In the Trenches: Slowing Down


I find myself in a very strange place. Ever since I was laid off from my last "real" job (or shall we say, job working for "the man") back in 2008, I've spent my time building up my business, adding to my workload, and trying to get back to what I earned before. Now, for the first time, I'm in the opposite position. I need to start cutting back, or at least allocating my time better.

See, in early January 2012 (give or take a few days), I'll become a dad for the first time. That means I'm going to have a much bigger workload on my hands, and none of it will be business-related. (Though I imagine a fair bit of it will have me dealing with crap in a more literal sense.)

I fully expect to have many sleepless nights, and during the day I know I'm going to want to spend as much time as I can with my kid. That means I'm not going to have nearly as much time to devote to the business as I do today. That's a scary thought.

On the bright side, it means I'll be able to help stranded clients in the middle of the night, since I'll probably already be awake. But it also means that during the day, I'm not going to be nearly as productive as I have been. That's a strange thing to consider, but it's the way it's going to be. I want to be a very active dad.

Some of this can be alleviated through my efforts to shift work to others in the company. (I'm even working on hiring my first concierge outside the U.S., but that's a topic for another post.) But there's more to the business than just the concierge work. There's a great deal of writing involved (including this column), and that falls on me.

So now I find myself trying to re-evaluate how I spend my time and it's a very interesting exercise. When you're starting out, you just keep adding to what you do, hoping to make a living and fill up your time. I'm glad to be in a place now where I can afford to start getting more picky with that time. The only problem? I don't really want to stop doing anything that I do today.

That's led me to start thinking about efficiency. Could I be using my time more efficiently to do all the work I do today? That's where I'm heading now, though I know that there are going to be changes coming soon. (I have a new writing gig coming up and there might be some frequency changes elsewhere.) I still have a couple months to figure all this out, so wish me luck.