the coffee shop

Before I get down to a proper entry today, I have to wish a great, big Happy Birthday to the one and only Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach! Have a wonderful day today, Michelle! I have a feeling this next year is going to be huge for you.


So, my day to day schedule is a bit of a different animal right now than it was at the end of 2009. When I left my job in mid-October last year, I was able to spend a few weeks relaxing, enjoying my free time, and letting each day take me where it would. But my ambitions quickly got the best of me and I ended up diving headfirst into what would ultimately become the Fanny & Jane 2009 Holidaze Craze. During that period, I worked long hours, slept very little and always had a To Do list that was longer than there were minutes in the day for me to tackle it. If you were along for that ride, you know what a boot camp it was.

And now that December is well behind us, vacation has been enjoyed, and we find ourselves right in the thick of January, with its bitter winds and limited daylight, my days look very different than they did a month ago when I was constantly covered in chocolate, flour and anticipation. And figuring out what to do with all this unstructured time has been an interesting challenge. I’m met with a feeling like the one I had in the weeks just after I quit my job, before the bakery got really busy – What day is today? What am I doing with my time? How can I possibly be expected to wake up before 10am?

Of course there’s plenty to do, there always is. I could do laundry, I could clean, I could get a head start on my taxes. I could finally rearrange the light bulb/garbage bag/cleaning supplies cabinet under the sink.

But ugh! Who wants to do any of that!? Rearranging cabinets is the kind of thing I do when we’re already cleaning the house. Or when I can’t find something I need and I end up spilling everything out on the floor and throwing half of it in the trash in a furious fit of There’s Too Much Crap I Never Use In This House We’re Selling Everything And Moving To The Woods Are You Coming Or Not Pack Up The CAAAATS!

And why would I ever want to avoid that kind of frenzy? That stuff gets me up in the morning.

Kevin and I are both working from home now and as lovely as it can be, as happy as I personally am to be, say, sitting at my kitchen table sipping coffee at 11am on a random Thursday, rather than answering a constantly ringing switchboard, it’s a little harder to focus at home on days when there’s nothing urgent to be focusing upon.

I definitely have bakery stuff to work on – lots of it, in fact. I am committing in 2010 to growing and building Fanny & Jane to the best of my ability. I’m going to continue to be a full-time business owner this year and find out where that takes us. And that’s great. So some days I have to spend the entire day baking, which is a lovely way to spend an afternoon and certainly makes one feel productive. But other days, the bakery work is strictly computer work – bank accounts, customer service, invoicing – all the little administrative odds and ends that go into running this biz.

And when the sunlight’s pouring in the front windows and your boyfriend wants to chit chat and your favorite news anchor is just so delightfully dry and clever, it’s hard to sit down and focus on computer work.

So Kevin and I together decided yesterday that we had to get out of the house if we were going to get any work done. We got up, got showered and dressed (a bit later than we’d planned to, but nobody’s perfect) and finally made our way to a comfy coffee shop two subway stops from our apartment. It felt like a mini-commute, as I lugged my mom’s old laptop (thanks mom!) in my bag. We arrived at the coffee shop and instantly found two plush chairs and a table where we could nestle in.

I realize that the custom of someone without a regular 9-5 desk job spending some daylight hours at a coffee shop, borrowing WiFi and sipping something warm, isn’t a new one. But can you believe it’s the first time I personally have done it – perhaps ever? I never had my own laptop until my mom and step dad generously donated their old one to my cause. Plus, until recently, I’ve had a 9-5 desk job for as long as I can remember. So there just hasn’t been an occasion to do work at a coffee shop.

As you can imagine, I was smitten with the experience. It was a blast! And sort of a dream come true.

The sunlight was streaming into the window in my little nook, I enjoyed a bran muffin and a cup of coffee whose flavor I did not care for, but whose fancy mug, I delighted in. And I sat in that corner for several hours, accomplishing task after task. You really come up plenty to do on the ol’ computer when you’ve left yourself no other option. I banged out emails I’ve been meaning to send for weeks, I worked on spreadsheets, I brainstormed, I researched. It was a productive few hours. I’d like to think that I would have gotten that much done had I been at my desk at home, but we all know that’s not true. For one thing, Oprah comes on at 4pm and if I’m home for it, you can bet I’m watching it. (Unless it’s a rerun or one of her concert-shows, for which I do not tend to care.)

So all, in all, that coffee shop experience was a lovely time. And even though I am not able to pack up and head out again this morning, the excitement of getting so much done yesterday has inspired me to wake up early today, make some breakfast and coffee and sit down at my kitchen table, crack open the the laptop and officially get some more work done! I think I’m onto something here. Isn’t it nice when you find a way to trick yourself into being productive?

I wonder if I’m making it sound like I’m remedial when it comes to my time management skills. Let’s just say that I’m a recovering time-waster. As a kid, I could waste time like it was my career path. Now that I’m an adult, I try to keep a leash on that tendency, but my true nature is always there under the surface.

I have a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot more about my trips to the coffee shop.

Oh, by the way! Stay tuned for a big Fanny & Jane sale this afternoon! If you miss it on Twitter or Facebook, I’ll post something this evening on follow my bliss.

One thought on “the coffee shop

  1. Stop it, stop it – you are too much! A birthday tweet & now this! Have I mentioned how happy I am that you saw my postcard & emailed me, & how you’re a Bklyn lady, too? Well, if not, then I have now. Oh, and Luke totally wants to double date. Can we be couple friends? That would rock.

    I LOVE that you’re learning what structures work best for you now that you’re a self-employed, work from home-er. You have to give yourself that space to figure it out. It’s something I know I’m going to have a challenge with, & I’m already being nice to myself (in advance!) that I’ll have good days & not-so-good days. And yes, I’m already dreaming of working from the local indy coffee shop, but know it’ll be a challenge to just get outta my pjs if I don’t have to… steps, lady!

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