I work best in the morning.
Many people say that. I think it’s natural because that’s when we have our caffeine. But I have a slight issue at the moment. I can’t have coffee in the morning and go out straight afterwards. Why? I’m about to explain. Up until last year, I had Personal Assistants.
Personal Assistants (PAs) supported me with my office work from about 8:30 in the morning until about 6 in the evening. I had somebody with me full time. 5 days a week, 9 hours a day and that was ok. It meant that I was fast at typing. I could drive to where I wanted to be. I could do all the personal things I needed to do without worrying about who’s going to help me. But then last year when my PA left, I decided maybe it’s time for a change. So I decided not to hire another office PA. Yeah, sure. I have PAs: They help me in the morning, evening and weekends.
Of course, compromises must be made.
I use taxis and trains, I’ve found dictation software. When I deliver training, I tell the client in advance that I’m coming on my own and request the presentation be loaded on to the screen. This way, when I arrive, I can just press the buttons rather than set everything up. Instead of taking paper feedback forms, as Teresa Gandy suggests in her blog, I can send a Google Form hours later – and that works really well. I was concerned to begin with that it wouldn’t work because out of sight, out of mind. However, people responded really well.
If you’ve seen me in networking events, you might notice that I don’t wear a coat. That is deliberate; I can’t take a coat on and off. I have a mug that I take along so that I can fill my drink up in a mug. That way, I can still move around the space whilst staying hydrated. I also take my mug to client meetings, etc.
Now that I know that I’ve got this added freedom it means that I use my PAs less and less. Even in social occasions. In professional situations, it was harder to simply be Esi and not Esi and Michelle or Esi and …. People can know my skills for my skills and not the mixed messages that occasionally happened when PAs were around.
Going solo stops those awkward conversations:
“What should we do about your PA?” and all these things that people used to ask because they didn’t know what to say to my PA:
“Does she treat you well?” Of course I treat her well or she would have quit already. Turns out she did quit. That wasn’t because I didn’t treat her well – I hope.
So, I don’t drink coffee in the morning
A casualty of no PA but a happy casualty. Now, I am trying Holland and Barrett supplement caffeine tablets in the morning. Two rapid release and one slow release that keep me going throughout the day. At the moment, I couldn’t be happier with my situation. Ask me again next year and I may have come up with something new to support my independence.
Found this blog useful?
If you are a disabled person and you are looking for articles to support you to develop your confidence as a business owner, check out the article I wrote for Inspiring Enterprise.
Esi (pronounced SE) set up Celebrating Disability in 2017; offering training, consulting and auditing to support businesses attract, engage and retain disabled people. Having the opportunity to support businesses to see the wealth of benefits that disabled people can bring to business, either as customers or employees is a privilege. She is passionate about disability equality and inclusion and loves nothing more than that “Ah ha” moment with a client when they see what disability equality and inclusion can do for them.
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