For the past 10 years or so I’ve just blocked the first three weeks of June off on my calendar as “too busy” to do anything else. There’s this client that I love and every year there’s a big fundraising event that I’m part of organizing – technically I am just the graphic designer for the event, but over the years my role has expanded to more than that (and the design part is already huge). This is event is part client-project but mostly out-of-the-goodness-of-my-heart type of thing.
Today we are just 4 days out from the event and now is when the major work starts. I’ll be working on this from morning to night until we are packed up Monday evening. Then Tuesday is the event and that’ll be another 14 hour day (or is it 16?). As you can imagine, Wednesday is for power-resting.
I’m not complaining. Not at all. I enjoy this event (even if I might complain about all the work) and I enjoy seeing my design work on display and appreciated. Plus, I’m an event planner at my core – I like seeing how a million little tasks build on top of each other to end in a hugely successful event that everyone raves about.
This June is a little bit different because right after this event is finished I’ll also be wrapping up another big client project. This one is a big website design and migration project that’s been in the works for about six months. I’ve taken a vacation day off work next week so I can have a long weekend to do the bulk of the front end design in a marathon session. Plus I’ve been juggling (and finished) three other smaller client projects.
To recap, here’s what I’ve been doing besides my “day job”
- Big, massive event
- Big long-term web design project
- Business card and brochure design for client
- Author promotional materials design for client
- Anniversary invitation design for client
- And another web design project that’s stalled as I hound the client for content
So that’s six different projects happening at the same time, plus the book I’m writing. (I won’t even mention that my toilet broke and I’ve been dealing with coordinating that home repair too.)
Why am I telling you all this? I wanted to share with you some thoughts I’ve had in the past couple weeks… and a realization I came to just yesterday.
When I started this website back in February I committed to myself to published at least one article and one inspirational quote per week. I’ve been pretty consistent with that schedule up until the past few weeks when this huge event project really ramped up. Not to mention the book I’ve started (and it’s going to be awesome, by the way!!). But I haven’t written for two weeks because I’ve been swamped with extra work on this event and the other miscellaneous client projects.
And I’ve been beating myself up over it.
No really… I’ve felt completely guilty because I am neglecting a commitment that I made to myself.
I kept adding “website” to my task list and it kept getting pushed aside while I did some other task. Or it just wouldn’t get done because I end up falling asleep on the couch at midnight while doing that other task. And then I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t getting up early to write (like I used to) because I was too tired in the mornings and would hit the snooze bar on the alarm a dozen times before dragging my butt out of bed to get ready for work. But it’s not just the act of updating the website because that’s not why I’m doing this whole BIG DREAMS thing. It’s about working every day toward my goals and achieving big things with my life. So I was mostly feeling guilty for not working on my life goals.
I have a 90-minute commute to work (each way) and usually fill that time with listening to podcasts or the radio or audiobooks. But yesterday morning I just wanted silence for the drive. Thinking time.
That’s when it hit me how much I was doing. And not just “doing” for the sake of being busy, but actually working on my goals and doing exactly what I’ve set out to do with my life. I’m building a business with a strong foundation and this is exactly what it should look like to see progress and success in that pursuit.
Back when I spent time researching ideas for generating passive income, I even said that in my quest to create multiple streams of passive revenue that I would need to continue to build my design client base so that revenue could be used to support the rest of it. Then when the passive income parts were thriving, I could back off on the client work.
But until that happens, THIS is what it’s going to look like.
It’s going to look like running around like a crazy woman. It’s going to look like falling asleep at my desk at midnight. It’s going to look like long hours with a team of people. It’s going to look like squeezing in pockets of time to write when I can. It’s going to look like I’m over-worked, under-vacationed and over-tired. But, what I’m doing right now is exactly the right thing – multiplied by six.
What’s the lesson in all this rambling?
Stop beating yourself up and feeling guilty – instead set more realistic expectations for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Because you, my friend, are awesome!