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Sunday Dread

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble sleeping on Sunday nights.

I’ll guess that my habitual procrastination left me with a pile of homework due on Monday, still untouched until after dinner on Sunday, and of course there was always something else more interesting. I hated homework.

I typically finish the week with more on my plate than intended, and usually work through the weekend. Starting a company can be overwhelming, especially when you have limited resources and tough choices among 10 top priority items. Try prioritizing 10 #1 items that are interdependent–never fun. When you have a full-time team (I don’t yet) you can spread the pain. When it’s just you and part-time help, well, you slog through, and your weekends are eaten up quickly.

Yesterday I took a break from coding and just did some light research around revenue models. I have a very clear idea of the model, but it’s time to nail some of the basic assumptions down and build the revenue model into the software. I don’t want to slap it on after the fact.

That leads me to Sunday, the day when I pretend to sleep in but end up lying in bed thinking about things, then heading to the cafe to indulge in the Sunday News and part of the Times. By noon I’ve almost fully exhausted my ability to fake the break; I skim through articles but mostly I’m thinking of how little time I have to clear remaining things off my plate.

Today it’s almost noon, and I have a number of non-startup things to do. Like the laundry. Taking care of the dogs, cleaning part of the house. My wife is on a knitting trip (knitters are an interesting crew; if you know one, you know what I mean. Try watching a movie with a knitter–gives new meaning to “shared experience”) so the expectation is that I’ll be finished with that stuff by the time she’s home.

So on to the evening, when I’ll have contiguous hours to clean up what’s left.

It’s noon and I already feel the Sunday Dread. Sunday Dread is the pre-week anxiety that I feel knowing that I’m late on something, have forgotten something, still need to finish something, but I know I won’t get there. It’s knowing the taxes aren’t done yet and we’re running out of weekends. It’s knowing there’s a meeting tomorrow I have to prepare for: you can’t wing everything. It’s knowing that with a team of developers over the past 5 months I’d be 4 times further along than I am now, and it’s time to raise money, which means less time coding, less time building, less time talking with people who use the software.

That’s Sunday Dread. The only way I’ve been able to deal with it is to make the list and re-prioritize. I include a column that’s effectively titled “what’s the worst that could happen if it doesn’t get done”. Once I know that, I can start to see how to get move forward again, cut out the noise, cut out the less important stuff, and feel ready for the week. And then I can sleep.




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