I’m really struggling at the moment… I have a full time job which just got a lot harder due to the departure of my boss and our administrator, meaning a shed load more work… add to this a two hour round trip commute; and trying (loosely) to work evenings on two side projects (this blog being one of them… so that’s work; then there’s the personal stuff of trying to be healthy and make it to the gym, and trying to be a good boyfriend and generally trying to keep myself sane and not crumbling under this ever increasing knot in my neck…!
Well… all of the above is just a big fail at the moment, and the stress is definitely not good stress!
You can see I used the word “trying” quite a bit… and this is true, have I bitten off more than I can chew, I don’t think so and I think I have handled more stress before… I was going to link to another post to reference this “stress” but seeing as that post is causing me issues on how to actually write and format it at the moment, and is quickly becoming a major part of this combined bad stress!
He must have a solution I hear you ask, otherwise why would he be posting this? –well the answer to this is I don’t… well not now at least; the idea is to use this post as more of an honest online brain dump and to try and formulate a plan as I write… will be interesting to see whether a)I actually come up with a plan, and b)stick to it…?
Ok so how do I start this…? I think my main issue at the moment is time, or lack thereof, so my usual process to start deconstructing things is to start listing the issues so we’ll begin there.
- Wanting to do something different to the regular 9-5, become my own boss, generate a sufficient income to enable me to work on all the personal projects I want to do and achieve. This resulted in the creation of this blog and another starter project to help fund the next projects.
- “work” workload has increased dramatically and for the next few months this will continue to increase as I take on more associated with the running of a FTSE 250 I.T department, that spans the countries across the globe, the current uncertainty surrounding this role and what the future prospects are… still considering this (need to?) as the job I will be doing for the next 30 years if the projects and ideas I have don’t pan out.
- The work commute, this is currently around a 2 hour round trip depending on traffic, I knew this would be the case but being a “drivers, driver” (recent term given to me by a police officer catching me speeding!) I thought this wouldn’t be an issue and that it would give me time to think; whilst it does give me time to think it is also a lot of wasted time, and taking the pleasure somewhat out of driving.
- Endlessly being tired; a combination of the previously mentioned commute, not enough sleep during the week due to late nights & early mornings, and then too much at the weekends… added to this the brain not actually shutting down properly for the background tasks and the seemingly mountain of things building that need to be processed…
- Taking too much and not taking time any out for myself to re-charge; when taking time out I am conscious I should be working; having had the work now rest later or you won’t be successful mentality drummed into me from various books and blogs. There is an element of burying my head in the sand somewhat, deliberately avoiding what I should be doing; I think this is a combo of fear, being new at this and trying to second guess what will work, and worrying if people will like what I write… is it “epic shit” or “boring tosh”
- All this is making me feel very frustrated, I know what I should be doing, I have an idea of how I should be doing it, but the failure and frustration is mounting due to this somewhat mental block or barrier that is becoming a catch 22 scenario… major frustrations at the moment are not having the motivation to visit the gym, having finally made it home after the day job, mustering the energy to go is at an all-time low, having an hours car journey to debate whether I go or not doesn’t help this process, as all I want to do when I get home is to chill for a bit eat some food and feebly attempt to start work on either a blog post or speak to a contractor about the other project. It’s all starting to prompt questions in my head as to whether I’m really up to this, am I capable of doing all this, have I bitten off more than I can chew…
- Burning the candle at both ends and trying to achieve all this, means other things I need to be doing are slipping through the cracks, little tasks be it personal or business related are being missed or not done. It also appears to be having an emotional effect to, my girlfriend must think I’m turning into a complete arsehole as she seems to be bearing the brunt of my frustrations… not good… at this rate I’m not sure how more supportive she’s going to be! –hence the creation of this post and something needing to be done!
I have probably missed some things but just getting that lot of my brain is somewhat of a relief, and that was pretty much the point of this exercise; just write a post and go with the flow, don’t over analyse (old habits die hard) and just list stuff as you think and type it… And you know what, honestly no gimmicks it actually feels a little better to know that I have taken action against my frustrations and the causes of these.
So… the task of fixing or making the issues better to handle, (whoa, feeling that I have the creativity juices flowing now, dammit why does it have to happen now, I am now clock watching and very conscious It’s getting pretty late here, do I continue and again go to bed late? (another late one) or try and bottle this energy and enthusiasm and keep it till tomorrow?) Getting back to fixing the issues above, looking at the issues, they (to me) look like layers; with each subsequent layer adding stress and compounding the frustrations… as I see it then the next step is to decide which way to work in shedding the layers and detailing how to tackle them individually… (But that can wait until tomorrow, as jumping some steps and heading to bed first! To be continued…)
Well, I was a good boy and went to bed… it does always surprise me the way a good release of endorphins are achieved after doing something well or in my case just doing something rather than worrying, and procrastinating…
Right then, lets deconstruct these layers, as I mentioned before I need decide how best to tackle these, I gave it some thought before I feel asleep and the conclusion I came to was to start with the core issues (say 1-4) as it’s these that are actually causing the frustrations; with the remaining points just being compounded frustrations…
- Whilst hungry and enthusiastic to try new things, I may be getting carried away a little and thinking a more long term rather than right here right now. My original plan was just to do the other side project and not this blog, so that it hopefully generated some income to help pay to develop a much bigger project I have in mind… (All will be revealed) this lead me to then develop this blog; I thought it would be a good idea to help promote what I am doing and provide help to others. I think that trying to run these projects simultaneously is causing a confliction of time, but it the long run I do see the benefits… I think I need to draw up a time plan as to roughly how I should be spending my time, as this affects other issues I will develop this as I write…
- I think I also need to bear in mind that I haven’t hit it big yet and still need to pursue my 9-5 just in case, regarding the actual job I do believe that I can do it (the increase in responsibility that is) but it is a steep curve in terms of extra work being taken on, something I need to do is to get my role defined as to what I am going to take on and what is genuinely possible, delusions of grandeur and ability to start some exciting “work” projects are also a distraction; I think that this has somewhat changed my conviction to pursuing a passive income. In an effort to get ahead and complete some tasks I do not always finish at 5, (actually I can’t remember that last time I did), I think this adds stress by reducing the “me” time in the evening for other projects or just some time to hit the gym or relax. My conclusion here is to make sure I do 9-5, and not any more during the week unless absolutely essential.
- The commute is a big deal and leaves me with four options to solve it… a) Quit, whilst not feasible at the moment I am looking forward to this at some point and reclaiming my life. b) Move, having only lived where I am for the last 6 months it would be a little drastic and potentially catastrophic for my relationship. c) Work from home, whilst my work would allow me to achieve this I believe in the current climate of reductions in the office this could be done infrequently but not sustained. d) Work from our London Office more often, this seems the most likely scenario of all possibilities, the train from my home to the London office can also take around 2 hours round trip but I have the advantage of being able to type or read on the train. This also allows me to have a better perceived presence than if I was to work from home. Next is working out how many days and when best to do those days during the working week.
- I’m guessing, you may think that having too little or too much sleep would be an easy fix, go to bed early get up early right…? You’d think that it would be that simple, but as mentioned before; because I haven’t been leaving work until later, this pretty much compresses the available time in the evenings to do things. This then forms a reluctance to then go to bed until I am happy that I have completed certain tasks, or giving up completely. So the plan of action then really dictates that I leave work on time thus allowing me some extra time, and combining this with point 3. Should help to better achieve the extra work in the evenings, and then not feel so guilty for having some time out.
So to sum up, in order to help avoid the frustrations of points 5, 6, and 7, increase my motivation and output I need to change how I have been living my working week… as I mentioned I have been working how best to come up with a time plan, and how I should allocate my time during the week. I believe I have come up with some workable times (see pic) that should help to help me achieve a lot more… whilst doing this I had a couple of scary insights… a) work does take up a huge amount of my time, time that isn’t spent on me. (Looking forward to getting this time back) b) the thought of allocating my evenings with up the minute detail and additional space for work didn’t fill me with joy at all.
Seeing as this whole thing is a work in progress to help better motivate me, I have left this time in the evenings that doesn’t have a set agenda to recreational time, I do have an idea of how I will spend this time, but for the mean time to help the routine and its acceptance by me, I am giving myself some wiggle room and freedom during this time.
Be sure to check back, as I will drop in some updates at a later date to see what affect this has had on my stress and mental health issues, and whether things have improved, any changes I made, and if I actually kept up with the planned routine…
If you have had any similar experiences I’d love to hear how you have been affected and what steps you have taken to resolve things…