Growth and Time Management

If last year I started a project like this SportsLizard revamp that I’m working on now, it would have gone a lot differently.  For one, it would have been programmed a lot worse and probably taken twice as many hours of work to get the same result.  In my head I think that and say “cool, what was a four week project a year ago is a two week project now” and then I expect myself to fly through it and get it done in two weeks.

Then I realize that I go to the warehouse three days a week to ship orders and unbox incoming inventory.  And then I realize that I get at least twice as many emails as I did a year ago.  And then I realize that due to our increase in volume (the last few months we’ve tripled revenue from the same month last year) there’s an increase in subtle technical issues with the shopping cart that I never would’ve seen with lower volume.  We also have the warehouse to maintain and clean.  We have planning to do for the future, including when and how to hire.

In short, my day-to-day activities take up more time.  I might have been able to get through daily tasks in 30 minutes last year, whereas they now take me 3-4 hours.   Combined with a stronger commitment to my life outside of work, I have less time on a daily basis to devote towards developing future projects.  This isn’t bad.  It means we’re growing as a company and that I’m growing as a person (I think).

But in my head I’ve got to curtail my expectations on how fast I can do a project.  In my head, this SportsLizard revamp is a 2 week project.  However, I’ve been working on it as much as I can lately and I’m only about 65% done after 3 weeks.  I wanted to get it launched this weekend, but we’re doing a physical inventory on Saturday and I have plans the rest of the weekend.  So it’ll wait until next week.

In a way it frustrates me because every day lost hurts our bottom line.  Then again, rushing out a crappy product or over-stressing myself isn’t good either.  Hell, you could drive yourself insane trying to get every possible new feature up as fast as possible.  It never ends.  There’s always something you can do to improve your products or processes for both you and your customers.  At some point I’ve just got to be content with the already fast pace we move at and not try to push it any further.  That’s how you burn yourself out.

The way I eventually envision this thing going is a return to my old schedule at some point.  Once we have the right team of warehouse workers and programmers in place I’d imagine that the majority of everyone’s daily tasks would be pawned off on to someone else.  When that time comes I’m really going to enjoy working on the exciting, high-level stuff all day long.  For now though,  I’m going to try to be a little more realistic with my goals and how fast I can achieve them.