Downtime

mountains-nature-sky-vacation-130111The better you do your job, the more downtime you have. The more you have automated, the more you have scheduled, the better your communication and cooperation with clients, the better you keep tabs on coming changes, the more redundant your arrangements, the more consistent you are, the less you’ll be barraged and beset with problems.

Yes, you’ll get PEBKAC and surprise failures and outages, but they’ll be manageable if you have other things in order. Downtime is one of the best parts of this job because you get to decide what to do with it: please don’t spend it sitting at your desk all day.

First, sitting at your desk in front of three monitors all day is bad for more or less every part of your body.

Second, you don’t need to compulsively check on everything all the time. Staring at your dashboards does not help anyone. Configure, refine, improve, and test your notifications, and move on.

Third, browsing the web and social media for hours does not count as “keeping up on tech trends,” although that is a legitimate part of your job. Have your feeds, lists, boards, and news sites that you follow, check them, and then move on.

In general, be task-oriented. Instead of aimlessly clicking around at your computer all day, spend:

  • 30 minutes checking news
  • an hour working on new scripts
  • an hour trying to get new clients
  • 30 minutes researching new hardware
  • a full lunch hour
  • 30 minutes on social media (for advertising and networking)
  • 15 minutes reviewing your financial books
  • 15 minutes reviewing system reports

That can and should vary from day-to-day; you’ll have scheduled meetings and scheduled on-site checkups and installations, and of course you’ll be “interrupted” with support requests and notifications, but you’ll still have downtime because you don’t have someone else filling your schedule for you. That’s one of the best things about this job: working on your own schedule and by your own rules. The responsibility of that perk is that you need to make the schedule and the rules, which means you need to know how you want to spend your days, aka your life.

So come up with a daily routine to maintain and advance your business, then move on to the rest of your life.

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