When my partner’s away … I get up to no good

My partner is away travelling interstate. And when that happens, I get up to no good.

It’s true. He knows it. He doesn’t like it. But I’ll be honest here. I can’t help it. That’s my nature.

My litany of sins looks something like this …

1. Late night trysts

It’s true. This happens. Left to my own devices, I’m up until all hours. I’m a night owl. I get some of my best ideas in the wee hours of the morning. On the other hand, my partner prefers going to sleep much earlier. When we’re under the same roof, we manage to meet somewhere in the middle. I’ll admit that it’s easy to get sucked into this vortex of possibilities that I’m exploring late at night – but I love it. To me, it’s like exploring th great unknown, trying to figure out the best things to bring home.

Without a doubt, many of the innovations I’ve implemented in my business have been the result of late night rendezvoux with chat lines (typically help desk support!) and signing up to free trials of multiple bright shiny applications.

Some of these once casual explorations have turned into long-term affairs:
* Typepad has become a cornerstone of the technology we use at the Sydney Writers’ Centre
* Evernote saves my sanity every single day
* www.Guru.com helped me find a wonderful virtual assistant

Currently, I’m getting to know:
* bubbl.us
* hellobar.com
But the jury’s out as to whether my relationship with these applications will stand the test of time.

2. My neighbours think I’m having an affair
My neighbours know my partner’s away. But they wonder why there are strange voices emanating from my home late at night. And early in the morning. In fact, at all hours of the day. I love my podcasts. And I don’t play them too often when my partner is at home. So when he goes away, I go on a binge. I find podcasts a great way to keep up to date with what’s going on, particularly in the tech world.

I know I COULD play them when my partner’s home. All I need to do is listen to my iPod. But that’s not my preferred method of consumption. I like playing the podcasts so they can be heard all over the house. Fortunately, I have speakers installed in the roof in every room, including the outdoor area. (The only place that doesn’t have them is the bathroom. And yes, I did get a quote but the price simply didn’t justify the ROI for short time I might spend in the shower each day!)

That means I have total flexibility. It doesn’t matter whether I’m doing the laundry, cooking dinner, looking for which hidey-hole my cats has disappeared into, watering the plants or rearranging the wardrobe, I can enjoy my podcasts without having to tote around my iPod. Blasting podcasts about technology, writing, grammar and business from every room in the house isn’t exactly the ideal scenario for my partner, whose interests are more aligned with golf, music, golf, horse racing, golf and … oh … did I mention golf?

So when he’s away, my podcast binge leaves my neighbours wondering about who I’m entertaining.

3. I try to cover up what’s going on
As a result of being exploring new technologies, being inspired by podcasts and, yes, I fit in a fair bit if reading during this time as well, I invariably have an entrepreneurial seizure of sorts. I end up with ideas for new projects, products and marketing activities. I sketch them on the whiteboard at home and – if I remember – I try to wipe off the evidence before my partner comes home. It’s for his own good. I swear. Otherwise, he’ll know that he’s going to lose me into a flurry of activity as I become obsessed with my latest project.

I guess I’m hoping that he just thinks I’m a bit vague and distracted, as opposed to being a woman possessed with achieving her latest goal. Needless to say, it doesn’t take him long to identify that I am indeed the latter.

Getting back into the routine

When he returns from travelling, I take that opportunity to metamorphosise. I quell the desire to download apps into the wee hours of the morning. I limit my signups to new software to a manageable rate. This is a good thing for our relationship. It’s also a very good thing for my business. Because I take advantage of this time to actually implement my new ideas.

After all, great ideas are nothing if you don’t turn them into action. And typically, these ideas grow my business. So this is where I can consolidate everything I’ve learnt while he’s been away. I can evaluate the data from my experiments and turn the outcome of those late night trysts into something concrete and truly meaningful.

An affair worth having.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.