I promised myself I’d never write a post like this.
I said to myself (and my readers) that an “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while…” post was unacceptable, and unprofessional.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while.
The truth is, I’m sorry I haven’t posted, but I’m not sorry about the reasons. And there are many:
- My freelancing gig picked up — I’m working with a sports ministry, numerous authors, bloggers, and small businesses, and I’ve been busy.
- I began working for my church part time. I’m doing web design, communications, marketing/graphic design, and other things, and I’ve been busy.
- I’m trying to launch an “author services” firm; a pseudo-publishing company of sorts, and I’ve been busy.
- I’m finishing edits on my first novel, and I’ve been busy.
- I’m writing a nonfiction book to coincide with the launch of Turtleshell Press, and I’ve been busy.
- My wife and I are getting more involved at church, through things like playing with the band on Sundays and small group meetings, and I’ve been busy.
Ok, I’ll stop there. My point isn’t to prove something, or justify my absence — just to point out that inevitably we’ll go through different seasons of our lives that bring different levels of “busyness.”
There’s the “busy” that means stress, forgotten date nights, disappointed kids, etc.
There’s the “busy” that brings homework, classes, never-ending social gatherings, working late nights, etc.
There’s even the “busy” that means constant gatherings, events, appointments, and parties.
But my “busy” is different:
My current “busy” means that I’m inundated with work that I absolutely love. My “regular” day changes so often, I don’t think I could call it “regular.” I have meetings at church early in the week, meetings at Starbucks with clients or over the phone later in the week, I’m designing videos and slides and posters and cool stuff by day and writing by night.
My wife is excited about my happiness regarding work, and she’s also busy launching a new side project designing handmade tote bags (featuring Disney characters and other fun cartoon stuff — all at a great price! *wink*).
I told her once that I wanted a job that would be so fun, so challenging, and so engaging that she’d have to tear me away from the computer at 2 in the morning to come to bed.
I think I found that job — and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
But there’s a trade-off.
Obviously, there are still only 24 hours in the day, and while I’d love to think that I can somehow create two or three more, I can’t. I haven’t been able to get the writing stuff done I’d planned for this month, due to the increased amount of work I have.
As such, my blogging schedule has all but disappeared, and my book-writing schedule is suffering. My goal is to change that.
I called this post “Getting Over ‘Busy'” (not “Over-busy,” which is way different!) because while I believe this sort of “busy” is the busy everyone should strive for (because it makes you happy, productive, and energized), I still need to take a step back from it.
I could easily get absorbed into this new lifestyle and a few years down the road my marriage could suffer. Or I could easily let something slip (like this blog) for a longer and longer period of time, and everyone knows it’s way harder to start something up again (like a diet) than it is to maintain it.
So here’s the plan. Here’s how I’m getting over “busy:”
- Accept it. I’ll continue to praise God for the work, the income, and the happiness, but I need to stop being surprised that a lifestyle like this really is possible, and make it my “standard.” By doing this, I’ll be able to systemize the parts of my days and weeks that take longer, and I’ll be able to take on more fun stuff.
- Take more breaks. I’m probably going to start taking “a Sabbath,” which basically just means a mini-sabbatical every week. I’ll start with Sunday, turning off the television, computers, Internet-enabled phone, and just read, write, and enjoy God’s earth. More updates on that soon.
- Focus on projects, not tasks. Every project involves tasks, but no task should be “project-less.” At my previous job, I was a task-focused machine, popping out “completes” and “dones” like nobody’s business. The Project, of course, was to help the company succeed — a worthy effort, to be sure, but one that proved to be more difficult that self-created projects and goals. Now, I create most of my own short- and long-term projects, and it’s up to me to see them through to completion. Rather than focusing on the daily tasks, I need to remind myself of the “end goal” each time — because that’s the thing that motivates and excites me.
- Give thanks. To God, to the people around me, to clients — I need to thank the people who have enabled me, supported me, and continue to believe in me. Also, I need to thank the people who (positively) criticize me and my work — they are the ones who most powerfully help me grow.
- Keep setting Big, Audacious, Goals. BAGs and the questions that lead to them are what got me here: “Could I start blogging and gain enough traction to quit my full-time job?” “Could I launch a publishing services firm that really helps authors and makes a difference?” “Would people actually pay me to design cool stuff for them?” These are real questions that led to real goals that led to real results, and I’m going to do more of it.
The things I haven’t mentioned (eating right, working out, reading, etc.) aren’t there because I think they won’t change no matter what my “busy” definition is. These 5 things I’ve mentioned though are the important and relevant things to me, right now. They’ll change over time, but as long as my “busy” is the fun kind, these are the 5 keys to my continued “busyness.”
What about you? What kind of “busy” are you?
And most importantly, what steps are you taking to stay at that type of “busy” (or move to another one)?
Leave a comment below, and let’s get this thing going!