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Subduing the Task List, Part I

So I took my new life as an independent businessman up for a maiden flight this past week. And as a kickoff, it’s been somewhat undistinguished, which leaves me trying not think about the fact that the only really statistically remarkable thing about flight (and maidens) is the risk of impalement.

The recurring theme of the independent contractor is operations, all those things used to be taken care of by HR or Accounting or Sales. And that means I’m probably going to repeat that theme a lot, and for that I apologize.

I’m sure I’ll discover more things to do as I go, but curiously my number one issue right now is the feeling that on the list of things currently standing in my way, item number one is Me.

Speaking as the “me” in question, it’s a pretty hefty disappointment. I can’t be an obstacle, I’m the product. My whole business is selling the Me and what I can do. And I can do just about anything, given a little time.

And that’s my pain. Right now I don’t feel like I’m getting enough done.

Houston, we have a problem. Maybe.

The trick is that I don’t really know if there’s a real issue or if there’s just the feeling that there must be a problem. I have my instincts, but I don’t have facts. But I’m a highly skilled professional, I know how to approach this situation,and I thought it might be interesting to document the process as I resolve my little crisis.

With any luck, I’ll find that I don’t actually *have* a problem and then this whole exercise will set me free. Less happy and more likely, I’ll have a better list of things to do.

As I said, I feel like I have too many things to do, not enough time to do them, and that I’m letting too much slip. This has three major consequences:

  1. I can’t meet my current commitments if I am over committed.
  2. I can’t develop future business if I am over committed.
  3. It’s really stressful to feel like there’s all this stuff I’m not making progress on.

I think I’ve got those consequences listed by impact. My number one goal is to deliver my current business, successfully. Because I’ve been paid to deliver, and if I don’t deliver, I stop getting paid.

Future business will depend to varying degrees on the work that comes before it. Actually, the easiest path to future business, is a happy customer who wants more of the same. They know me, they trust me, it makes them far happier to pay for my time.

The stress issue is not overwhelming, I can take a lot of pressure. But why do it if I don’t have to? It’s not as healthy, it impacts quality of life. So I’m willing to take some stress in order to achieve a goal. But stress for not achieving a goal doesn’t really have an end point. And that’s not a good thing.

So, onward and upward, right? I’m breaking this post into chunks so that I can actually post something before my friend Pam kills me.

Photo by °Florian

Posted in life, tips.

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  1. Pam the Evil Poster says

    See… now that wasn’t so hard. The “I have to post before Pam kills me” theory at least gets you posting!

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