So this has been a year. Was it slightly better than 2020? Sure, but then again it was most likely never going to be worse than 2020. However, one of the good things about this past year is that I learned a lot about myself, specifically on how I run a (or my) business. So in the spirit of just about every lists, website, magazine and media outlet this time of year, here are my “Top Five lessons of 2021”:
1) I like a schedule (even though I don’t need to follow one)
One of the benefits of being self-employed is that you can work at anytime…no more 9-5, you can set your own schedule. Well I learned pretty quickly that I like a schedule when I’m working, and when it comes to sliding in some chores or a run during the day, I also like those to be at the same time everyday. Do I know why? I’m not sure; maybe it makes it easier to draw that line between “work-time” and “family time”?
2) I do my best work first thing in the morning
Not only did I realize that I like a set schedule when it comes to work, but I also quickly realized that I do my best work in the morning. I get up early, and after a coffee, I walk down to the office and work for 2-3 hours before taking a break. Those are the most productive hours of the day. Not only do I feel productive starting the day in such a manner, but it’s also incentive to get away from the computer and go for a walk/run, which leads to:
3) I do some of my best thinking while running/walking
After working for 2-3 hours (told you I like a schedule), I then like to go for a run or a walk. For 1 to 1.5 hrs, I’m outside (usually rain or shine) running or walking, and while I’m working on my body, my mind is very often working on a development or creative problem that I’ve stumbled onto, or even planning the best way to move forward with a future project. Nothing like feeding two birds with one seed.
4) I need a team
All of my life, prior to starting this business in 2020, I worked with other people, usually in a small company and in a team-focused environment. Within a few weeks of working on my own at home, I realized that being able to bounce ideas off of people, or even just shooting the sh%# with them was an essential part of how I operate as a human being. It took me a while to solve this one as I don’t see myself hiring anyone anytime soon, but when a part-time opportunity came up at our great local brewery (Steel & Oak), I jumped on it. Not only do I get to be part of a team now (and a great team they are), but it also gets me out of the house (and helps pays the bills).
5) After a lifetime of regular paychecks, it’s hard to go without.
It took me the longest time to figure out how to budget without a regular paycheck every two weeks, and to be honest, I’m still not sure of the best way to do it. I think the idea is to believe in oneself enough to know that one will bring in enough work stay in business every month; and so far it’s worked…but when does the fear that next month might be the month that I don’t go away? Maybe it doesn’t and maybe it shouldn’t, but it sure makes it hard to sleep some nights.
That’s all I’ve got for now. It might be followed by another similar post in the next few weeks, but based on the amount of work I’ve got on my plate in 2022, it probably won’t.
Hey…Does that mean I can sleep now?