Running a business can oftentimes feel like you’re doing 4 jobs at once. Or maybe more like 10. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, we might have a hard time describing exactly what those jobs are.
But ambitious, creative people tend to have some big goals and dreams floating around their brains. If you’re like me, finding the time and space to put effort into those dreams can be difficult.
For me in particular, one of the reasons why finding time for my big projects can be difficult is my wiring/personality/disposition. I’m quick to say “yes” or jump in and lend a hand or I spend time fixing someone else’s projects or problems rather than my own.
For lots of my life, this was something that was celebrated. Working to help someone accomplish their dreams attracted me to the job I currently have, the clients I serve, and even my wife. It’s hardwired into my DNA. But working with hundreds of entrepreneurs has demonstrated to me the difference between people who are successful at doing important work and those who are not.
The secret is saying “NO.”
Saying “NO” to good things in order to keep space for the tip-top priorities. Being creative is important to me. Making something is important to me. Collaborating with my team is important to me. Spending time with my fam and relaxing and pushing myself are important to me.
But saying “NO” is excruciating to me. It’s painful. It strikes pointedly into my core fears, my wiring, and my habits built up ‘til now.
So when someone sends a group text saying “can someone help with ________,” I am like an addict jonesing to respond and say “I’ll help!”
I’m 32 years old and have repeatedly found myself ending days, weeks, months, and years without doing the things that I’ve wanted to do. I’ve tracked my time, gotten into calendaring, and got clear on who I wanted to help. But still, I would end the day being exhausted and not doing anything for “me.”
But I’m finally doing something about it.
For the months of April and May, I’m going dark. Every year when the NBA Playoffs start, Lebron James commences what he called #ZeroDarkThirty23. It’s him sharing with the world that he’s hopping into a social media lockdown to stay focused on 1 thing.
Lebron seems pretty successful. Kanye hopped off of social media for a few years to work on himself and his family and his projects. Beyonce disappeared before lighting up the world at Coachella.
I’m not the Lebron, the Kanye, or Beyonce of my world or industry. For sure.
The small touches I’ve had into present, focused, mindful work have been life-changing. A while back, I worked with a life-coach to work on myself. I’ve gone through time investing in myself in intense ways that—in one way or another—pull me more “into myself” and away from the world. And each time, I’ve emerged with more to give and more to share, with a more impactful life and work for others.
I’m doing the same now.
For the rest of April and all of May, I’m going into work/life lockdown.
I’ll be specific.
Professionally, I’m only going to be working on The Wonder Jam’s clients and Diamond Members. After 5 years of owning The Wonder Jam, some of our early clients have grown or expanded, and are in need of a bit more intensive focus from us. It’s insanely rewarding to get to jump in at a different level, but it’s also a new time/energy/management focus for me. And when a person is learning new things, it takes a bit more concentration.
More specifically (and the following is something I think y’all might find useful to adopt when you need focus on your big projects)…
I’m going to give a full-stop “no” to coffee meet-ups, picking brains, networking, events, catching up, and whatnot. After 10 years of networking online and off, I’m going to take a break.
Friend & Family Time
Being in a weird part of my life where 90% of my friends are work-related and I get to interact with them on a regular basis, I’ll be fine. I’ve got family hangouts planned throughout the summer so I’ll be good there too.
What about your business?
Our business is great. We have an ever-increasing understanding of the math and mechanics of our business, so I’m not very worried about a dip in that. If anything, I’m going to be more focused on helping clients rather than less. And if my business falls apart because of 2 months spent focused on work I want to do, then I haven’t built that great of a business, have I?
What about social media?
I think I’ll actually use it more. Creating content and sharing it is ultimately what I’m focusing on. Social media might get MORE of me, not less. And social media stays in a pretty nice box in my own life. I use the Pomodoro Technique and I work to neither begin or end my day with phone time.
Sheesh, why’d you feel the need to write so much about this?
Like I said earlier, I’m kinda bad at this stuff. I figured that half the folks reading this might feel like “OK DUDE! WE GET IT! YOU’RE MAKING A BOUNDARY! CONGRATS! EVERYONE CAN DO THAT RIGHT??!??!??!” and the other half would feel “Woah. I can’t imagine it.”
When will you be done?
June 1st. (or July)
Is The Wonder Jam taking on clients?
If you want to hire us for something, start here.
If you want to join our Diamond Membership, start here.
Check out our upcoming workshops right here.
Want to jump into coaching? That’s right here.
What About You?
Head to the comments and share! How do you handle “big projects?” What has worked for you in the past? Any tips or tricks or advice you’d share?