If you're like me, you've probably encountered this scenario:
After a long day of hustlin', you take a peek at Facebook to see a bombardment of posts about your friends being incredibly busy and needing lots of caffeine to survive. Head over to Instagram, same thing: post after post about crazy travel plans, having a busy week and getting little sleep. And then there's the photographer that's just finished their fifth double header weekend of the season (two weddings back to back), or the business owner that's just done 5 days of joint-venture webinars in a row.
No matter how desperate or crazy the posts seem, you find yourself questioning your own life and business.
"Do I have way less clients booked than everyone else?"
"Am I a less interesting entrepreneur because I'm not travelling to luxury locations all the time?"
"If I'm not busy every second of every day, am I not being ambitious enough?"
In this day and age of self-made millionaires, everybody is willingly trading their leisure time for productive work. So much so that people feel guilty if they aren't working as aggressively or pulling all nighters as much as the next guy (which is ridiculous since most entrepreneurs I know probably couldn't name the last time they had a day off). We are never really "off duty" anymore since it's easier than ever to just pick up your smartphone and respond to a work email.
We crave being in demand in order to feel validated about what we are doing!
I think this is the worst, most contradictory mentality for creative entrepreneurs to have.
"Don't confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but doesn't make any progress." Alfred Montapert (click to tweet)
Ironically, being overloaded and having to multitask can actually make you less productive. Being this kind of busy is probably a sign of one of these pitfalls:
You aren't charging enough for your services.
If the demand for your services is so great that you are completely overloaded, then making a change and upping your prices is a non-negotiable. Would you rather be overloaded with 40 clients a year, or be working with 20 while making the same amount of money? It's a no-brainer.
You're not delegating or outsourcing.
Most creative entrepreneurs have a little perfectionist control freak in them. But sometimes you have to let go of some tasks to focus on the things only you can do. If you're lucky enough to have people working with you in your business, you should use them efficiently and delegate tasks. Investigate what it really is that's making you so busy.
Your workflow needs refining.
Excessive busyness could be a sign of something in your workflow being inefficient. Maybe you're taking too long to respond to emails when you should have canned responses saved. Maybe you need a more efficient system for something that works for your brain. Avoiding this self-examination can actively hold you back from growing your business.
You're overwhelmed at the number of tasks.
If you're overwhelmed before even starting a task, then you're more likely to avoid it or procrastinate getting started. By breaking down the tasks that need to be completed and actually writing them out, they'll seem much more achievable and less stress-inducing. The same thing goes for personal tasks. Committing to going to the gym on X day or picking up groceries after this client session will avoid a pileup of tending items.
Take a moment to back and think about your "why". I bet you anything you started your business to GAIN freedom, not lose it. It's around this time of year where we all hug our loved ones a bit tighter, reconnect with old friends, and generally strive to enjoy our "winter holiday". This authentic leisure time is the time we should strive for. Having no work to do and all the people to surround yourself with. This is the freedom that matters most. Remember to work to live, not live to work.
Ultimately, being too busy is a disservice to everybody. It's bad for your clients, who aren't getting the individual attention they want. It's bad for your family, who really just want to watch a movie with you without you answering emails throughout or checking your Twitter. And it's hurtful to yourself, because over time the chaos of busyness will wear you down, no matter the excessive number of Caramel Brûlée Latte's you can consume in a day.
Use your down time to it's fullest so that you can give your 100% when you're in work mode. Always have gratitude for your unique journey without feeling inadequate because of someone else's relative success. CLICK TO TWEET
Do you find yourself getting into the comparison trap when looking at the humblebrags of your entrepreneur peers? Comment below to join the conversation!
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