Getting Organised

I think I’m having trouble getting organised.

Trying to juggle running a business, a family, a blog,  a side hustle and a very active social life has left me feeling rather frazzled recently.

I’m beginning to question if I’m doing any of them particularly well?  If spreading my attention in too many areas means that I’m only skimming the surface in each?

Lots of projects – lots of  sticky notes and reminders, a cluttered workspace – and a rotten short term memory.  None of this is helping me progress and I think its about time, that getting organised has to become one of my immediate priorities.

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Most importantly, am I giving my business clients a good value for money service? After all – these clients provide me with my daily bread and butter, and help keep a roof over my head. No matter how many other projects I’m trying to juggle – the business I’ve been running for the last 5 years will always remain my number one priority as it provides 98% of my income.

That said I don’t want to give up any of my other activities – I enjoy them all.

In addition to running my own company – I’m also beginning to spend an increasing amount of time on this blog (which I enjoy and find very useful in helping get my mind in order – by writing things down, it helps me think things through properly). As the blog grows and matures – I hope to recoup some of the time that I have spent on it, by selling small amounts of advertising space.

Is blogging about something you like the ultimate side hustle? Maybe not – but I think I’m already getting tremendous personal benefit by writing things down, ordering my thoughts, and putting a plan into action.

I do have a rather lame side hustle though -last year – my eldest son and I set up an ebay business together (more on this in a later post), selling ladies handbags and purses which we bought from a local import warehouse. From a very slow beginning, our monthly sales have been steadily increasing to reach the point where in July and August 2013 we made a profit for the first time. However, Ebay have recently changed their terms and conditions, resulting in increased cost of sales. These cost increases mean that our small margin has been wiped out and we both now feel that we are working for the benefit of Ebay rather than for ourselves. I have a feeling (well actually I KNOW) that after the Christmas sales period – we will shut the Ebay shop down and sell off our remaining stock for whatever we can get for it. Now that Ebay have increased their costs for a basic store, and are taking a % of the shipping cost as well as the selling cost – its just not worth it anymore. Ebay is no longer small seller friendly – it only wants to deal with seller of thousands of items.

The orignial reasoning behind setting up the store was an attempt to get my son interested in running a business of his own – however in hindsight it was never going to work with a 17 year old who is mad on sports and has a busy social life. His initial interest has diminished over the months and now its me who does all of the listing, photographing, packing, posting etc. Its now become more effort than its worth.

One thing I am determined not to give up is my social life. I am the chairman of my local angling association – and we have over 1500 members. I moderate the clubs facebook page, maintain our membership database and represent our club on countless committees and on a government committee  for environmental improvements in our region. Fishing and my fishing/environmental related activities is the one thing in life which is so totally different from the financial world I spend my working life in. Its a role that I’ve grown to love over the years, its my way of putting something back into our local community. I get to meet so many interesting people, help lots of people to learn to fish, and if I could – I would do more not less.

Like everything else in my life – deep down – underneath the veneer of everyday life, I know what I should be doing to help rectify these feeling that I’ve taken too much on – but I’ve done nothing about it.
Its simple really – I’m just not organised.
I’m not organised in my thought patterns or processes. I’m not organised in my business processes. I’m not organised in my record keeping (well i am, but not enough) and most importantly I’m don’t organise my management of time.
Being a happy go lucky – easy come easy go character is all well and good. But the point has come in my life that change is necessary – and BIG changes at that.
So for the first time in my life – I’m going to start  getting organised.

The first thing that I am going to do as part of this new getting organised regime,  is to start using a TO DO LIST !
The “To Do List” – will be written out at the end of each working day – so that I can mentally prepare myself for following day, and hopefully stop me rolling over too many “to do”s
I know that many of you will think that its crazy that someone as busy as me has been able to manage life without a “to do list” for so long – but I was fine for many years juggling stuff in my head – now as my age advances my ability to hold a list of short term tasks is diminishing. I’m beginning to annoy people by not completing simple tasks which I promise to do. Theres so much spinning around in my head and not enough of it is sticking any more.

Getting organised is now an essential part of my progression from bum to financial freedom fighter. Once I’ve managed 14 days on the “to do list” and feels as though its becoming part of my normal working day, then I’m going to then start a process of time allocation – to see if I can condense my working life by working more intensely and effectively – thus freeing up more time for hobbies and family.

To be honest – as I’m sitting here writing out this post – I cant believe that I’ve run my life on such an adhoc / disorganised basis over all these years. No wonder I’m in such a financial mess.

Its about time I started getting organised. So…..

I raise my tea cup to change – Vive la change!

Comments

  1. I can completely relate! Between my job that pays the bills, working toward a second Masters degree, promoting my book, writing for a men’s health site, and running my own blog, I am definitely spread pretty thin right now. However, like you, I really enjoy the blog – it takes more time than I would have imagined – and feel as though not only am I getting some good information out to people, but I am also learning in the process. Now if there were only 26 or 27 hours in a day!

  2. You have to make sure that you keep doing the things you find enjoyable – they make the slog worthwhile

  3. Wow, it sounds like you certainly have a lot of hobbies, which is really great! I started blogging several years ago and since had had a few side business ideas grow off of that. I love the feeling of having a new business that I want to work on with all my free time.

    I love making lists and getting organized, I just hope that I can write as fast as I think sometimes!

  4. Thanks for sharing your challenges in such a transparent way. I think we can all relate to how you feel. Just blogging alone could be a full time job! Wishing you continued success as you explore and find the systems that work just right for you, and it sounds like you have your priorities straight.

    • Hi Eliza – I’m a right old stick in the wood, and I’m not finding making big changes easy. So breaking things down into a progression of small incremental steps seems to be what works for most people – its what I’m doing too.
      Reading all the other blogs out there about how other people are turning their lives around is very inspirational

  5. Just read, Julie Morgensterns great book, “Time Management from the Inside Out”. Great book. She reminded me that there’s only so many hours in a day! Time management is an endless challenge. I’m completing a time log now!

    • Thanks Barbara for the book recommendation. Time management and the allocation of time during my working day is something I need to address. I will look that book up.
      First things first, I will make sure that my to do list becomes an ingrained habit.

    • Agreed…a very good book. Definitely recommended.

  6. Mike, I can totally identify with this. I too have serious work to do on my organizational skills. I’m working on it bit by bit, but have a long way to go. I don’t handle schedules very well – they make me feel a bit trapped and ADHDish, so I’m working on an organization plan “B”. We’ll see. :-)

  7. To – do lists are one of the most helpful things for me. I struggled with this a lot when I first started my blog. I was still in school, working full time, blogging, and just generally overwhelmed. Organization is most definitely key to keeping things going smoothly and taking the edge off of the stress. I think it’s great that you’re not willing to give up your social life – you need to have some fun.

  8. I think – and I’m kind of making this up as I type, so feel free to disagree or debate! – that one of the down-sides of an extremely frugal lifestyle is that one can force oneself to do everything for themselves. One fixates on the cash cost of an activity sometimes without considering the value of doing that thing yourself.

    For myself, although I too am on a journey to try to hit some kind of financial independence (still at base camp though!) I don’t consider the money I pay a cleaner to be a ‘waste’. That’s three hours a week I save myself (already working full time, being a father to one and husband to an ill wife), and get a nice clean house in the bargain. She only lives round the corner, and keeps an eye on the house when we’re away, and vice versa, so it works out well.

    I think what I’m trying to say amongst all this waffle is – consider delegating. I notice you are chairman of your angling club, but you also update the web pages and databases. Can’t one of the other 1500 members do one of those jobs? Not criticizing, just curious!!!

    I’d be interested in any one else’s thoughts…

    • Mark, you’re spot on.
      Delegation of simple tasks is really important. Thats why, like you, so many people employ a domestic cleaner. Its not because they’re lazy, far from it, its because they recognise the value of their time.
      Many successful bloggers employ the services of Virtual Assistants from lower wage cost countries to take over the more mundane tasks involved in running a blog. Again I can see the attraction in this, but at present my blog doesnt make any money so it might be something I re-consider if it becomes financially viable.

      With the fishing club, I have recently updated the website, and have given a few of the members log ins and passwords so that they can upload content to the site.
      I am also learning how to automate the databases which will save me a heap of time.

      If the truth be told, If I could make a living out of fishing I would. Its been a lifelong passion, and without bragging, I’m really good at it.
      However, the real attraction to me about fishing, isnt catching fish. its the friendships and camaraderie of fellow anglers and the relaxation and peace of mind that comes with it. Catching fish isnt the most important part of the process.

      Thanks for taking the time to flick through my pages and leave a comment

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