Have you ever had an experience like this? You are working on a big trial or project. So many people are in and out of your office, you might as well install a revolving door. The phone is ringing. Email is pinging. Clients are calling—some are bitching, some are crying, some are even so upset you suggest they put their therapist on speed dial. You jump and react and respond to them all, Pavlov’s ever-obedient dog.
Meanwhile, your spouse, your children, or both, are lighting up your phone with text messages all day long, expecting you to solve every stinkin’ problem that comes up, no matter how mammoth or trivial. (Thank goodness they have you for, surely, they’d all be wandering about in the yard, naked and aimless, but for your immediate and detailed instructions.)
After work, there’s a board meeting for the charity you agreed months ago to support (it seemed like a really good idea at the time). You’re so exhausted, you don’t know how you’re possibly going to stay awake thru the thing, much less enthusiastic about it. Why did you ever commit to doing this?
When you finally get home—after dinner, and homework and “Honey-how-was-your-day-yes-I’m-listening”—you finally have a moment alone to scroll mindlessly through Facebook while you drink a glass of Chardonnay. And then it happens, you get sucked into yet another person’s drama. Even if you don’t comment, or your comment and then erase it, your mind is racing with all the “oh hell nos!” and “no she didn’t” and “I would never…!” and “I can’t believe that’s!”, wrestling with this imaginary hypothetical until it’s time to go to bed.
And now…you can’t sleep. Or you fall asleep (thank you, Chardonnay), but about 2 or 3:00 a.m. your eyes pop wide open and your brain kicks back into high gear as you start sorting through all the events of yesterday—all the information you received and failed to process. Your mind, magnificent machine that it is, decides now, when it is nice and quiet and you are relaxed and attentive, is a good time to begin processing, instead of doing what it should be doing, which is sleeping and restoring your physical body.
Why is it doing this? Quite simply: you are giving it too much information during the day and not enough time to process all that information. I.e. You never allow your brain a chance to relax during the day so it can process what you are giving it to process. You don’t allow it the time and space it needs for creative thought because you are always providing new information that does not serve your highest and best good.
For example, how much of your day is spent handling tasks that are below your pay grade? Let’s say for argument’s sake your bill at a rate of $350/hour. For every task you do, ask yourself, would I pay someone $350/hour to do this task? If the answer is “no,” then perhaps you should consider an alternate solution for how to get the task accomplished. Get in the habit of asking yourself:
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to answer this email?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to answer this phone?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to write this brief?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to write this blog?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to post to social media?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to design my website?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to argue this case before the jury?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour to sign up a new client?
- Would I pay someone $350/hour for a new lead?
You get the idea. Every time you choose to spend time during your workday talking to anyone, whether that’s a staff person, prospective client, client, friend, family member, or vendor, you must think about the $350 you are investing in that conversation (it’s more than that if you are talking to someone you are paying). The same goes whether that conversation is in person or in writing.
This valuation exercise could apply not only to your business but to your home life as well. Would you pay someone $350/hour to do your laundry? How about the cooking? Housework? Driving your children to all their activities? (There could be some intrinsic value to driving your children to school—like that’s always been a special bonding time for you and your child. But, if you have several teenaged children, and they all have different activities, and you are trying to grow and business, and be their chauffer at the same time, perhaps you could consider hiring someone to drive them to their activities until they are old enough to drive themselves.)
Another example: How much time are you spending getting sucked into other people’s drama (OPD) on social media? I know. I know. It’s so easy to do, and it can feel really good at the moment to help a “sister” out. In fact, you likely are getting a little endorphin rush every time you give some good advice and you get praised by others for it (I, for one, am addicted to those little laughing emojis). And it’s always a wonderful distraction from one’s own troubles to read about OPD. “Hey, at least my day was better than that!” The insidious thing, though, is that we think we are relaxing when really what we are doing its distracting ourselves—which, actually, is the perpetuation, or prolonging, of a state of anxiety.
So, what could life look like if we stripped away some of the information and allowed our minds time to relax during the day? What if we were more intentional and protective of our time and the investment of our brainpower? Could we, perhaps:
- Create time and space for creative thought? Strategic planning and thinking?
- Make quantum leaps in the growth of our business instead of spending the day mired in the details?
- Feel more energized and refreshed throughout the day because we sleep better at night?
- Feel more joyful because we get to spend more time doing what we love?
- Feel better because the time we have with loved ones is spent in a more meaningful way and we are fully present?
- Make more money?
- Have more time to enjoy the money that we do make?
If you are tired of squandering your time, brainpower and money, and you are ready to regain control of all three, let’s do something about it already. You can choose to get out of information overwhelm and create a plan, a business and a life you love. You don’t have to continue living this way. Contact me today if you want to schedule a conversation to talk about how I may be able to help you.