Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

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.

Picture 12

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.

Student Design Charrette 21
PLACE Built Environment
via Compfight

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.

And What shall I Write
Lew (tomswift) Holzman
via Compfight

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.

Snow plow
Jeroen Kransen via Compfight

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.

Golden Light at the Hour of Death
Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

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.

~♥~ And my heart will go on and on ~♥~
¤ [B~B] Bourne Bedweey [B~B] ¤
via Compfight

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?

Be Awesome

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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18 thoughts on “Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?”

  1. Hey Mitch, you know me mate, I’m not much for goals. I just naturally do what I do and hope it gets me somewhere. Lately though I have come up with a goal. Like you I’m nearing retirement age and while I have been putting money in my superannuation that may not last me if I life to a nice old age.

    So, my goal is to work my inch blogs so that that they will provide me enough residual income to provide me with a nice weekly retirement income. I’m hoping to get it to a thousand bucks a week which is more than I’m getting now at my job.

    Like you I have too many blogs, some of which aren’t doing much. I have some of them for sale on Sedo but no offers yet. I don’t mind them being there though because most of them provide some links to those blogs that do matter.

    Writing stuff down sounds like a good idea. I will have to do that.
    Peter recently posted..Caroline Wozniacki Hot Sports BabesMy Profile

    1. Good deal Peter. I keep thinking about putting my anti-smoking website up for sale but I’m not sure anyone would buy it. I have another website that I’ve never quite figured out how to get it to generate income. But the one I’m thinking about… well, if and when it happens I’ll talk more about it at that point.

  2. Hi Mitch, I can really relate to this post/video. I started taking yoga and got very sick one night during class. Ended up I have Lyme Disease. I really have to pace myself now so I don’t get worse. (getting better after few weeks alreaady). I’ve always said you can’t do anything without your health. It’s like gas for the car, you can’t drive without it! I like your advice about hiring help – I had to hire someone to cut my grass for a few weeks so I don’t overdue it. It took me 2-3 hours to do.
    Glad to hear you may shut one of your blogs, you have so many. I’m down to just 2 and really 1 that I actively work on daily.
    I hope you are able to accomplish your goals and be healthy! Enjoy the weekend.
    Lisa recently posted..Foursquare Becoming Swarm with Personalized Local SearchMy Profile

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lisa. My next door neighbor got Lyme disease from her dog being out back all the time; that’s why I won’t go in the backyard. lol At a certain point for many of us it does become something we have to consider and it’s my time. I’m at that age where I’m recognizing I can do a lot, but I can’t do it all; sniff!

  3. Hey Mitch, I appreciate your effort about this article. Being a boss in your own self is a cool lifestyle to have. I agree with your post that sometimes being stuck and not accelerating on ideas that we thought that it will lead us somewhere is keeping it all in our head at the point that our brain will explode, we are no superman but still making a Journal or a memo pad is another extension for our brain. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Jacob. I think all of us should evaluate our lives at some point to see if we’re doing what we believe we should be doing, especially if we have goals we’re shooting for. I just hope some of the things I mentioned gets people thinking about stuff before they get where I am now.

  4. Hey Mitch! Nice post, life can often be quite stressful and I’ve actually tried some of those tips which were mentioned before. My favourite one is the notepad/journal one, I always have one on me at all times. Whenever I feel troubled, I just write about it and it goes away. Not completely, but it relaxes my mind a bit. Writing in my journal is basically my safe place.

    But overall, they are all quite useful tips for those who are a bit lost and need some help.

    1. Thanks Peter, and it does help having a pad that we can write on. Course, I feel like I had to learn how to write again since I type so much these days but it’s worth it. 🙂

  5. Good stuff Mitch. I was hoping when I first starting reading this post that you would provide some tips as for me this really hits home. You delivered for sure. I wonder though… Franklin Planner. Hmmm… So you carry around a notebook? Interesting. I can see how that would work. I wonder if you or your readers think anything about a digital version or similar like EverNote or such?
    Troy recently posted..#915 Caught on Google Earth Street ViewMy Profile

    1. Troy, you must have forgotten this post; you even commented on it lol

      It’s not that digital isn’t good. It’s just that it really does work better writing things down if you have lots of items to do or if you want to schedule your day. And the act of writing it just feels right and makes it seem more real. But it could be because I’m older and remember when we didn’t have all this technology around; takes me back to my roots.

      1. Troy, anything I create electronically is automatically backed up somewhere else, thus I don’t worry about crashes. I worry about what I’ll actually look at & pay attention to. 🙂

  6. First of all Mitch, I recommend to those you invite in an interview to accept as well. I not only enjoyed it more than any other interview, you actually made me look good – and that’s not easy to do. 😉

    I went out several years ago and spent over $140 on a decent (cheap) Franklin Planner. I used it like crazy until I kept setting it down and leaving it everywhere. I always managed to recover it but I became so worried about losing it I didn’t want to leave anything personal. Now I pretty much use Google Calendar since it syncs with my phone and Nook.

    I think we all struggle with goals because we’re busier than ever. Last year I was doing a 30 day challenge each month and that was fun but very difficult. This year VERY lucky to get one post a week out and I rarely find the time to read anything – books or blogs. I have several books waiting on my desk just begging to be read but I know I won’t have time to get though one.

    I’m my case I think it’s more than just the longer hours; I think it’s the added stress. By the end of the day my mind is fried. I used to be able to catch up on comments, promotes posts, read blogs and other things we need to do as bloggers. Now, I get home about eight at night and I’m good for a mindless show on TV before falling asleep. It’s probably my age but the job is much more demanding.

    I haven’t seen you work this much since I’ve known you. I think you’re being a little hard on yourself After all; you are an old man 😉 Seriously though, your goals (BAHG) were very demanding and covered almost every aspect of your life. We’re all guilty of this and that’s why I think the 30 day challenge works well for a lot of people.
    Brian Hawkins recently posted..My Latest Niche Blog And The First Steps I TookMy Profile

    1. Thanks for stopping by Brian; I know how busy you are with all the stuff you’ve got going on. You’re right though, we have to try to get it all in while we’ve got other obligations as well, and those things put money on the table so they come first. Now, the Planner helped me remember to get some things done this evening which were needed but other obstacles ended up killing 90 minutes of my time that I could have used for other things. Still, with the Planner I know I can get to them tomorrow whereas without it, or some way to track these things properly, I might have totally forgotten about them. Sure, still some stress, but not as much since the worry about forgetting things has been taken away.

      You’re always experimenting! 🙂

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