Work Behind Screens
Taxes. Bank accounts. Bills. Portfolios. Project Management. File sharing. Presentations. Subscriptions. Reminders. Snapshots. Social Networks. Infinite scrolls. Playlists. Highlights. Shows. Movies. Long distance contact. Search Engines. Domain discussions. Chicago Bulls tickets. (sadly). Instant messages. Spreadsheets. Bills. Ebooks. Audiobooks…
These functions and tools are more effectively used in digital form because they afford you infinite capability to access, use and secure intellectual property critical to your business. Just 10 years ago, these needs posed greater risk and barrier to entry for the regular person starting a business because (s)he wasn’t able to tap into them as readily and easily as those needs can be addressed today. That starter relied on paying and trusting professionals to source these efforts to: most of which can still be tasked to pros or be done yourself in modern business, depending on your budget and your company values.
Macbook. HTC Phone (camera, Whatsapp, alarm clock, gallery). Google (Search, Voice, Chrome, Android, Gmail, Maps, Drive). Wordpress (Name.com, WPEngine, Usman Group). Grantland basketball. Twitter. Quora digests. Amazon Prime. Dropbox. Inbox.com. Music (Spotify, Saavn, Focus@will). Books (Audible, Kindle). Finance & Accounting (Taxact, Mint, my banks and portfolio mangers). Annual subscriptions (HBR, New Scientist).
When starting your business, start at home first: what problem does each tool or function address? How often do you need it? How do you use it efficiently? What’s its backup plan? What are the overall pros and (hidden) costs of free, free-mium and premium usage?
These are some of the questions I asked when determining whether my goals could be achieved manually or electronically; whether to invest in an expert or to do it myself; and, whether the tools at my disposal are working for me or against me. Doing diligence and thinking these thoughts through helped me bolt Fakebook, rethink the way I use Twitter and Quora and declutter my laptop and phone.
Lionel Robbins defined economics, which derives from Ancient Greek terms oikos and nomos (meaning “rules of the house”), as:
Economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
I understand this as an effort to understand the effects of (abundant or limited) resources and activity on (meaningful or wasteful) results, particularly in the micro and macro levels of work-life balance for the average citizen. As a business starter, to prevent overwhelm from the pressures of life and work, I can study different combinations of my own supply and demand until I find one that strikes my version of market equilibrium.
At this point, 5 weeks into a full-time business opportunity, between the old school tools and modern day technology, between my project goals, between the different spaces I have room to operate within, and overall, between my personal and professional commitments, I’m allocating:
- a 51/49 spread on basic vs. digital essentials
- a 90/10 spread on for-purpose vs. for-profit objectives
- a 70/30 spread between time on the road (cafes, incubators and out-of-town) and time at home
- a 40/40/20 spread between personal responsibilities, work opportunities and ongoing learning.
I fully expect this to change, but allocating the percents isn’t about a dream formula, like say the Four Hour Work Week, as it is about proactively measuring balance by keeping mental tabs on it open as I go from start up, to warm up, to growth modes (irrespective of financial success/failure).
Thank you for reading.