A different start than normal on this blog. I’m going to begin by posting one of my recent videos where I highlighted my progress on my 2014 Goals. I’m doing this, even while knowing that most people who visit this post and possibly comment on it won’t watch any of it. Still, it highlights a lot of what’s going on with me now as it regards trying to reach some goals, knowing I’m not going to reach some goals, and in its own way addresses the topic:
That’s just for starters. Lately I’ve decided to address some of my health issues by downloading the app Myfitnesspal and tracking what I’m eating (that link leads to another video, just so you know) in an attempt to lose some weight and also try to stay away from what was another health scare related to diabetes; sigh…
To say that I might be spreading myself thin with all that’s going on in my life is an understatement. To say that I can’t handle it all is another matter; I can and have been doing it. Just not in the manner that I was handling it before.
See, when I was home most of the time I spent a lot of time writing. Not just on my 5 blogs but on 4 other blogs as well. I also wrote a couple of newsletters, none for myself, was on 3 boards (still am) and in an officer position in all of them. And I was marketing, marketing, marketing… that’s what you do when you work for yourself. Throw in all the social media stuff… whew, I’m tired reading it.
I’m not close to a super man; nowhere near it. I’m tired often, but I’ve got goals to go after, things to do, things I want, a lifestyle I want to live, and I’m closer to retirement age than a beginning; that’s a little scary I have to admit. Thus, I know I don’t have the time to just sit around doing nothing; I have to get things done, or at least work towards getting them done.
What I am though is a realist. Over the last year, as I’ve been traveling and consulting out of town, and not close to home, I’ve realized that I had to modify how I did what I did so I could keep up with almost everything I have going on.
I have had to let some things go, some things that just aren’t feasible for the moment, and slow down on some other things that I was pretty good at keeping up with. Kind of like this blog; instead of 3 or 4 posts a week I’m down to 1 or 2. Has it suffered some? Maybe, but we do what we do right?
Some of you know that I consult in two areas: health care finance and leadership.
One of the things I decided early on as a leader is that you take care of what’s most important first but always have the other stuff on a list that you look at here and there, and when you get an opportunity you try to address the issue. There’s always going to be a period where things aren’t as hectic, even in the most hectic jobs; trust me on this one.
In health care finance, there are two major concerns: bringing in as much money as possible fast and doing it in a compliant way so you don’t get hit with major fines later on.
As a consultant, this means going in and looking at the most obvious stuff first because most of the time that’s where the big issues are, and if I address those issues the money starts rolling in. As a director I found the money was in the training; if employees are top notch not only will the money come rolling it, but it’ll continue rolling in so you can go take care of something else.
Back in May I wrote a post about using my Franklin Planner. That’s been a big help because it not only allows me to write down everything I want to do but I also write down little motivational messages here and there to keep me on the straight path.
Part of my planning has been to write down when I need to write something for a blog, which blog, and when I want to release it. That’s obviously a big deal for me, but my local blog, Syracuse Wiki, has had to suffer. That’s because I want it to only be about local stuff, but if I’m not home it’s hard to write about much of it. In the high world of “finance” that’s known as a tough business decision; can’t do it all, right?
Marketing has been shut down because there’s no real reason to do it. I’m an independent consultant; for the most part I can only work on one project at a time, although I can do some consulting via phone (and have). Luckily, those folks have been finding me; nothing wrong with that.
Something else I’ve had to learn, which wasn’t a part of anything I was doing before all that much… I’ve had to learn to take breaks, even have some nights where I don’t do anything close to work.
When I was working for 3 months in New York City some years ago it was much different because every night was a new adventure, but not every place is like that; certainly where I am now can’t compare. So, I rest more when I’m on the road, and I rest more when I’m at home because I don’t have much time to do anything, including the stuff I need to do at home. Without the Planner, I’d be in really deep.
Okay, that’s all been about me; kind of selfish but I felt I had to establish a bit of authority on the subject so I can get to the main thrust of this post which is giving 5 tips for you to figure out how to pull your center together when you start feeling like your life and time is being spread too thin, because sometimes when that happens you just want to up and quit; never quit!
Tips time; here we go.
1. Get a planner, journal, memo pad, etc, and write stuff down. What makes most people feel really stressed? Trying to keep everything in your head. There are two main problems with that: you forget stuff; you can’t prioritize things when they’re all in your head.
Writing things down is not only cathartic but you might find that there are many things on your list that you can eliminate, pass off on someone else, get done pretty quickly, or is a major project that you need to do in stages. Nothing else works if you don’t start with this.
2. Find some support systems, even if they only take care of one or two things. For me, even though I could do them, I needed to have someone else do my accounting work and I needed someone to cut my grass and plow my driveway (I live in snow central; look it up lol).
That may not sound like much but for the first one, if you saw the amount of receipts I have to plow through and trying to manage who’s paying me and how, and separating expense payments from work payments, and then categorizing it all and having to then do all the taxes… ugh.
My lawn was taking me 3 hours to do pushing a mower, and when I got a riding mower, though it came down to about 45 minutes, because it turned out I was allergic to grass… well, if I showed you the picture of what I had to wear, in the hot sun… lol As for the snow, try living in a place where it literally snows every day in winter, and even though 6 to 8 inches is kind of a norm it all takes time to remove… so much easier to pay someone else for it.
This is how you need to think; it’s not about what you can do but what you don’t have to do so you can concentrate on the important stuff.
3. Decide one main thing that you want to accomplish in your life and center everything around that one goal. Make it a BAHG, or “big audacious hairy goal”.
In some ways this might seem simplistic but look at it from my perspective. There’s lots of things I do and at times I might start feeling spread a bit thin. In those times I start thinking about the reason I’m trying to do them all, an ultimate goal where, if I ever achieved it, I could feel really free and relaxed.
Before I tell you the big one I’ll tell you some small ones. Initially I wanted enough money to buy a soda fountain machine. That morphed into an ice making machine. Those were kind of stupid as each only cost around $200 or so, thus I decided to shoot for an Aeron chair, which cost around $1,300.
That turned out not to be big enough so I decided on buying a car with cash. Not only did I do that but I bought 2, one for my wife and one for me. So I upped the amount and a few years ago thought about the goal of being able to design a different house and paying for it with cash.
All fine and dandy but I realized my goals were aligned in the wrong place. Those were all things I wanted, and I got some of them, but it was wrong. What I wanted for real was security, the ability to do anything I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and wherever I wanted to do it. My goal… $10 million in the bank.
Now there’s a real goal! Realistic? Well, some might say no, but there are a lot of people who started something in their mid 50’s and became millionaires so why not me? Here’s the side benefit, and it’s a lesson learned from Jack Canfield, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy. Decades ago his goal was to make $100,000 in one year selling his book. He made $92,000. Do you think he was disappointed? Nope, because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life, he was close to his goal, and look where we went from there.
So, have a BAHG; even if you don’t get there, you will progress, and you’ll know that all the stuff you’ve been doing, if you’ve been focused, is worth it.
4. Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it. I’m going to let you in on a little secret (won’t be a secret after this). I’m thinking about shutting down one of my websites and blogs. In a way, this makes me feel like a quitter, but in another way I’m thinking it might help me focus a bit more while remaining true to my goal.
This isn’t a new thought, and part of my thinking was reignited this weekend when I was having a conversation with Lynn Terry of Clicknewz. I was telling her about all the blogs I was writing and she asked if there was one or two I could reduce or stop doing. Over the last few days I’ve thought about it some more and, well, it just might happen; I’m just not sure yet.
Still, if I decide to let it go then it’s gone. Last year I stopped writing one of my newsletters after 10 years and the year before I stopped writing a different newsletter after 9 years. There are some other things I’m thinking about removing myself from, not because I don’t like them but because I need more time to focus on my $10 million.
I know I’m not alone on this one. What things are you doing out of obligation that maybe you loved at one time but now it’s more of a chore to do? Is it taking you away from something you’d much rather do, something with a more positive endgame?
5. Take care of yourself first. Remember earlier I was talking about motivational messages I keep writing in my Planner? This is one of the first, and every month I write it again before anything else. That I feel the need to remind myself of this over and over is proof that I’m not doing it right.
If you don’t take care of yourself first you can’t help anyone else for long. If you don’t plan for your future it’ll be upon you before you know it and you’ll be in dire straits. If you don’t take care of yourself there might not be a future; scary isn’t it?
If you feel that you’re spreading yourself too thin think of this particular statement. Go through all the steps I mentioned because they’ll help give you some direction. If you have any conflicts whatsoever… take care of yourself first. We all know what to do; sometimes we’re conflicted. Don’t feel guilty; just do it and you’ll see that not only will you feel better, but things will start going your way.
Like that last picture says… Be Awesome! 😉
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