I’m writing this post May 23rd, about thirty minutes before it’s going live (I think), from my slapped-together glass IKEA desk in the converted 2nd bedroom of our apartment in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
We’re here, we’re safe, and we’re (somewhat) moved-in.
But first, the rant.
Everything I had planned for this blog and my work for early this week has been derailed.
First, our move-in date was supposed to be Sunday, May 21st, and we had movers ready to go then. However, there was a miscommunication and we were told that we’d need to wait until Monday. Our movers couldn’t do it on Monday.
So, I spent the day moving in our 100+ boxes, giant furniture, and living paraphernalia while my wife unpacked and organized. We’re a great team, but we’d have been an even better team with a few movers around to help.
Second, I had to miss a day of work (Monday), which meant that I had to play catch-up yesterday, rather than get this week’s posts scheduled and ready to go. Normally, I’m at least 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule with the blog, but with the packing and moving going on last week, those “extra posts” got all used up…
Third, I had a couple guest posts go live:
- What David Ogilvy Can Teach You About Marketing on Firepole Marketing
- How to Develop and Win a True Audience Through Social Media on KR Pooler’s site
Great, right? Wrong.
I was supposed to have four posts go live this week–no idea where the others are–all in preparation for the launch of my new book/manifesto, Building a Blog That Readers Love: 101 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Launch Your Empire:
Looks great, huh?
As you can imagine, having four guest posts, two posts on LiveHacked.com, and one on Lifehacks.org would have been wonderful for promoting the book.
As you can also imagine, not having any of this work out correctly is not wonderful for promoting the book.
Fourth, our sink exploded last night, and I flooded the entire kitchen and part of the living room. I didn’t even wait for the maintenance guy to show up–I poured myself a big glass of wine, grabbed Chris’ new book (The $100 Startup, an absolute must-read), and went to bed.
All-in-all, not a perfect start to our new life in Colorado.
But you know what?
It’s going to be okay. We’ll finish unpacking and moving in, and I’ll get back on track with these posts, and my book launch event will still be awesome.
I’ll continue to write, and to help people however I can (I’m sorry, to those of you who’ve emailed me this weekend–I will get back to you!), and create value wherever I can.
And that leads to the point of this post.
Maybe you’ve struggled with something like this in the past. Your plans, however perfectly and immaculately designed, somehow become an unraveled mess. You want to scream; press the pause button, and take a bubble bath.
Nothing you do can break you out of this funk.
…And that’s just it: stop trying to break out.
Stop trying to get that lost time back. Stop trying to “get ahead.”
Time is not something we can buy, save, and trade–we have what we have, and every second–whether used or forfeited–is going to continue ticking on. If we mess up and lose some of it, it’s like crying over spilled milk. There’s nothing we can do to get it back.
What to do instead
Instead of wasting more time pondering, wondering “what if,” and basically whining about all that you’ve lost, do this instead:
- Acknowledge. Know that you’ve lost time–you cannot get it back. It might sound harsh, but once you realize (once I realize!) that this time is gone forever, we (I) can start again and focus on the here and now.
- Accept. This goes both ways–first, accept that you’ve lost time and get over it. Also, though, know that we (your fans, readers, coworkers, etc.) accept that you’ve lost time. We get it–we’ve been there. Yeah, I want to post two or three times per week, but I’m not able to this week. Bummer–I’m sure my readers will get over it. They might need to be coerced to come back if it’s been too long, but either way they’ll come back.
- Ascertain. In some sales departments, a funny term is thrown around: “ascertain the pain.” It’s meant to remind salespeople of the goal: finding out what the pain points are in a prospect’s life, and understanding it. In this example, I’m talking about “ascertaining the situation.” Understand clearly what went wrong, what parts of it were your own fault (not for blame, but for growth), and then figure out what to do next. If you ascertain a specific bad situation well, you probably won’t be faced with that same situation again.
- Analyze. Take a pencil and a piece of paper and write down what you’re going to do next. Not a to-do list necessarily, but a “this is what needs to happen today/tomorrow/this week to get back on track” list. The difference is simple and crucial: don’t just rehash your “to do” items–figure out what is going to make you feel comfortable with your situation again. For me, that means I need to write 4,000 between now and tomorrow morning. I don’t really care where those words end up, or if they’re even published–I just want to know that I’m setting the standards again for my writing.
*Hmm, I realized those all started with “A.” Sorry for that–I’m not a card-carrying member of the Americans Against Acronym And Alliteration Abuse club, but I smirk a little when I see stuff like what I just wrote…
The point is: don’t just take the hit and brush it off–yeah, it happened. Yeah, you won’t get that time back. But you also don’t need to work overtime, a double shift, or until 4 in the morning to “get back to square one.” Just focus on moving forward in your mind. If that means you need to put in a few extra hours, go for it. But often that means we just need to focus on our priorities (for me: family, job, writing) and do those (and only those) until we’re “right” again.
I hope this makes sense.
I don’t want to sound condescending–I’m no expert when it comes to playing catch-up, recovering from lost time, etc. I’m just a guy with a computer who wants to get stuff done.
I want that stuff to be awesome, and I want it to help people. Sometimes, though, I get sidetracked, confused, or just derailed altogether. The secret, to me, isn’t to focus on staying on track, because I’ll inevitably be let down.
No, to me, the secret is to acknowledge that *stuff* happens, get over it quickly, and make everything I produce after it happens that much better than I’d ever expected.
How I’m making this week better
So, since I’m interested in making everything better this week, I’m going to do something a little different. I’ve already asked my email subscribers if they’d be interested in reading my new book (Building a Blog Readers Love) for free, if they’d write an honest review on Amazon when it’s officially released.
And I’ll ask you the same thing–without needing to subscribe to any lists–if you’d be interested in reading the book before the official release. If so, just leave a comment and I’ll personally follow up. It doesn’t need to be long or fancy; just a “wassup” will do!
I can use the “pick-me-up,” and I’d love to share what I’ve been writing about with those of you who’d care to hear. Again, just leave a comment, and I’ll personally follow up with a copy of the manuscript.
Thanks guys and gals!