I have a tendency to overbook on my To Do list. I do it all the time, but I usually have no problem with moving any tasks that don’t get done today until tomorrow. That is, on my good days. I think that there is a direct link to how good I’m feeling about myself, how stressed out I am, and how much I try to control things. Usually, the crappier or more stressed I feel, the more I want to control things. At the root of it all, my list-making is really my best effort at making sure something happens today – it’s my way of controlling. Yes, I’m a control freak, but I’m getting better at letting others drive when I need a break. I think most entrepreneurs are control freaks, but the reality is that in order to be more effective leaders and more effective entrepreneurs, we need to learn to delegate and trust. We need to let go of the reigns once in awhile. We need to accept that we can’t do it all, and that we don’t control everything and everyone.
I really worked myself up into a frenzy today because I had my day all planned out and then Life happened. My plan was to come into the office, meet up with an old friend who was in town from California, who is now consulting for me, and kick around, or ‘soft-launch’ a new project we’re going to collaborate on. For most folks, this week is a vacation week, but for me, it was probably the worst week that I could have taken a day off. The timing of this holiday and the amount of work we’ve got coming into the firm (while my #2 guy is on vacation) were not a good combo. I ended up working late on the 3rd, and getting in early yesterday and today. Friday’s in the Summer are usually light (re: I try to MAKE them light), and I like to keep my options open in the afternoon either for boating or golfing. Today, my plan was to golf and it never happened.
The day started for me with a text from a client at 8:25am who wanted to review a project. As soon I got into the office, my intern and my old friend were already here waiting for me and I had to ignore them and jump on the call. It’s been non-stop all day. The rock that I felt in my chest was something of my own creation. I was still determined to go play golf this afternoon even though I had tons of work to do in order to complete the sales presentation and custom illustrations for my client. The stress I felt was not only self-inflicted, but it was snow-balling from earlier in the week, when I was forced to subcontract some web development work to another firm because my main web developer was on vacation. Additionally, I haven’t been feeling so great because I took a 2-week hiatus from working out after my 110 mile Century bike ride last month. To compensate, I’ve been running ragged trying to make sure every little detail of every little detail goes my way. The truth is I can’t do it all, and my team can’t do it all. We either have to ask for help, pace ourselves a bit better, staff up, or all of the above.
Something magical happened when I finally accepted (at 2:25pm) that I wasn’t going to make my 3pm 9-hole teetime. It wasn’t anger, it was relief. Sure it hurt for a second, but like peeling off a bandaid, I felt better right away. I felt a load come off my chest and I could breathe again. (I wouldn’t have had a good round anyway.) I had been piling on the work all week trying to meet every deadline and today all I wanted was an easy day – and instead I was super-busy. I was beginning to cringe each time the phone rang because I feared additional changes. Together, my intern and I tag-teamed and knocked out the presentation and were able to deliver it in record time. The client was happy and any new revisions will be handled Monday. Mission accomplished.
The reality is that being busy and experiencing growth in this economy is a huge blessing. Our biggest problem right now is finding quality staff support quick enough that we don’t burn out or overload our current staff. That’s a luxury problem. I’ve been on the other side of that equation before. Realizing that I can’t do it all, that some things will have to be put off until tomorrow and focusing on the task at hand while doing the best we can [all before blowing a gasket] was another huge blessing. I even found the time to write this blog! Imagine that…
So what, I didn’t get to play my practice round of golf today because Life got in the way. I’m not complaining. I’m just looking forward to playing golf tomorrow morning – now, let’s hope I’m BLESSED with long, straight drives and a few birdies.
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Ramon has over 19 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon's logo and identity work was selected to be published in "Typography and Enclosures" the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.
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