A good friend of mine likes to reply to the question:
'How are you bud?'
'I'm on the right side of the dirt!'
I love that response because it puts everything in perspective. If you are alive, it can be a great day.
But these days Busy has become the new Good.
Everyday you can hear a conversation go something like this...
'How are you Jim?'
'Oh yah, crazy busy. Can't keep up!'
'How's things Bob, keeping busy?'
'Yah I'm good man, really busy.'
Busyness seems to be the objective these days. Being un-busy almost seems shameful, like you are lazy or not too smart, or have no value, no purpose. If people today associate busy with good, then the implication must be that being anything less than over-busy would mean we are not thriving.
But is this really true?
When you work after-hours it means that you are not available for your family. Your health takes a hit. Those sacrifices carry a significant cost. If you do have to work over-time, consider putting extra value on that time by committing to taking time off elsewhere. Or attach a premium to your invoices for those hours. While money can't quite compensate for the sacrifices you are making, it acts as a filter to separate the truly urgent work from manufactured pressure, or poor planning.
When you are starting out your business will experience growing pains, no matter how successful you are at the outset. The challenge you face is determining for yourself what success looks like to you, and what you are willing to invest or sacrifice to build that business. If you don't have those things clearly defined you run the risk of being so busy that you put everything that you work so hard for at significant risk. You can succeed straight into complete failure.
When you start your business you want nothing more than to have lots of demand for your services. You can't get enough! It feels so validating. The cash is so needed. You are motivated to keep the momentum going. But staying in this mindset too long is dangerous. You can easily work 7 days a week and start tons of jobs. But your family life may fall apart. You could stretch yourself very thin financially. Your health will push back. Customers will start screaming for you to start jobs, continue jobs or finish jobs. Your reputation can take a hit as you deliver much less than you promise. This doesn't feel like success. You sure will be busy, but it will not be optimally productive or effective. There will be some fall out.
Maybe you should be concerned about yourself or a friend who replies to 'How are you?' with the answer: 'Crazy-busy'. Hopefully this is a temporary situation and life can return to a manageable pace as soon as possible. Busy and successful are not necessarily synonymous, so beware of the busyness trap.
"Less is not lazyness." - Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Work Week
"The road to hell is paved with the pursuit of volume." - Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle
"Better is a handful of rest, than two handfuls of hard work and chasing after the wind." - Ecclesiastes 4:4
"A man that chases two rabbits catches neither." - Chinese Proverb
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