The List

Note: Also posted on my other blog.

I build my life around lists. The only way I can fight off the crippling panic of an approaching deadline is by writing a to-do list, no matter how massive with sub-bullets and sub-sub-bullets and so on. Seeing a physical representation of everything I need or want to do is soothing. Without it, all the things tumble around inside my head, disjointed and scratchy, and seem much bigger than they are. Trapping them in a list makes them manageable. And then I can start marking things off. There are few things as satisfying as scanning a list to find the next thing to do because most of the items are scratched out.

But there is one list that never gets written down, that never seems to get shorter. It’s the “I’ll get around to it” list. It consists of things that I want to do, but these things have no real deadlines. No in-built urgency. So I can make excuses, decide that I’ll find time later, that there are more important or more enjoyable things that need to be done now.

Learning to drive is on that list. Yes, I’m 29, and I don’t know how to drive. I have my learner’s. I actually had to renew it earlier this year. I promised my mom that I would learn to drive this year, because she wants to give me her old car. And it would be a wonderful thing. I wouldn’t have to wait to get a ride places. I could find a better job farther away from home and convenient bus routes. I could fill up the back of the car with tables and displays and boxes of jewelry and vend at more markets. Out of town markets. Even outdoor markets. More markets would mean more chances for income, which would help pay for the car’s costs.

But driving lessons are expensive. Like, “my entire paycheck” expensive. And getting behind the wheel is terrifying. Cars are massive weapons hurtling down a road that may or may not be in good shape, between other massive weapons that may or may not be in good shape and driven by people who may or may not be fit to drive. It takes just a second of distraction or exhaustion or panic for a car to kill someone. And so I keep putting it off.

Both of my blogs wound up on that list. Everything else just became more important or easier to do. I didn’t have an idea for an update. I’ll get to it later. I didn’t have time to write that larger article. I’ll get to it later. Later. Later. Later. Always later.

Never done.

So I’ve been making plans to get both blogs functional again. Because if I don’t just do it, I’ll never find the ‘right time.’ There will always be something else. Something in the way. Some of the latest include physio, money troubles, and this massive writing thing I’ve been working on all year. I’ve been prioritizing the writing these last couple of months, placing it far above everything else. (I will write more about this later.)

There are other things, too, that I’m trying to do. To get my life in order. Little things that build up and press in on me. Dishes and laundry and taking out the recycling. So I am making lists. Daily lists and weekly lists. Next step is a schedule, so I don’t get carried away doing one thing to the detriment of the entire list. That’s going to take some tweaking, as I figure out how much time I need to do each thing.

But this is the struggle of any work-from-home situation. Time management. I’m used to having a work environment, and someone above me assigning tasks. My home has always been free time, time to watch movies or read or go on day trips to the science center. So making my home environment productive is a challenge. But I have to do it if I want to succeed with my writing and my jewelry.

I’m going to do it.

Start-up Struggles: Lists for the Scattered Brain

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I’m a list person.

My brain is filled with an endless chatter of ideas and images and tangents. Sometimes it’s exciting, like when I get ideas for new products or stories. Other times, it’s stressful as hell, because I can’t keep things straight. And when you have so very many things to do, it’s necessary to keep things straight.

So, lists. When I write a list down, I can clear the scattered bits of it out of my head, allowing for space for other scattered bits. I’m not flailing about uselessly because I’ve started a dozen things, finished none, and have no idea where to continue. (That’s when Anxiety moves in, bringing along its friend Self-Doubt, and they don’t let me focus at all.)

Starting up your own business is a busy task. There’s no time for feeling like there’s too much to do, that you can’t possibly figure it all out. That’s time that should be going to the business (especially when you’re working several jobs, like I am, and have limited time to work on the business anyway.) I’ve got so many things that I need or want to do with my jewelry, and the bits and pieces of them are so scattered that it seems undoable. I thought it might get easier the longer I do it (you know, crossing things off the list and whatnot) but it doesn’t. There’s always more. Another market. New ideas. New social media platforms. New problems.

So it’s list time. I’ve started scraping together the bits of tasks and ideas. And I was right, there’s a lot. And I keep adding more. Expanding ideas. New questions. But writing them down will help.

I hope.

So…it’s time for a list.

So I’m trying to get my various plans out of my head and onto paper so I can

Balancing Act

I don’t recommend trying to balance four jobs at once, unless you absolutely have to.

Especially don’t quit one of those jobs and attempt to seamlessly slide into another job right after.

This is a very long week for me. My mom’s out of the country for the week, so I booked four days off at the coffee kiosk so I could help out at her store. (Not that it’s stopped them from asking me to pick up a shift during these four days.) The other three days, I’m slinging coffee.

I also landed a new part-time job in a book store, so I put in my notice at the coffee kiosk on Sunday. My last shift there is tomorrow. And of course, the new job is trying to schedule me in for training. (I did tell them that I would have to put in my notice, and that I was needed at my mom’s store for these four days before I was even interviewed.) There was some serious miscommunication happening (her call/voice mail to me just didn’t show up in my phone, and a message I left for her about not hearing from her didn’t make it to her, either) that had me freaking out. I should probably note that this is the first time in my life where I’m going directly from one job to another. Every other time, I’ve had some time off in between, allowing me flexibility with scheduling training shifts. But it’s sorted now, I start on Monday, and I’m not the only one. Yay.

The new job is a mornings-only, 3-4 shifts a week, no Saturdays gig. Yeah, it’s 5am, but I’d be done by 10am, giving me time not only to be productive during “normal day hours,” but I could even have a nap before being productive. I’m also hoping that I’ll have fewer problems with my lungs.

(I have a chronic cough that may be asthma, but the doctors don’t seem to be interested in running any sort of tests beyond x-rays. The coffee kiosk has every single one of my triggers, and I have the worst of the worst coughing fits there at least once a shift. And it’s gotten so bad that I’m now dealing with super-fun bouts of rib pain that’s likely inflammation in the intercostal muscles or tendons. Which the doctors also don’t seem to want to test for beyond x-rays and blood tests to rule out blood clots. At least it’s not blood clots.)

So it’s been quiet at my beading table this week. I did get in a shipment of findings yesterday that I’m mostly happy with (one item was listed as metal, but I’m about 98% certain it’s plastic…and if not, it’s stupid-cheap metal.) The next Witchery Market is in two weeks, so I’d better get in gear.

With the no Saturdays thing, though…I’m going to have to take a serious look at applying for one of the local farmer’s markets. I still need to do some research into a few things for it, and there’s no guarantee I’d get in. But if I can get in to a weekly market and make a decent amount of money every week, I could potentially quit working for someone else (aside from my mom) entirely.

Busy, busy brain.

Start-Up Struggles: Can Anyone Hear Me?

The Internet is a very big place.

This isn’t an entirely new revelation for me. I mean, I practically grew up on the Internet. I remember begging my mom to let me sign up for my very first email so I could chat with my friends on MSN Messenger. I remember when my mom downloaded a “caller ID” app on our computer so that when someone called, we could decide if we wanted to get off the Internet to answer it (wasn’t dial-up wonderful?) I’ve always known I was just a very small presence on the web.

And I’ve always been rather content being small. Making friends on message boards, maybe sharing my email with a few trusted ones so we could chat on MSN (I held on to that for a long time, okay? Well into my twenties.) And then I transitioned to Facebook, because that’s where everyone else was. I’m far from a tech-y person and I take a long time to learn new tech stuff, so I tend to stick to one thing at a time.

But with this whole jewelry business thing…I have to make myself big. Or at least,¬†bigger. I have to engage lots of different types of people. I’m throwing myself at multiple social media platforms and hoping that I don’t flail around aimlessly for too long. True, I did take a little marketing in my degree, but that was by no means the focus of my studies, and none of it touched on social media marketing.

I’m left feeling very small and very quiet.

Of course, if it wasn’t for the Internet, I’d have no hope of getting this business going without a serious cash investment. So I just have to buckle down and figure this stuff out. When I’m not¬†making jewelry, or taking pictures, or kicking my manuscript, or pouring coffee, or chasing Tizzy, or writing newsletters…

Maybe I can give up sleep?