Question from a reader last week: How do I stay focused on what I love?
One solution: Be a Jedi.
If you’re not that, here’s my take for us normal folk.
If you’ve got a side-stream set up, or you’re working on building one, you probably have a LOT on your plate. Let’s not forget real life stuff, too. How the hell do you manage it all?
My strategy starts with 2 building blocks:
1. Continue to do the fun parts
2. Limit the not-fun parts
It sounds obvious, but unless you are ruthless with your approach, you’ll lose sight of these quickly. I have at many points, so I wanted to find a way to set myself up better. Obvious, but difficult.
If you’ve ever said, “this feels like a job,” “I’m not making enough,” or “I used to love work,” and felt the sinking feeling that comes from those thoughts, you’ve been there with me.
I’ve been working for 10 months on opening a non-profit after school academy. About six weeks ago, I found myself saying, “I can’t wait until this is funded, and I can worry about the kids again.” You see, we’ve been working so hard on the business, on funding, on the systems in place, on how we recruit and hire, and all those non-fun things, it’s hard to keep focus on the mission.
On top of opening the Academy, I got hired to do a presentation for a person-of-interest, coach two youth club soccer teams professionally, and consult for a few businesses.
How do I keep focused, keep moving, and keep sane?
Let me share three things the last six months have taught me about keeping my focus on what I love:
When setting up solutions there are three main things to think about:
Cost: What am I giving up, foregoing, or paying. Foregoing is often an overlooked aspect. The “opportunity cost” of one project or experiment is usually declining something else, so always bear that in mind. Another thing to keep in mind: If you’re earning $20 an hour, and can pay someone to do your work for $10, you’re EARNING. That’s called arbitrage, a beautiful “business” word.
Time Investment: What do YOU have to put into it, how much does it take to upkeep, and will it net any return. That’s not to say that something with no return has no value, but consider the cost of upkeep for your smaller tweaks as well. If you can save BIG chunks of time now, you’ll net later, but don’t kill yourself saving seconds.
Try It: It’s impossible to be sure if your new methods are providing any solutions by guessing. It’s even tougher if you have seven things going on. Pick one thing to change this week and keep everything else the same. If you, for example, I coach four days a week, so I tried a system of brainstorming on Monday, drawing up sessions the next and then condensing them for practices on the third. Overall, I was able to plan out 4 weeks of practices in one sit down, which saved me time to focus on the girls! Try something new. What results do you get? Are you better or worse? Don’t guess, TEST!
Bottom Line: Attempt these solutions and see if they save you time, effort or money. For me, these are no brainers and I won’t go back!