Thursday, September 15, 2016

Clearing the decks!

(aka the art of finishing projects and saying no.)

There's a certain wonderfulness about being a freelancing-independent-business owner. You never stop marketing and never stop pushing to keep the cue full of work that pays money.

The image of Sisyphus pushing that rock up a hill comes to mind. We work 80 hours a week to be our own boss.

BUT there is a skill that one has to learn at some point. Well, two skills actually. One skill is finishing a project.

There is going to be a time (or two) that you'll say "Yes" to a project that you would have rather have said "No." too. But, there was money tied to it, and you just couldn't resist. (Or power, or prestige, or fame, or some sort of ego boosting thingy.)

However it happens, for some reason, you said, "Yes, I'll do it." OR you volunteered your skills!!

Good for you. It's good karma and helps somebody out. 


Ok here's the big but. (insert Sir Mix-A-Lot here) There's only one you and you need time for that 'you'.

How many projects are sitting in the wings that you started? Each one is a weight on your shoulders. 

That edit you promised. 
The script for a friend. 
The website changes.
The marketing material.
The siding on the house.
The project in the basement.

The list can go on and on!


Ok here's the first REAL skill. Saying "No." once in a while. While it's true, if you want something done, ask someone who's busy. I'm very good at lists and getting things prioritized. But I'm terrible at saying "no." when someone asks me. 

That changes today. (actually it changed yesterday, the first time I did it.)

I'm starting with the free things. "We would love you to audition for this show, you'd be perfect for it!" 

Ok, go ahead, stroke my ego, that's wonderful! 

BUT, "I'd love too! I'm just overbooked right now, but please keep me in mind for your next show." is the new response.

The art of saying 'No.' or being more selective is HARD! Especially when you've had the mindset that you need to take on things to survive.

So I've started to throttle back on saying 'Yes.'

Clear the Decks!

I'm clearing out the projects I've promised to do. One by one by order of priority. 

Prop for a show? Done.
Cassette to DVD for a friend? Done.
Pop by and help a friend with his audio chain? This weekend.
Clean my workbench? Today.

Each project you finish, takes some of the weight off your shoulders. The trick is, DON'T ADD ANOTHER PROJECT RIGHT AWAY!

Try not to fill the void. Allow yourself time for yourself and the projects for YOU. 

Your website.
Your marketing.
Your motorcycle in the basement.
Your mental health.

Once everything is done, all the projects have been cleared and the backlog is gone, THEN (Carefully) say 'Yes.' again. But be selective!  

Your time is valuable and finite. Learn to say no once in a while. It's ok.

No comments:

Post a Comment