It’s week three of starting a business.
Someone asked me today what’s it like working 16 hour days? was I ok?
Well, I’m not working 16 hour days and I am fine, thankfully!.
I’ve been working on the business for about 8 months prior to leaving my day job. I worked in the evenings and weekends on the business plan (which I wrote and then re-wrote about 5 times) and gave much thought to what would work.
I am sure long hours will come at some point but I think they do with any job. They always have in my case. I remember early in my career starting at 08:00 and finishing at 23:00 rather regularly, sometimes weeks at a time, for £17k a year. At the time I was pleased to receive free pizza in the evenings and a taxi home, paid for the company!.
If one has to work 16 hours a day 5 or more days a week then in my mind something needs to be changed. I despise the idea of being a ‘hero’ due to hours worked. The real ‘hero’s’ are those who manage to get masses done in the shortest space of time, those who really understand focus, priority and efficiency.
I also believe flexible working can help in balancing out hours worked and improve quality of life. In my case I am happy to spend a few hours at the weekend, in the evenings and early in the mornings working. This has numerous advantages (not least missing peak rail fares!) but the largest is giving flexibility to life. For example I can start work at 08:00 at home and work until 10:00. I then might travel into into my hot desk, missing packed trains (a headache in London), leave at 16:00, go for a run, get home, sit down at 18:00 for a couple of hours before dinner. Maybe one more hour before bed which might be emails or re-reading a paper, booking travel etc…For me, this works well, I appreciate the flexibility.
I’m also getting used to having no routine. Not so long ago I knew what time I’d get up, which train I’d get, where I’d buy coffee, what my day looks like. That has gone. Of course I have some idea and a long ‘things to do’ list, the difference is now I have to think a great deal more about a much wider variety of topics. I am enjoying the novelty of binning a routine, I hope the novelty doesn’t disappear.
I dreamed of starting a business from about the age of 8, so it’s taken me 29 years to get here but I’ve been learning along the way. Whats strange is it doesn’t feel like work. I feel as though this is my life, it consumes me in such a way I can’t stop thinking about it or coming up with new ideas. If I am ever lucky enough to employ people and build a team I am sure this trait will annoy them!
I’m also going to make sure I adopt flexible working as a core part of the business.