Running a Business: When Everything Happens at Once

Behind the Scenes, My Spaces

This is one of those days that I wish did not happen in my business life very often – there’s so many balls in the air I’m afraid I’ll lose track!

A more experienced business person would probably advise me not to mention anything with a possible negative bent. I prefer to keep things real, however, because as a customer, I appreciate it when small business owners (including authors and other creators) present proof of their humanity. (I use the phrase for the lack of a better term). You know: that I’m dealing with an actual person who is capable of handling unexpected situations without forgetting their own plans, dreams, likes and dislikes or strengths and weaknesses. So here goes.

I’m usually able to clear my work table at the end of the day, or at least keep it in control, but these past two weeks it’s been in a constant state of, well, this:

Researching Taxes

You’ll have to imagine another two feet of the same to the right of the picture, and a stack on the floor, the armchair and the sofa. There’s even a stack behind the laptop. And this is just the paperwork I’m currently working on; I have supplies lying around on the rest of the horizontal surfaces and on the floor. I feel overwhelmed.

This is because:

  1. I was sick for two weeks earlier this month. Why did it take so long?! I am so behind with my plans!
  2. I’ve been researching my very first tax return as a business owner. It’s a massive undertaking, and there’s no possible way on this earth I can do it!
  3. The state threw additional paperwork my way, due in less than a month now. (Yikes!) The instructions are, shall we say, highly lacking. (Graah!) I’ve searched high and low, but there are no definitions or instructions that are detailed enough to answer my concerns. I’m a degreed librarian, for crying out loud, and my Google-fu failed me! (Uuuuurrgg raroo aarghh!)
  4. I need to finish inventorying my supplies, merchandise and work in progress for, among other things, said tax return and additional paperwork. However, I cannot do that until I find the specific requirements that said taxes and additional paperwork demand in the instructions that are not there! (Frack!)
  5. My office needs rearranging badly. For one, I need adequate storage for my tax and other business files (which until now have been minimal). And it’s like a hurricane struck!
  6. There are a few personal life tasks I need to schedule and handle, but no time ever seems convenient!
  7. I got a business proposition from an unexpected quarter. It’s intriguing, but I know nothing about the potential business partner in question. Now I have to research the details of the proposition, the potential partner and the costs and work involved – on top of all of the above!
  8. Everything Else that’s been on the back burner is never gonna get done at this rate!

 

Yes, all of that comes with a dose of hand-waving and exclamation points. Especially exclamation points!!! 🙂

The good thing is, the feeling has forced me to get in gear, fetch my serious-person-analytical-brain and find solutions. That’s what the pragmatics of business life are, after all: solving problems and finding solutions. It has actually helped enormously to think of my task list as problems in the academic sense instead of this mass of seething, monstrous important-business-stuff&things-that-I’m-not-qualified-to-do-omg. I’m an academic, so I’m used to problems. The only thing is that the problems I’m facing now are of a different kind than what I’ve dealt with before. It’s natural that it’ll take me a while to adjust.

Solutions, in the same order as the problems above:

  1. Stop beating myself over taking the time to get well. Two friends from my area were sick earlier this month, too, and now they’re sick again. If the viruses going around are that persistent, I was right to take care of myself. >> Life will adjust.
  2. Break the tax return into smaller steps. Research one at a time. If a step turns out to big, break it into smaller steps. Read the pertinent IRS brochures, making copious notes. Learn the vocabulary and definitions. Reward myself in between each step. Rinse & repeat. Then, find help to make sure I’ve got it right. >> I’ve started.
  3. Find help. Maybe my Google-fu is not deficient, but the instructions given to the public. >> Started this one, too.
  4. The inventory is mostly done. What needs doing is making sure the tax return and paperwork requirements are met – see 3, above. >> It will take work, but that’s doable.
  5. Remember that this part is actually fun for me! >> Started tackling this last night. And, by Jove, it will get done, even if it’s in 5-minute increments! 🙂
  6. Not. A. Problem. Srsly. >> Just pick the least convenient time and roll with it.
  7. Cooperation along these lines is actually in my future plans; it just arrived a little sooner than I thought. Again, break the research into steps. Do the math; make the prototype; estimate production schedules. Besides, I saw nothing in the preliminary details that’s time-sensitive, which means I can probably negotiate the timing if I decide to go for the deal. >> And I’ve started this, as well, I’m proud to say.
  8. Such is life. >> Whittle the list down one item a day, if that’s what it takes. It will get better.

 

Sometimes it just takes a breather and a step back so that you can put things into perspective. No doubt there will be very full days, but I dare say I will make it through the spring. And even in the middle of all the hullabaloo, I am able to laugh at myself. If I couldn’t, I’d go nuts. 🙂

Edit: Last paragraph edited for clarity.

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