Monday, March 10, 2014

J Is For Juggling Roles

The weekend was rough. We had electricity problems and were unconnected for more than 24 hours. It was not a loadshedding issue ( loadhshedding was not implemented in my area anyway). It was just a technical problem that was complicated by a techie who told the utility company that everything was fine on their end when they did in fact have a problem and it was affecting us.

So I had to back-and-forth with the utility for a while to get proper help. Meanwhile, our house  just felt dark and dank. We have a gas stove, lamps, heaters etc, so we could do the basics. But it's shocking how the lack of power affected our morale.

I also had to throw away perishables we didn't eat immediately. I was not going to risk our health eating food that could be off. I'm contacting our home insurance company today to see if I can claim money for that. We'll see.

Meanwhile, let's talk about juggling. As small business owners, we juggle many roles in any given day. You are the company's CEO, marketing manager, receptionist, social media person, spokesperson, probably even cleaner. 

If you haven't outsourced some functions, chances are that you are also the company's administrator and bookkeeper. If you work from home, you are your company's landlord too.

Add the personal/individual roles too and it gets very messy. For example,  I'm also a daughter, sister, partner, aunt, activist, homemaker, gardener, cook, care-giver, communications specialist, writer, author and indie publisher


On any given day, one of these roles takes prominence. I plan for as much of it as I can, to make sure that I can meet the requirements of the roles. Sometimes one of the issues is urgent or important, so the others have to take a back seat.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt is to do my best to keep things simple. I  put into a routine all the tasks that I do on a regular basis. Sounds boring, I know. But when you follow a routine, you don't have to wonder "what's next?" One task flows into another and you get most of the things done.

I've also started to ask myself when I face a new task- is this important to me? And if it isn't, do I really have time to bother?  Like everyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day and have to find ways to use it for maximum impact in my life. This requires me to take out things that don't add to my life or have negative impact or they are just nice to have.

I'm learning new things about my priorities too. For example, I used to prioritise the work/business-related roles first, and then try to fit in whatever life demands in the cracks of time that were left. It worked very for me at the time, so I won't knock it.

But I've come to realise that I'm happier, work harder, more efficiently when the life related roles are taken care of.  A quiet, calm life with no drama and routine tasks being taken care creates an enabling environment for me to create with words.


Student Mommy said...

I can't think if the kitchen isn't tidy. The dining room is ignored, but the kitchen seems to own me. If the kitchen is tidy I can rest comfortably for the whole day.
As for load-shedding - lucky you. We're out (when they actually do it) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6pm to 8:30pm... with a family that needs to be bathed, fed, etc in that time. Grrr. And then on Tuesday and Thursday from 4am to 6:30 am... wouldn't you know... I use those times to get the family ready to leave in the morning. So grateful for my gas stove and battery operated lighting (my husband is a genius).

Damaria Senne said...

@student Mommy - Wow! Your schedule is heavy! And the timing is just rough.

Is that the stage 3 schedule? Ours was supposed to be 4-6.30 am, 12h30 -14h30 and 20h00-22h30 for stage 3. Stage is 20h00 to 22h30, but it never happened.

Shawn said...

I loved where you stated that its ok for us to outsource. I have my first subcontractor working for me. I was worried about bringing her on but I just couldn't do it all. Then...I made a very hard decision for me. I hired someone to come in and clean once a week. The stress this took off my shoulders was so amazingly awesome. Do I feel guilty?? A little until I walk in the livingroom and there is no more dog hair on the floors and she mops! We need to take care of ourselves. There are somethings we can juggle and then there are things to outsource.

Damaria Senne said...

@Amanda Norris - I know what you mean. When Baby was little, it was so much harder to get things done while she wanted to chat/play etc. But time flew so fast. Now I realise that was her season.. and now it's the season for something else.

@Shawn - There are only so many hours in the day, and my feeling is, if you can get help with aspects that you can't do/hate to do/don't have time to do and can create a more enabling environment for you to live, work and spend more time with your family, then it works.

Crystal Collier said...

I love that--you work better when life is in balance. That's something I have to keep in mind while working madly--but I find the routine is what keeps me sane as well, and accomplishing things. I tell people I can do anything, as long as they give me time to calendar it in.

Damaria Senne said...

@ Crystal - that's the challenge, isn't it? Most times we are not given enough time to calendar it in.

Gaynor Paynter said...

There actually is no time that is convenient for loadshedding or for any power outage. Always makes me LOL when people go oh you're so lucky you get it at such and such time, mine is at breakfast / lunch / dinner, etc. The fact is that electricity has made us reliant on it at all times of the day. If it's out at night, I'm shit scared. If it's out in the morning, i can't work. If it's out mid day to mid afternoon, my son can't school. Etc. We juggle all the time, and when there's no electricity, those balls are gonna come down. Interested to see about you claiming from household insurance about groceries. Wish it was Eskom you were claiming from.

Damaria Senne said...

Very true that Gaynor.

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