I’ve waited a whole eight days to wish you a Happy New Year, not because I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered to eke out a greeting earlier, but because I was enjoying my life and work was the furthest thing from my mind on January 1. Add to it that I felt it was super noisy around the New Year, with everyone else sending well wishes; I know that I ended up deleting a whole bundle of them from biz people I respect, and I admit to feeling somewhat annoyed that solo businesses were actually giving the appearance of working on the holiday—it’s that pesky standards thing, dontcha know.
For the first few, I wanted to write back and say, “What are you doing? Take the day off, man! Relax! There’s plenty of time for that—or anything else you want to do–next week!” Instead, I just deleted them. They didn’t ask my advice, and I kept it to myself.
So the synchronicity in receiving the following Pick Anastacia’s Brain request yesterday absolutely wasn’t lost on me. My thanks to June, who wrote:
“Thank you for your last post in 2012 about taking time away from your business. Because of you, I actually kept my office door closed for a whole nine days, before returning on Jan 2. That’s huge for me; I’ve never done that before, and it felt goooooood. I’m happy to tell you that my clients survived without me, and although I hit the ground running when I came back, it didn’t feel anxiety producing, which was the thing I was most worried about when I made the decision to do it. So really, Anastacia, thank you for helping me be brave.
What I’m wondering about comes as a result of the dozens (literally) of emails I received from small business owners ON New Year’s Day. Don’t they have anything better to be doing on a holiday than writing to me or trying to sell me something? Or, since I assume they queued up broadcasts in advance, anything better to do than make it look like they’re busy thinking about me and my success on the holiday? I know I sound like I’m bitching, when really I’m confused by it.
Which leads me to the real question: I’m not the best when it comes to time management. Frequently, at the end of my days, there’s more to do than there is time for, and usually, the “more” is in the form of email, or kid-related stuff. And I don’t want to be working when I want to be living my life, or feel like I need to do it on holidays or any special day.
But Anastacia, why isn’t there more time? And, to be successful, and to be seen as being successful by others, do I really have to work pretty much around the clock, or use technology to make it look that way?”
June, good on ya for taking the time and living your life! In reality, your experience with this is the very answer to your question; no, you don't have to work around the clock or use technology to make yourself look successful.
At least, in my world view, it’s not necessary. In my world view, in fact, it’s more than a bit crazy to do that.I genuinely don't understand people who live on never-stopping gerbil wheels of their own creation.
I’m fond of saying (about oh-so many things) that you can’t get a good result out of a broken system.
In this case, the saying applies to the idea that you can’t build a good business that contributes to your having a high-quality life if you work around the clock, or use technology to make it look like you do.
And I don’t know that the people who do one of those two things are really viewed as all that successful by anyone who stops for a moment to have a think about what’s going on. I mean, you're here asking about this probably means that, having thought about it, you question it, right? I'm pretty sure you're not alone. Actually, I'm positive--because I question it, too. Can I get an amen? :)
We live in a world we’ve let take over based on the speed of the microchip. The faster we can process information—either in sharing or consuming—the better we think we’re doing. I think the faster we go the slower we get, the less we notice, the less we feel (the more numb we become), and certainly, the less present for our lives we are.
People think there’s not enough time. In truth, there’s plenty of time for everything anyone finds worthwhile—just not in one 24-hour period. The good news is that the sun will rise again tomorrow and there will be more time in which to do things. So I say, do what you can, June, and leave the rest for tomorrow. And if you die tonight, what you didn’t get done won’t matter a whit to you, so don’t worry about it for a second while you’re alive.
Emerson wisely wrote, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
In other words, productivity be damned, marketing cycle be damned, there's always tomorrow. Tonight? Let it go.
Getting the jump on tomorrow is the fallacy. Doing more today so that there’s less to do tomorrow is the fallacy. Having to use up every second of today or risk having “wasted” time is the fallacy.
All any of us can do is make conscious choices about how we spend our time, and having done that, let anything undone go; at least until another day.
No one will miss the things we didn’t do. If you don’t believe me, leave something near the bottom of your biz to-do list that you think you “need” to get done undone. Do it tomorrow instead, and see if anyone really notices in any way that makes a difference. Chances are, they won’t. And if they don’t, then start leaving more stuff undone. Leave your office early at least once each week—and more if you have the moxie to do it. Again, see if anyone really notices. Try this with your family as well. It’s a wonderful experiment, and I hope you’ll let me know about your experiences.
Oh, and before I forget…Happy New Year, to you, dear June, and to all of my VMoxie friends. I hope the holidays were good to you, and that you had all the time you wanted and needed to spend with those who matter most to you, without obsessing about what didn’t get done, especially in your business! Here’s to a wonderful 2013 for us all!