Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Next endeavor!

Well, it's been a while since I posted, I do regret to say.  That last business venture hit a couple hurtles and is now on the back burner.  I have recenlty made a few phone calls to manufacturers in order to further the progress, but recently a new opportunity has come to light and my wife and I will be working closely on our next business venture.

I woke up at 4am this morning had 3 cups of coffee and am still working tonight after a full day of my real job in the small time slot between 8am and 5pm.  I've gotten in a good 8 hours on "new business venture" work today as well.

I found some podcasts related to the field of required research for this project and listened to them in the car on the 90-minute commute.  This was a great use of a large vacant time slot.

I've focused on some of the boring statistical data today (which, when you get into it is actually very fascinating), but I've also spent some time watching amuzing YouTube videos in the related field of research, which is entertaining, gives the mind a little break, but is still very enlightening and educational.

Back to it!  I must be realistic though and I will set my alarm for a little later tomorrow morning since this day was pretty packed.  Maybe 5am, and shoot for 5 hours "new business" work.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A quick note on multi-tasking

There are different opinions on multi-tasking these days. Some tasks lose effectiveness exponentially when combined with other tasks. However, depending on the task, you can get effective work done if you work smart. Yesterday, I watched the vice presidential debate and while I watched, my wife and I assembled products on the couch. This only took 5 minutes to set up, and we gain a 90 minute overlap of productivity. The trick is pairing tasks correctly so that you can effectively accomplish both. I'm actually watching the presidential debate now, and finding it a little harder to effectively think, type and listen to the debate. So I'm going to have to end this article now and find another task to pair with watching the debate.

Just one last thing... If you need to watch television (there is good benefit in relaxation and enjoying good entertainment, and will keep your mind and body heathy to take a break from work once in a while) watch it on the internet to avoid the majority of the commercials. Most network programs are available as streaming media on the web.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Official To-Do List

Hipster PDAImage by BigBlue via FlickrIt's 3am and you've just woken up from an entertaining, yet extremely confusing dream.. you can't find any pants, but you're pretty sure you're wearing a bathrobe and it might even be on right-side-out today. You have to start effective working in less than 5 minutes or else you'll be losing precious moments that you need to use to get things done. If only you could remember what the hell that was supposed to be.

In order to hit the ground running at any given moment I find it critical to have a to-do list and to keep it constantly updated. When you are just about to fall asleep at night and your tasks are fresh at hand make sure you've captured everything you need to on your to-do list. I like to pick one task to start off with and I usually highlight it, or put a start next to it, so that when I look down in the morning all I have to read is one thing; the one with the star by it. No matter what else is going on around me, (or not going on around me) I know what I'm supposed to do, and sometimes it takes some forcing to get the hand and brains to do it, but I know I've got to do what I need to do to get it done.

If this kind of list is not present, it can sometimes take a while to hit the ground and pick up where you left off. Especially if you're groggy and can be easily distracted. To have a defined task to check off makes ignoring work much harder because it gives you a direct short term goal to look forward to.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time for work and time for play

Something my father always used to tell me,

There's time for work and time for play.

This comes into play in a big way in this discipline. Last weekend was time for play; we went apple picking, spent time with friends, visited family in Maine, went to a local theater show and didn't get a lick of work done for most of the weekend. But we had fun. During the week I plugged along at my usual pace, which is basically 2 hours of work before leaving for "the job" in the morning, quick details and phone calls at lunch and 2-3 hours in the evening usually broken up by diner, the gym, reading, and Wii MarioKart.

This weekend we really wanted to start our initial sales push out in the field, so there were a lot of details to button up and things to prepare. So this weekend was the time for work. I got an especially early start at 3am Friday morning to get 3 hours of work in before the "job", and cane right home to plug away for another 4 strong hours.

By "strong hours" I mean that they were very effective hours.

When working, work; when playing, play.

To stay effective, at least for me, it is critical that I spend the extra 5 minutes a day updating the official to-do list. It helps me stay on track by giving me something to come back to in times of aimlessness.

Saturday was squeezed for all it was worth as we neared a milestone in the assembly of our new product. Packaging was assembled and verbiage was finalized for some supplemental materials. We did get in a walk in the rain and about 40 minutes of video games, but we switched off playing games and doing assembly, I considered this to be "play time" but while still getting work done. Sunday was much the same as we worked steady all morning together and went out selling in the afternoon. After 3 straight (successful) days of working and not a lot of sleep, we transitioned out of work mode, stopped by the Redbox to rent a movie, (We got the Forgotten Kingdom which was very good) and had some dinner and apple pie to follow.

Dinner was leftover soup. We've been trying to cook a lot of one thing so that leftovers are plentiful and we don't have to do as much cooking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Portability of the Chicken

LONDON - NOVEMBER 28:  PETA (People For The Et...Image by Getty Images via Daylife If you're working to create a business it better be something that excites you, (IF IT'S NOT, STOP RIGHT NOW!) and since that is the case, it's likely that it will be on your mind ALL the time at one level or another. So thoughts and ideas are will come to you when you least expect it. Make sure you're prepared for the thoughts when they come. If you're on the road, a soccer game, or a movie make sure you've got some tool that you can use to record your ideas. It's good to keep them all in one place so that you don't lose them at the end of the day.

If you have a PDA or Blackberry, these can be good tools. I have an antiquated PDA that was given to me a few years ago. It doesn't have any bells and whistles, but it records my ideas and that's all I need. The best part is that it has voice recording too, so if I'm in the car (as I often am) I can still record my ideas without crashing and dying. When I get home I plug it into the base and it syncs with my computer so that all of my files and tasks are in the same place.

I think it's important to take a few minutes (or hours even) to get these conveniences set up. It can save oodles of time if you have a nice system in place, even if it's one small notebook that lives in a certain pocket or is accessible to you all the time.

The point is, if you're trying to do things you enjoy, you're going to have to be able to get some amount of work done away from your desk. And in this day and age that's not too hard to accomplish, and it makes a huge difference for productivity.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Working while on the job

ThingsImage via Wikipedia

It’s immoral and unethical to do side work while someone is paying you to do your actual job. As difficult as it is to get to work at forget about your moonlight endeavors, it MUST be done. Learn to focus on what you’re “supposed” to be doing and not what you might rather be doing. The reason you’re moonlighting is so that you can keep your job and security, but if you’re get caught doing side work you might not have your security much longer. Besides the fact that it’s just not the right thing to do.

However, subconsciously you will be thinking about your moonlighting endeavor(s) and it’s important to keep them within a “second or third level of consciousness” (behind your actual job) so that when you come across something that is relevant both to your day job AND your moonlighting, that you recognize that and put a placeholder in your mind as not to forget about it when you get home. Such things like company websites, software applications, online tools and calculators, etc. are a few examples among many other that can be useful to you in both vocations, and might be worth a quick email to yourself with a link, or if you use an online bookmarking tool like Google Bookmarks it’s really easy to just hit the “bookmark” button and then you’ll have it for later!

Also, don’t forget that despite what your job may require for work load, you are still legally entitled to a couple 15 minute breaks throughout the day during which (depending on the leniency of your job) you might not be able to directly work on side projects but you can at least think about it and be planning your next tasks in your head so that when you get back home you can hit the ground running.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Going to the lake

I'm headed up the family lake today for some "R&R". I've asked my wife to drive so that I could do some proof-reading of my new provisional patent application. A great free tool to use if writing a provisional patent application is PatentWizard. (there is a $300 version that offers more functionality, but I used the free one which seems to work.)

Try to use every free second you can to think about or work on your new business, BUT DON'T forget about your priorities and obligations you have aside from work. At least in my case family always takes priority, so don't forget to relax once in a while and have fun with the people you love!