So a frequent visitor and personal friend (we’ve built our friendship through online interactions, which will be a great blog post in the future…), Alana, asked the following question:
I’m not really sure the appropriate area to pose this question, but do you have any advice on how to stay focused in your current job when you are SO excited about all the possibilities that are ahead of you? I mean, you are still employed by another entity right now, as am I, and now that I am getting pumped and my eyes are opening to a world of opportunity, I find it even MORE difficult to make sure I am still producing for my current employer. Do you have any thoughts or advice on this?
This is a FABULOUS question and one I struggle with ALL THE TIME! To catch everyone up to speed, it’s September 24, 2011 as I type this. I am currently employed by a corporation as an Accounting Manager. My last day with this organization will be October 7, 2011.
I’M SO EXCITED I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MYSELF!
The prospect of being full time self employed is AWESOME and TERRIFYING all at the same time. My excitement leads me to thinking about and wanting to work on things for A Better Way of Business ALL THE TIME. At my day job, at home, when I’m spending time with Skye and Alexander, when I should be sleeping, when I’m driving (yeah… almost got into a wreck the other day when I was hashing through something for A Better Way of Business in my mind… not good). Like I said, ALL THE TIME!
But how should this be handled when you still have a day job? This is something that confronts me frequently. Honestly, I’ve not handled this the best, but I have some pointers that can REALLY help if you APPLY them to YOUR life!
1) Carry an Idea Notebook.
When starting your own business you need to make sure you don’t stifle your idea generator… which is YOU! But you also can’t take an hour away from your employer to hash out all the details of an idea that hits you while you’re “on the clock”. REMEMBER, your employer is PAYING you to do work for THEM, so you need to be focusing your efforts on DOING YOUR JOB!
What I have found to be the most help for me in retaining my ideas and allowing me to keep hammering away at my day job is simply to take an Idea Notebook with me to work. For me, it’s a 100 page spiral bound notebook (green). When ideas hit me or tasks that need to be accomplished I put them in my notebook to address later. This way, I don’t forget my ideas because I’m able to get them down in writing quickly (just take a few notes to jog your memory later) and I can then return to work KNOWING that I will be able to come back to the ideas I had during the day.
Since this is old school, you can supplement an Idea Notebook with emails to yourself (although be VERY CAREFUL using ANYTHING of your employers to do ANYTHING for YOUR business… not somewhere I’d want to go), take notes on your smart phone, or sign up for an account with Evernote (I do not currently use this service but will be looking into it shortly!).
2) Get up one hour earlier in the morning.
First, let me say I don’t want you to tell me, “I’m not a morning person.”
Guess what? I’M NOT EITHER!!! But I get up at 5:00 AM virtually EVERY MORNING because I know what my priorities are. Each morning I get up and get ready, then I have a quiet time, followed by 30 minutes or so of work on A Better Way of Business. On the weekends, getting up at 5:00 AM usually leads to THREE HOURS of uninterrupted work time on my business!!!
Getting up early and spending 30 minutes working on your business can help you get through your day at your “day job”. And it should help you speed up the process of going full time at your business (assuming you’re actually being productive).
3) Take your lunch break to work on your business.
I try to make my lunch break as productive as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss meals, so I always eat, but you DO NOT have to go out to eat with your friends or keep working through your lunch break. Whether or not you get a 30 minute lunch break or an hour, you should be investing that time in your business.
Again, I would warn you in the strongest way I can AGAINST using your current employer’s resources to do ANYTHING for YOUR business. I just don’t think that’s a good idea.
However, in today’s world, I think Skye and I are two of the only people without smart phones. So use your phone to address email, jot down notes on ideas or tasks to accomplish, or typing up a blog post (if that’s part of your business).
If you don’t have a smart phone or even wireless access in a nearby restaurant, bring your laptop and sit in your car and hammer out some activities for your business (you can always type blog posts and emails offline and then post / send when you get home).
WOW! This is the longest post by me yet. However, I think these are some pretty useful guidelines on how to make sure you still get your day job done while you’re traveling down the road to self employment.
What do you think? Agree with my ideas? Have different or better ideas YOU would like to suggest??? Please throw them out in the comments below. They’ll benefit us all!