This month marks my one-year anniversary of having left my full-time employment and striking out on my own. I've been lucky in a number of ways. For one thing, I was already doing some independent work before I made the move so I had a base on which to start my new work life. For another thing, the people that I've been working with are, by and large, quite nice and generous in terms of allowing me leeway to juggle my different clients.
I do get a little wired after sitting for so many hours at the computer every day but the writing assignments are varied and I enjoy the challenges.
One of my biggest challenges however is keeping myself focused. I think that I've mentioned before....I can easily "just check" my FB page and then spend 10 minutes scrolling down to find out who's kid has done something cute, who needs a ride to Jerusalem, who is off on a political tangent or jump from task to task a dozen times within an hour, getting absolutely nothing done.
Yesterday someone told me that MATI, the Israeli small business administration, which runs courses (I've already taken two with them this year) gives a special course called "Running Your Business with ADD (Attention-deficit disorder)."
I'd love to take the course but I think that my time and money budget for courses has run out. I have, however, collected some tips that I intend to start implementing.
1. Write out your list of daily tasks and follow the list. Every day. Well, I've already bought myself a new notebook and it's propped up here next to my computer, so here we go.
2. Start your day slowly and move into your tasks. I'd like to pay more attention to this blog, so I'm planning to start each day with a blogpost and then move into emails and onward.
3. Get rid of your Facebook/Twitter/anything else that distracts you. Well, I'm not about to do that, if for no other reason than 4 of my 5 kids have allowed me to "friend" them, so that's how I get to see their photos and get an idea of what they're up to. Also, I can keep an ear out as to what's happening in my community, in real time. However, I do intend to limit myself much more strictly.
4. Set up a daily schedule. I've had a general schedule floating around for awhile but I intend to be more proactive in sticking to the schedule. For instance, i will complete 2 hours of work every morning before I head out for the dogs' morning walk (easier in the fall/winter/spring, when the weather is nicer, than in the summer when, by 9:00a.m., you don't want to move outside, but we'll reevaluate next spring.
5. Learn to say "no." I'm not very good at this but this past year I've gotten caught up with a number of outside tasks that have sapped my time and energy. They were all worthy causes and I'm not sorry that I did them, but there are plenty of people in this area who aren't the sole support of their families and can more easily step into the void, as long as I have the strength to decline my own assistance.
6. Take care of dreaded tasks first so you can look forward to the rest of your day. I don't really have "dreaded tasks" but I do have some projects that are more monotonous and draining than others and I tend to put those off. It's not a great idea to hold those off till 11:00p.m. -- they're going to be waiting there for you, regardless.
7. Treat yourself for a job well done. Ah well, this one would have been more helpful if I wouldn't have just embarked on Weight Watchers (next post) but it's still a good idea.
By the way, when I started to write this, I did some google searches for "Attention-deficit disorder business, attention-deficit disorder work, etc. The results were, shall we say, not very useful -- things like "find a cheerleader to keep you on track and help you meet your goals, don't try to do it all yourself, start small and learn your limitations and follow your interests. I mean, isn't that true for anything that you do? Keeping focused on the job at hand (especially when you know that you won't eat the next month if you don't succeed) goes beyond the platitudes of "find a cheerleader" and "start small."