While I started my own business in 2007, I have been working full time since 2001 doing various things for banks and other institutions. However, my heart was almost never in the work I was doing. I was doing it, but without joy. Eventually, I didn’t feel right thinking about my ‘other life’ for most of the time while I was at my day job and so on August 1, 2011 I quit my day job.
There were various reasons for doing this, but none of them involved having a plan or saving up an emergency fund. I had trained and outsourced every function of my job until there was nothing left of my own job to do – and nobody noticed – so I left to grow my side business into my full-time business.
This is a story of how I spent my first day after quitting my day job
The first thing I did was to make a schedule of tasks. I came up with a rough outline for how I thought I would spend my days. It didn’t include time for service calls or meetings with clients, but since everything I do is modular, I can just pick back up after going to do one of those things:
-Apply for job (a requirement/penance my wife made of me for quitting my job)
It turns out I did these things approximately 1.5 times before it all broke down, but I digress.
Task Organization & Office Management
-Clean desk area if needed
-Scan documents if needed
I cleaned my desk area the first day and have scanned documents once in the last two weeks (at least the third time this year so far – about once a quarter).
-Review email for content first
-Find things to promote based on existing websites (refer to numbered sheets)
-Review reports from affiliates and analytics to further hone in on best content
Unfortunately that first one (email) is a killer. Work and content is always coming in (and the more you get it out, the more it comes in, then the sorter breaks and it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse Day…).
Date Sensitive Work
-Send out monthly client reports
-Develop solution for internal problem
Come to find out that just because it’s date sensitive, doesn’t make it any more urgent (even if it should be). However, I did get the monthly client reports out (on the second day of the month).
-do the dishes
The fact that I put my lunch break here is hilarious now, looking back. I’d be happy now if I got ONE of those modules done the whole day, let alone before lunch. I do enjoy going on walks with the kids though, and they enjoy it too. One of the biggest problems I had in week one was to stop cleaning the house so obsessively. I was doing that more than working on my business.
-Post content based on research or products found
-do the dishes
-spend time with family
I found my wife likes to cook approximately 0.8 meals a day or about 5.5 meals a week. The rest of the time we are all supposed to scrounge for cereals, leftovers, or to make our own meals. The kids usually eat fruit, crackers, peanut butter, and cereal. Occasionally I will make them eggs. I have been going without breakfast lately and just hoping to get a meal at lunch or dinner.
-Tweet and retweet (preferably starting from Facebook)
-Create videos to backlink from Youtube (after kids in bed)
I made videos the second day, but haven’t since. I finally got all of my Facebook pages synced with Twitter. That took me approximately 8 days because the themes, branding, websites, or content was almost never complete. This forced me to do that and now I have a good base to promote and build on (about 25 different topics).
Sharpen the Saw
-Read a book
I finished reading The Element by Sir Ken Robinson, read a few chapters on The Secret of Contentment by William Barcley, but then gave both books to my brother and am now just reading the bible. I am not using a reading plan, which is kind of a metaphor for how I’ve been running my business. It’s been slipshod, characterized by a lack of care, thought, or organization.
Here’s what I wrote about my first day to a friend:
[The day] was full. You’d think I’d start to get ahead…and I am…but I’m also getting behind. I’ve been aggressively trimming my inbox (unsubscribing, managing, acting) but it is now fuller than when I started. Granted, I’ve sent out 74 emails in the last three days and that will come back at you some, but like I wrote about on Facebook, the biggest problem is limits – I have to create my own – and that’s hard for me. Related to that problem is the work/life balance, which has been sort of ‘flipped’ now that I work at home. The tendency is to respond to every problem and need RIGHT NOW instead of doing what I need to. [My wife] still doesn’t understand the ‘big rocks‘ scheduling and is generally staying out of my way because she’s afraid of me and this situation, which makes me feel like she’s not helping, but she is – it’s just that my spotlight is on her right now, and she’s not used to that. It adds un-needed tension (that’s the second time I’ve wrote unneeded today and I’m not sure whether or not to add a hyphen in there or not – Google be damned on that search). I’m trying to find that request you sent next to see if it applies to tonight…I’m thinking I might need to leave soon. A couple more things. Breakfast, dishes, lunch, dishes, and after lunch walk are going good. Reading at night is also going good. However I didn’t get a chance to make a new itinerary or task list for today – I just wrote on yesterday’s, but tomorrow I will. Breakfast was a little much this morning – I made potatoes and eggs since yesterday’s milk and cereal tore me up in that afternoon. And finally – this morning was used up (I say that because it didn’t lead to direct revenue) by applying to that ExactTarget website – which was brutal and took too long, but I tried to do things to make the next web application process go faster by saving my answers. Second, the rest of my day was full of mailing out client reports and updating their websites, which was necessary and *could* lead to more revenue – and sometimes does, but it started to feel like my normal ‘revenue creating activities’ were starting to fall behind. However, one client (HHS) already responded that he wanted to setup a meeting next week and that ‘he would be bringing his checkbook.” Sweet, sweet Lord’s actions.
But tomorrow I will
Turns out you won’t. If you want something done. Do it today. Tomorrow has it’s own problems. And for me, that problem is organization – the very thing I’m best at and do for all of my clients. Why is it that cobblers son must have no shoes? Why are we the meanest to the ones we love the most? Why do we dress up to go out to meet strangers and walk around like a slob at home? Why do you park your car in a driveway and drive on a parkway? This, is life. And yours is the only one you’ve got. Live it up.
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