Today the air was blue. I said words that have not passed my lips since the teenage rebellion years. My hubby ventured into my office briefly to see what was happening then went away and hid.
Well, I spent 3 hours, yes 3 HOURS, sorting out my stupid **!$%^£ printer when I was trying to print a set of 30 cards for a Qalbi order (my little creative-sideline), which decided to jam in between Every.Single.Sheet. The set I printed immediately before, using the same images, same printer and the same paper, was fine.
After much googling, the only way I could get it to print the next sheet was by taking the paper tray out, turning the whole thing upside down, wiping an already perfectly clean little rubbery wheel with a slightly damp cloth, turning it back up the right way and pressing the “proceed” button. And then repeating that 29 more times.
That description was boring enough to read, so imagine my delight at actually doing it. I have a window above my desk which is just about big enough to hurl a printer out of it too.
What the printer jam cost me in lost time
So because of an inefficient process, a small order which should have taken me maybe 20 minutes and for which I earned a whopping £24 took 3 hours of my precious time. Think of ALL the things I could have done in that time - be that productive or fun. Even laundry (God-forbid). I have an hourly rate that I work to, which helps me calculate my prices and fees, and that annoying little episode cost me way too much money in lost earnings.
The slightly silver lining
But I suppose the silver lining was that it reminded me of something I had perhaps lost sight of.
When you’re wearing the big stack of hats involved in being a small business owner (and a mum), there are so many calls on your time and attention. It can make us cringe a bit to admit it, but we are actually in this game to make money (in a way that fits with our passions and values of course), so getting bogged down in printer jams and all that jazz needs to be avoided as much as poss.
What is ‘All That Jazz’?
Well, stupid printers are obviously top of my list today and after getting it swapped under the warranty once already I am going to admit defeat and buy a new one tonight rather than waste any more time dealing with it. It’s a financial hit because I need a good printer, but compared to the cost of lost earnings it’s worth doing.
But it might also be:
slow computer - does it take a seconds for the words to appear when you type? Or ages for apps to open every time? It all adds up.
social media and cat videos
multitasking and switching from one thing to another (it’s almost impossible to be efficient)
figuring out how to do things instead of asking someone who already knows to either teach you or do it for you
And that’s why it’s super-important to find processes, systems and tools to help you be as efficient as possible, as quickly as possible, so that you can spend the precious time you do have on earning the bucks, and not all the jazz that stops you doing that.
How to maximise the time you do have
I’m a bugger for getting distracted so I have to consciously take steps to minimise it. Below is a little list of the things I do. What would work for you?
Close the tabs on my laptop for Outlook and social media (especially Facebook) and only open them to check at certain times
Turn my phone onto night mode when I need to concentrate
Get my laptop sorted out by a brilliant local man (Nasir Of Computer Gurus) as soon as it plays up so that it doesn’t slow me down
Remove admin by automating as many processes as possible using Mailchimp, direct debit and scheduling tools
Plan my month, week and days using my bullet journal and then
batch similar tasks to stop switching them around
prioritise tasks and deal with things in that order without being tempted to do the fun stuff first (eat that frog as painful as it might be sometimes)
Plan our weekly meals once a week around all the other things in my bullet journal, and batch cook so that I don’t have to make every single meal.
Employ a cleaner - I can earn more per hour than I pay her so it makes no sense for me to do it myself (shame)
It does all sound so obvious, but when the day takes over it’s so easy to lose sight of and end up in a quagmire of wasted time and unnecessary tasks that cost you money.
How could you spend your time better?
If you need a hand to work out how to make your business more efficient, get in touch via my contact page. Or up sign below to receive my emails .