Summer is quickly approaching and the kids will be out of school soon. I adore my work, but as the days get nicer I want to spend more time outside playing than inside working. As a business grows, there seems to be more to do leaving business owners less time to enjoy the “freedom” they envisioned when starting their business. I often hear business owners say they could sit at their desk all day and never get “it” all done. And they’re right. A business owner’s to do list is never ending.
Before you throw up your hands in discouragement, walk through this exercise with me. Imagine completing that last item on your to-do list and feel the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. Revel in how good it feels to have an empty list. What would you do next? When I ask my clients this question, I hear “take a nap”, “read a book”, and the most frequent – “take a vacation”. Now imagine what you would do after your vacation, after you cleaned out the garage, and after you’ve worn out your golf partners. Then what? Sooner or later, you’d start a project. And that project would require a to-do list, even if it’s just in your head. That’s the nature of entrepreneurs: we don’t sit still. There is always something new and interesting to try, a subject that piques our interest. The truth is that when an entrepreneur is finally done all of their projects, well… they’re done, too. Lights out. Life is over.
The real solution is not to try and get it all done; the solution is a mind-shift. Accept that you will always have open projects – it means you are active and engaged. Be thankful that your business is engaging and provides you with mental stimulation. Focus on those tasks that matter most, on what will most move your business forward, on what will make your business (and life) run more smoothly and more successfully. Understand that the rest will be there tomorrow for you to tackle, or even the next. And that’s okay.
Writing this has reminded me of a book idea I need to add to my to do list. I may never get to it with everything else that’s on my list, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
– Helen Dutton, Business Coach