I have a current client whom I adore.
She’s smart and determined, a real go-getter who’s more than ready to get her business show on the road. Her website is thisclose to being finished, she’s already working with a client (who keeps extending their work together), and she knows her stuff when it comes to what she’s offering.
Her biggest roadblock?: “I don’t have time.”
Yes, it’s true – time is at a premium for her. Isn’t it for all of us? So many roles we need to play, so many responsibilities as mothers, partners, daughters, employees, friends, and on and on.
When we look at how this client spends her time, though, she’s being led – and tricked! – by perfectionism in a big way.
Choosing a couple of stock images for her website took hours, with an s.
Sending an email to someone she met at a conference took 30ish minutes.
Responding to a prospective client took days (with an s), because she was convinced that she needed an online scheduler before she responded and the link wasn’t working. And also didn’t her questionnaire need to be on a beautiful PDF? And how do you send an invoice, anyways? Let’s research it.
I’m sharing her story because I know she’s not alone. Are you nodding your head here, too? Do you know that you let perfectionism and busy work get in the way of discovering, launching, or growing your business?
And yet…are you telling yourself it’s because “I don’t have time…” or “I just need to learn this new thing first…” or “I don’t look professional enough yet…”?
This is the voice of Resistance (yes, capital-R Resistance, like the one spoken of in The War of Art), keeping you safe where you are.
Although you might be tricking yourself that you are working on your business, you’re not really moving it forward – you’re standing still, or even backtracking.
This busy work is keeping you from The Real Work, and it’s why you’re telling yourself you have no time, even when we know it’s not quite the truth.
It’s funny, because when I’ve asked my clients whether they’re aware of the moment they’re doing busy work as a procrastination tool, I’ve gotten a Yes 100% of the time.
Is that true for you, too? Do you know when you’ve crossed that line?
Everything beyond that line is time you have, but not that you’re really using.
The line where “checking Facebook” becomes mindless scrolling for an hour or more.
The line where “watching my show” becomes a 4-hour Netflix binge.
The line where “researching XYZ” becomes the newsletter you’re not writing, the lead you’re not reaching out to, the website that’s not yet ready to show to the world.
When we stop ourselves from crossing that Perfectionism line – or course-correct ourselves when we realize it’s already happened – our time is both made and found.
Another client of mine realized that she’s in the office alone for 2 hours every morning, forced to come in at 7am in advance of the rest of her co-workers. There’s rarely anything for her to do then. She
found made an extra hour every weekday to work on her business.
A third former client knew she didn’t have the brain power or the energy to work on her business during weeknights – she was too spent from her day job. But she realized she could use both weekend mornings to do business tasks, and she developed the routine of waking up on Saturdays and Sundays, making her favorite cuppa, and immediately taking 3ish hours to do her business work. She sat by her favorite window and was done well before lunch. 6 hours a week, time made and not found, waiting to fall from the sky.
Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s the theory that a task takes as long as the time you have available. When you only have 1 hour in the morning, or 3 on a weekend day, your work gets done. You can see the progress. You feel the momentum.
The first client I spoke of is killing it with a timer, setting one before each task based on how long she wants it to take. Sure, she might go over by a few minutes, but it’s rarely the procrastination blow-out she’s used to having.
She also does well using a Post-It note at the end of every working session to jot down her tasks for the next one. If it’s too much, she circles the highest priorities. This way, she can see what needs to get done at a glance. When she goes off the Post-It note, she knows it’s more than likely Procrastination trying to keep her safe.
My 90 Day Business Launch friendleague (that’s a colleague who’s my friend), Laura, told our participants to practice being Decisive & Imperfect recently. There was only 4-6 weeks of our program left, and if anyone got caught up on The Perfect Font or The Perfect Copy or The Perfect Online Scheduler, they wouldn’t meet their launch deadline.
These are intentions we can all live by: Decisive & Imperfect. Aim for a B-. Let it be good enough. Don’t sidetrack yourself with things that aren’t important right now. Get out of your own way.
Because the time? It’s there. You just need to catch it, and make it for yourself.
A week from today, Laura & I are teaching this free class online. Learn how even side hustlers and Moms can launch their business in 90 days by signing up now.