Lee Rotbart

Posts Tagged ‘loads to do’

Between dramas

In Living with the parents on December 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

On Sunday night, around 7pm, I found myself with nothing to do and it was highly unnerving. With so much going on it didn’t seem right to just be relaxing on my bed waiting for the final of The Apprentice to start. I moaned to Danny that we should be doing something and he gave me the obligatory eyeball roll that I have become quite good at ignoring. Persisting in my mission to find something to do I opened up my notebook to start writing a list only to find that the list was already written and there really was nothing more to add to it.

My world started tumbling down around my ears. This is crazy, I can’t go on like this. Just sitting here, feeling impotent, knowing that we have so much to organise, so much to do. There MUST be something.

“Of course there is Ms Rotbart”, says my conscience “for a start you could go downstairs and start backing up the hard drive on your computer which you’ve been meaning to do for about a month; oh, and there’s always the laundry”.

Isn’t it odd that somehow those kind of jobs don’t seem very relevant? The hygiene factor – the stuff that, no matter what is going on in your life, still needs to get done; those are the jobs you never want to do. So much so that in my world of lists, buying and website development, these jobs don’t even exist as things that need to be done. This is the world of the non-jobs. Jobs that only achieve something for a short time until they need to be done again, or jobs that don’t contribute to the bigger scheme of things but need to be done anyway.

Don’t think that I haven’t realised that it’s precisely those jobs which are going to be my bread and butter come April next year, yet in my head that is somehow different as we’ll be getting paid to do those things. I have no doubt that our own laundry, and our own chores will get relegated to the bottom of the pile over and over again as more ‘worthwhile’ stuff takes precedence.

Jobs that don’t directly relate to the business don’t seem to count. They seem irrelevant and pointless and I *stamps foot*, *screws up face* don’t want to do them. For that reason they never appear on a list and I certainly don’t want to be reminded of them by my ever-present conscience.

I’ve become almost blind to the relatively large computer on the floor of my parents dining room, waiting there patiently for me to back it up. The words ‘it’ll get done at the weekend’ seem to trip off my tongue when I’m asked about any one of these non-jobs and, bar the odd mumble from my conscience, I seem to be quite capable of letting Danny get on with the laundry without the remotest twinge of guilt.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year… all these days mean that I cannot do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it. People are on holiday, companies close down, everyone seems to have the plague and I’m just sitting around waiting for chaos to ensue in January. Unfortunately all that’s on my plate at the moment are these non-jobs which means, at some point, I’ll just have to get on with them.

I can almost see my mother calculating the list of jobs she’s going to remind me I need to do while reading this blog. There’s no getting away from it now; I’ve detailed my procrastination in black and white and it’s open season.

Spin cycle

In Between the mortgage and the move on November 1, 2010 at 10:54 am

The title here refers to what’s going on in my head; it is not a prophecy about the amount of laundry we will be doing once the guest house opens.

On Friday at 7.30am we met with our accountant, and at 6pm that evening – after a manic day’s work – we met with our brand/web designer. Around 8pm Danny and I had a heated debate about on-peak and off-peak timings, and after a brief appearance at a birthday / Halloween party I excused myself to lie on my sofa with a stress induced belly ache, attempting to get some peace in my head by watching mind-numbingly bad Friday night television.

I suspect that what’s happened is that this process has morphed from a linear like form to something less tangible. After all, taking one step at a time is fine if you know what the next step is. When there are a number of steps to take, and they can all be taken at the same time and require the same amount of energy it’s difficult to know in which direction to turn. I am also finding that whatever I do ends up leading to additional (mini) to do’s, all of which take me further away from the initial choice and all the other things I have to remember to go back to.

Being absolutely paranoid that I will forget the one thing that is holding this project together even my lists have lists…. and they are everywhere. Everytime I switch on my computer at work or at home, open any one of my 3 email accounts, look at my diary, and find random bits of scrap paper, I am finding more lists.

I am also continually frustrated that I can’t do everything to completion. I can’t just remember to cancel my TV license, or inform the council that I’m moving. I have to remember it once, do the first thing, I then have to remember it again, and follow up once I have more information at my disposal or once someone has got back to me.

Then there’s the ‘to do’ list that isn’t urgent because it’s not about us moving out of our two flats, it is however vital if we are going to be able to market the guest house properly and not go bankrupt in the first year; and EVERYTHING – I mean EVERYTHING has an additional cost associated with it. We can’t possibly account for every single cost we are going to encounter, and everywhere we turn there seems to be more of the little blighters.

I wonder if this blog sounds like the inside of my head – disorderly, inarticulate, travelling at around 200 m.p.h, and leaping from one thought to another in the space of 15 seconds.

On Saturday, in order to address this problem, I attempted to practice some meditation. I spent 15 minutes sitting on my sofa listening to some woman, with an incredibly soft and calm voice, talking me through how to cope with change. I am to ‘let it flow through me’ apparently.

After 15 minutes I had written another to do list.

By Sunday night Danny was talking me down off the ledge (opposites really do attract) while we sat in my flat surrounded by boxes. He had to remind me (more than once, I’m ashamed to admit) how exciting it is that we’re moving to the opposite end of the country, and that all this craziness will be worth it in the long run.

Today I’m trying not to engage with lists and all things crazy, and am focusing on the only real to-do list that’s absolutely necessary: (1) BREATHE (2) EAT (3)SLEEP; everything else is a bonus.

Addicted to social media

In The beginning on July 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

By day I am a strategy consultant, working at one of the top 100 digital agencies in the UK. By night I am a blog crazed, Twitter obsessing, maniac.

I am yet to hand in my notice at work and so blog activities are confined to the hours of 8pm – 1am. During the working day I am ashamed to admit that I probably spend up to an hour checking blog statistics, tweeting, following Cornwall oriented tweeters, and leaping with joy every time someone new starts following Porthminster_Vu.

NB. Porthminster View is spelt like that because Twitter limits characters for user names; it is not because I am of the ‘text speak’ generation – I can assure you, I’m not!

It’s a peculiar phenomenon – social media – 5 years ago no one would have understood the sentence ‘I’ll Facebook you’, yet today it’s part of every day speak (for the under 50s). In some circles I’m considered a digital immigrant, roughly translated this means that I’m not of the digital generation yet I’ve adopted it as part of my culture, this is in direct comparison to a digital native – someone under the age of 15 who has no concept of linear TV, doesn’t know what a VHS tape looks like, and doesn’t remember or understand a world without mobile phones.

All this aside, I never really had much interest in it. Yes, I like to share my photos on Facebook, look up what people are doing and (on occasion) stalk ex-boyfriends, friends, and old schoolmates; and that’s about it, until just recently when I discovered the pure adrenaline rush that can be garnered from Visit Britain (for example), and other iconic organisations beginning to follow Porthminster View on Twitter. It’s all very ‘clan’. In my heart of hearts I know that there’s probably some bored work experience intern sitting in the Visit Britain offices clicking ‘follow’ on every random company that pops their head above the parapet however, that doesn’t really make a difference. I love it, I text my boyfriend proudly every time I get a new person following, and every time my blog gets a new subscription.

“Look what I’m doing” I say, like a child who has just learned how to tie their shoelaces. “How good am I?”… no matter that the mortgage is still to be approved, we are yet to sell my partner’s flat, and we haven’t learned how to make toast without burning it. No matter about all those quite vital things, for I am a social media genius! *Cue brass band music, fireworks and spotlights*

I genuinely never thought that I would be one of those people, people who become so dedicated to a project / job that they enjoy absolutely everything about it: From keeping spreadsheets up to date to organising the marketing, and from proactively phoning solicitors to being almost disappointed at the end of the working day. Yet I’ve discovered that when you are truly wedded to something, truly dedicated, truly want something to succeed, there really are no limits. I’m finally understanding, and having a bit of compassion for, my workaholic CEO who has built her truly amazing agency up from scratch. I get it. I really do.

Don’t get me wrong I love my job, but I am yet to end work on a Friday disappointed that it’s the weekend, and I am yet to leap out of bed on a Monday morning thinking “thank god that’s over”. With Porthminster View however, I am genuinely frustrated when there’s nothing more I can do about something because I’m waiting for the mortgage company / solicitor / accountant / buyer / vendor to do what they need to do.

In all those gaps, and there are many gaps, I have social media. Twitter doesn’t care that it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, my computer doesn’t go to sleep at night, and email still works even if no one (in this time zone) will read what I’ve written until the morning. In this crazy situation where there is so much to do yet nothing can get done before its time, I still feel like I’m achieving something. It’s an outlet that I’m sure, if nothing else, my boyfriend is relieved I have.

Full steam ahead

In The beginning on July 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I don’t think I quite believe we’re actually doing this.

I’m planning awards we’re going to win while my more realistic other half is thinking about escalating interest rates, I’m mind-mapping additional services when I should be thinking about selling my flat, and I’m planning long walks on the beach with a dog we don’t have, before writing emails to solicitors who we’ve instructed to represent us.

Focusing on the stuff that’s miles ahead is safe, it assumes a certain amount of ‘rose coloured glasses’ thinking, it also means I can put off doing what needs to be done right now, more importantly, it assumes that the business is already a success without any of the hard work that goes into the basics.

If I’m thinking about cream teas I’m not having to think about the possibility of this failing, if I’m contemplating packed lunches for walkers I’m not considering an empty house in March, and if I’m dreaming of a dog (name: Jasper Penworthy) then I don’t have to fill in a load of Excel spreadsheets or think about a business plan. I am keeping reality a safe distance away (just how I like it).

Every few hours I start doing something practical and that’s when the fear hits me. That’s when I start worrying about public liability insurance, cooking breakfast that doesn’t send guests heading for the nearest bathroom, health and safety regulations, accounting, mortgage repayments, and just about everything else. The big picture is terrifying!

I really need to start living the ‘one step at a time’ theory, rather than just paying the sentiment lip service.

What’s the ‘next’ thing I have to do… and then do it. Then, and only then, do I allow myself the luxury of thinking about the next thing (and only the next thing). It’s quite hard planning for the future and living in the moment at the same time; and, just for a change, I’m struggling with that balance.

How do Buddhist retreats manage their business plans? And is that a book someone’s written, as I need to buy it.