, or leave them at home and hang out, or neither, or both – but just to be there. This I think will inspire those of a shy and most probably lazy disposition (not unlike my old self) to jiggle a little in the comfort and company of kindred spirits.
The new website hasn’t broken the internet, yet. On the plus side I have got a grasp of Google+ and how ‘my pages’ and ‘my business’ work (should be helpful). Now I’m all verified, I’m on a marketing (without spamming) micro-mission.
The budget has been well and truly squeezed. I ordered the last food shop, and left just enough for household bills until the end of next month. That’s it. Literally. Lots of leisurely walks for myself and the kids coming up.
Now ought to be the time to get creative. Where it’s all been relative whimsy so far, shopping, painting, decorating, liaising… It’s time to grow up. Maybe there’s a guide to that on Pinterest?
Mr. Bossmother asked if I’d written anything today (unlike him). And I hadn’t, because I was busy smashing my head into the keyboard trying to understand why I couldn’t find my website on Google.
I then discovered, through a process of massive flapping, web forum reading, live-chatting, and other frantic behaviours, that I quite literally have no idea what the hell I’m doing. The information is out there and though it may take you a small lifetime to wade through the jargon (if you are as computer-illiterate as I am), it’s worth trying. If my entire budget hadn’t been spent (see Guerilla budgeting and why it’s shit), I would have payed somebody to do this all for me.
Starting to scratch the surface now. There’s a stubborn beast in me, and I will crack this intramanet malarky!
I’m home-schooling myself now in online presence and how to appear in a search engine because, fortunately for me, I have a husband who brings snacks and lets me get on with it.
Disloyalty is a new symptom of our desire for success.
I’m met with backhand deals, under-the-table offers, and the finest levels of undercutting daily. I’m talking all aspects of trade, electricity suppliers to private clients. Everybody is bent on being ‘better off’.
You’ve probably saved a bit of cash by switching to something cheaper, faster, or sexier, but does that always equate to getting a better deal – is spending less even a real reward? However advantageous you may feel a move was, you may have left a steadfast stakeholder in the lurch. What then is the real expense?
I find myself guilty of classless impatience. It’s prompted me to drop offers and unwittingly break bonds to persons with a stake in my business. It’s really only when you step back and examine the wreck, you see the real damage.
Then I question, how often have I brushed people aside because what they were offering wasn’t instantly gratifying. Those sentiments don’t stretch to ex boyfriends, but you can see where I’m going. It’s a brand of greed synonymous with our times and we are all guilty. I don’t care how sanctimonious you are, even the charities are doing it!
Do we go around shooting ourselves in the foot by ignoring valuable service, compliant customers and worthy suppliers for want of squirrelling quick cash, or are we better off living fast and climbing young?