It’s a common complaint. Wanting and needing time off and not knowing how to make it happen.
Just recently a colleague connected with me via email complaining about just that. “My time and calendar are not my own!! Everyone takes up my time and I can’t seem to control it,” she said. She was experiencing valueless busy-ness in her business. Not getting to her important revenue-generating activities because she was too busy meeting the needs of everyone else.
She asked me how I managed to take Mondays off each week.
My reply was simply that I chose it. And I booked it. I guard it.
She really could not see herself being in charge of her time.
- Stopping the madness of a full schedule.
- Wondering how much longer she could last meeting everyone’s needs but her own.
- Knowing she could not keep going full-tilt much longer.
- Longing for some time to just breathe.
- Hoping for some ME time.
She knew it sounded unlikely, but a little voice in her head reminded her that her health and well-being were at stake. That little voice kept whispering – perhaps those health issues emails and ads she was seeing might actually apply to her. In reality, she had just had a health setback which almost stopped her from attending a family gathering. It actually did stop her from traveling out of the country as she was afraid of being too far away from her known healthcare providers.
Bottom line she was worried.
In one of my previous posts, I wrote about it being time to take the foot off the gas pedal.
This sounded just like she has her foot on the gas pedal a little too firmly. Know what I mean?
When we got together, we talked about what it was like in her world. The busy-ness. The lack of control. We did a little exercise we coaches like to call “a trip to the 30,000-foot level” – like being in a plane and looking at life from there. Mentally going above the current circumstance to see what we could see from a different perspective. Away from the day-to-day if you will.
What we saw was that this was a regular pattern from the past, and it came from that good old FOMO place. (Fear Of Missing Out – a common issue with we self-employed folks.) Fear of missing that next gig, that next client, that next big break. After all, “time kills deals” because we feel that if we aren’t there RIGHT AWAY, to react immediately, what will happen?
Well actually, nothing. Not really. The worst-case scenario is that the person contacting you will leave a voice message or send an email. It’s a known fact that responding too quickly actually reeks of desperation. No one wants to work with a desperate person. People want to work with successful, truly busy people.
While we were up in the clouds, we also looked at the future and she saw that she was inspired and motivated to travel more. To spend more time with friends and family. In the recent past, she had met with friends who shared their life balance issues and helped her see what was going on for her. This kind of busy – spending time with these friends – was beneficial to her in so many ways. She was able to have a nice time away from her work, connect with her friends, and get some great support for her busy-ness issues.
She wants more of that kind of freedom.
Since then we’ve looked at what is truly important, what is not, and reworked her schedule to allow both personal and business time. Created a commitment to her. Real productive work, not busy-ness. Planned for travel and connecting with others.
The richness she is experiencing now has allowed her to be more present for her family and friends AND more productive in her work. That’s a big win/win – and a big taming of the time monster that can so easily suck us all in.