Going Solo. 8. Time & Space

Last week, I covered money and budgets. Time and Space are equally as important, if not more so.

Time

We hit “Time” here, in post 4. I find that time runs away from me very easily. I have also discovered that all time is not created equal. One hour in the morning is worth several in the afternoon for me. I have more energy and enthusiasm early. Come evening-time, there are some tasks that I just can’t do. Writing for example. It may be that I could retrain myself, but it’s certainly easier to lean into my natural inclinations. If I have a lot to do, I’ll go to be bed earlier and get up earlier. Your mileage my differ.

Whatever decisions that you have made about time, will have an impact on space. Obviously, much will depend on the type of endeavour that you are pursuing, but in general, where are you going to work?

Space

At home? A coffee shop? A shared workspace? If you have been reading along, you know that I recommend not spending a cent unless absolutely necessary. However, be realistic. If your personal circumstances make working at home impossible, then you need to make a plan about where you can work effectively. If that means paying a licence fee for a shared workspace, then budget for it.

Routine

Once you have decided on where and when you will be working, get to your notebook and setup a page “Normal Routine.” All we’re doing here is some time-blocking. It’s not rocket science. Simply, if you have decided that you need 10 hours a week to make the project work, then let’s see where those 10 hours are. Once you have set them, you need to commit to them. Life will get in the way, and not every week will be “Normal”. That’s fine, it happens to us all. But to adjust a plan, you first need to have a plan.

I time block every week, either on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. I fill in my scheduled appointments, then my ‘must-dos’ for the coming week. This gives me an idea of the shape of my days, and the key things that I am going to achieve.

Next week

We have the numbers, the time and space, next week – “Learning the Ropes”.

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Going Solo. 4. Where will you find the time?

Time

The finite resource. You spend some of your time earning money to fund your life. We spend yet more time sleeping, eating, and drinking.

You need to find the time to follow your dream. Time that might otherwise be spent with loved ones or on other things. In my opinion, this is the single biggest sacrifice that you will need to make if you want to go solo. There is an often used trope:

“Don’t say that you don’t have time. You have the same hours in the day as Albert Einstein/Jonny Ive/Nelson Mandela/Insert overachiever here.”

There’s truth in this. We all have multiple demands on our time. We make choices. Assuming that you are keeping your day job and starting a side-hustle, then you have to choose to spend some of your leisure time differently.

Notebook

Pick a page, say 10 pages before the end of your book. Write “Time Audit” at the top and in the index. Next Monday, account for every hour of the day on this page. On Tuesday do the same on the next. You can get as granular as you like with this, and there are all manner of electronic methods too – Toggl springs to mind, and I use one called Harvest. The Tech companies are pretty good about showing you your device usage if you care to look for it. We’re just trying to get an honest understanding of where our time is currently spent.

For example – my morning looks like this so far.

  • Up at 0600
  • Dog 0:20
  • Social Catchup 0:15
  • Swim 0:30
  • Journal 0:10
  • Business – Suppliers 1:05
  • Journal 0:20
  • Writing 1:00

I don’t try to account for every minute, whether I spend 6 minutes or 8 minutes on a coffee doesn’t interest me. We all need those minutes in-between, “margin” as some writers call them.

At the end of the week, revisit each page and tot up where your time is going. Again – be honest. You’re not publishing this anywhere, it’s for you. Most people I know come across one or two categories that surprise them. Social media and that wonderful phrase, “content consumption” often come up.

Analysis

Looking at your week, where can you find the time that you could reassign to the side-hustle? An hour in the morning before the household wakes? On your commute? As part of your lunch break? Instead of Game of Thrones or Fortnight? Something has got to give. It can be tempting to look at sleep. “I’ll just go to bed an hour later.” Be very careful. Sleep is important, you need it to function at your best and starting a new business, you want to be at your best.

Family

If you share your life with one or more people, then you need to discuss your plans with them. You will need their support going forward, and this is the time to get buy-in.

At the end of the week, you should have an idea of where you can find the time to dedicate each week, and at what point in the week. You will know what you are setting aside to achieve this, and, if relevant, you have support of those with whom you live.

This is beginning to look possible, isn’t it?

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