I’ve been in a state of radio-silence for a little while now, mainly due to my attending the Summit at Sea event and the scrambling of client work that preceded and followed 4 days unplugged in the Caribbean.
Once I manage to top the cogs in my head whizzing at light speed, I’ll publish a post about what happened at the event. This isn’t it. Today I just want to talk about the scramble.
I have a hypothesis: You’re not nearly as busy as you think you. Re-examining your relationship with “busy” could take your business to the next level. Read on to find out why.
I’ve been on the road for six weeks now, traipsing around the United States (and, briefly Canada). For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to ditch the corporate schmoozing that used to keep a roof over my head in favor of location independence via online business. Go me.
Thing is, I’ve been working on the online biz for a while now – from the safety of my office and home in Sydney Australia. I have been keeping up some corporate work, as well as a healthy social life.
However… at home, I really felt busy.
Don’t get me wrong. I knew I wasn’t really busy. I did feel I worked hard though.
Then, I hit the road. As soon as my plane landed in Montreal, I was pitched head first into an alien culture where a certain form of scarcity hit me hard.
I knew that the experiences being offered up to me (wandering on a frozen river, skiing, being mere feet from Arctic Wolves) were once-in-a-lifetime. Or, at least, once-in-a-canada-trip. The knowledge of the scarcity of these experiences shifted fun, touristy stuff (see ridiculous picture) to the top of my priorities… leaving all things work related right at the bottom.
I kept telling myself that I’d have a “solid catching-up day” any time soon. How naive. Instead, Canada (and elsewhere as my trip progressed) continued to offer up more and more fun things to do.
I was forced to develop a new coping mechanism for getting work done.
First of all, I decided to cut everything to the absolute bare minimum. This was a good theory until I remembered that, as the shrink for entrepreneurs, every single client interaction is massively important.
Turns out I don’t ever do anything that isn’t the bare minimum – not back home and certainly not while traveling. My attempts to delete things from the “to-do list” failed.
Another way of saying this is: Everything I do that is “work” is important. Nothing is superfluous. Publishing blog posts is a rare and occasional exception to that rule.
So it was back to the drawing board.
What happened really surprised me. In the early hours of the morning and the late hours of every night (that I wasn’t out and about), I caught up on work.
In non-business hours, I completed the tasks, client emails, to-dos and got writing done. Like a crazy person.
What used to take me eight hours, I was getting done in one or two.
Now that I’m nearing the end of my trip (flight home begins tomorrow morning), it’s clear that the impact of this is…. zero. Nothing has changed.
In the last six weeks I’ve added new clients to my roster, keeping me operating at my “peak” capacity for one-on-one work. Same “peak” that I defined almost a year ago when James Chartrand asked me how much I could handle.
Not only that, I’ve put the finishing touches on a corporate client’s online staff development program, build by yours truly with the assistant of MenwithPens in the UI department. This has been a massive project for me.
In fact, I’ve accomplished in six weeks what I might have accomplished in six weeks at home in Sydney. Except I’ve ALSO used these six weeks (and over seven flights) to visit friends and clients all over the place. I’ve had more nights out than I had in the last year combined, visited more museums than I can remember (my feet remember the marble floors) and generally had the best time imaginable.
I’m being a little vulnerable here, but I want you to understand that I’m certain of one thing:
I’ve done the same (or more) work in the last six weeks than I would have if I was working, full-time, back home in Sydney.
This has happened out of necessity, because I’m not someone who drops the ball.
I also know for a fact that James Chartrand surprised herself by running the MenwithPens empire in less than two hours a day while attending the madness that was SXSW.
It seems like I’m not the only person experiencing this phenomena.
So here’s my questions for you:
If you were able to prioritize hedonism above work, as I did for six weeks, how would you still continue to deliver on promises? How would you still ship good work out the door?
Why do we wait until we’re overseas to prioritize fun experiences (read: hedonism) over “work”? What would happen if we treated every day like we were on holiday?
I entitled this post “YOU’RE not as busy as you think you” … but I really just talked about me. There’s a reason for this – I’m holding myself up as an example of what happens when your eyes are opened to how much work you really do.
My intention today, above all else, is to have you think about how you might condense your critical work-actions into fewer and fewer hours per day.
I’m wondering what you, my talented readers, might do with all that extra time. Lots of questions – Let me know what you think by leaving a comment after this post.