Anyone who knows me in real life (and that includes those of you who read this blog regularly) knows I hate being busy. There’s no better or more eloquent way to say it. I just hate it. I hate trying to manage multiple projects with multiple deadlines and I hate having a full calendar. Not having enough downtime in my schedule to relax and enjoy life fills me with anxiety, hurts my sleep habits and even affects what I eat/consume. That’s the reason I started this year of slow living experiments, and especially the slow work experiment: because I felt anxious just knowing how busy parts of 2017 were going to be.
You might be surprised then when I tell you how being busy actually helped me this month. Because it was an extremely busy month. Aside from the few months where I was finishing writing the book, editing the book, etc., October felt like one of the busiest months of the year. I had a little bit of anxiety and I didn’t sleep much for the last week of it. My eating/consumption habits were pretty healthy, but every time I felt my anxiety creep back in, I knew I had to make a decision. And that’s exactly what being busy helped me do this month: make decisions.
I know I am not unique in the fact that I like to dream big and hope I can get a lot done in a little amount of time. It’s actually a pretty classic move: assuming we can get a lot done, that is. So, we over-promise, over-commit and fill our calendars with an overwhelming number of deadlines. And then the anxiety, stress, and gloom and doom attitude sets in. If we let this go on and continue to repeat this pattern, we either start resenting our bosses or clients OR we start doing a bad job of everything.
I had some really big and ambitious dreams for what I could accomplish in the last two months of this year. And for what it’s worth, if it was any other year, I do think I could have done it all. But it’s not any other year. In a little over two months, my first book is coming out. (!!!) And because it’s my first book, I had no idea how much work would go into promoting and launching it. So, I had all these deadlines laid out for other projects I wanted to do, and it all looked like it could come together pretty easily. And then my publicist told me I would start doing interviews at the end of October, and my beautiful colour-coded calendar blew up in my face.
That conversation took place a few weeks ago, but I continued to spend most of October thinking I could bring at least one of my new projects to life before the new year. I kept working on it, sent some files to my designer and felt ok about the progress I was making. But I didn’t feel great about it. I knew I could do better, if I had more time. After tracking my hours, I knew I was already working 35-40 (productive) hours/week and my brain couldn’t seem to handle much more. The only way to get more time would’ve been to sleep less, and that’s not better for anyone. So, instead, I had to make some executive decisions.
PS: For anyone who is considering tracking their time, I can’t write a how-to post about that because I just made a scribbly mess in my planner! But here are two posts that might help you: ways to do it + how it helps you.
I could list all the new projects I was going to work on and explain the number of executive decisions I made, but it could all be summed up in one sentence: I decided to do what I already do well, just a little bit better. And since you now know I’m not a huge fan of things like sales funnels, and will always put people over profit, I thought I’d do something a little different. Rather than write content that could try to sell you on these things, I’m going to tell you exactly when they will be available. I know each of these things isn’t for everyone, but they might be for you. So here are the details:
RIGHT NOW: Simple Year 2018 is Open for Early Reg!
When Courtney Carver asked if I wanted to contribute to Simple Year 2016, my first thought was: ME!?!? A group of the minimalism + simple living bloggers I looked up to had come together and created a course that could help people simplify their lives, and I was being invited to join them? I couldn’t believe it. And when I talked to Courtney on the phone for the first time, I honestly felt like I was talking to a celebrity. Two years later, I feel extremely grateful to call her my friend, along with many of the other course contributors. I can also tell you that the lessons in Simple Year have changed my life for the better (particularly the ones on digital + relationships).
I’ve also received some amazing feedback about my content, which I teach every July:
If this feels like a course you’d want to invest in for yourself, early registration is open right now until November 14th at 12pm (noon) EST. It’s $199 USD (less than $17/month) right now, and will go up to $249 USD in January.
NOVEMBER 22: Mindful Budgeting 2018 Planners
I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t going to create 2018 planners. The list of reasons for this was long. I was worried that it would be too much to promote these + the book at the same time. I was worried that some people might confuse the planners with the book, and order it thinking it was going to be a memoir and then be horribly disappointed to have a planner show up at their door instead. (Did my anxiety make these stories up? That’s a topic for another day, lol.) I also couldn’t find a printer in North America who could use double-loop wire binding and make them even more helpful. That didn’t happen in time, so I wasn’t going to create new planners.
When I shared this news with the existing Mindful Budgeting Facebook group, the reaction can only be described as: supportively-disappointed. You were so understanding of my reasons, but also said you didn’t care what it looked like and just wanted a new planner for next year. So, I’m making that for you! It’ll look/feel the same but, with the help and suggestions from current users, I am adding a few new templates that will make it just a little bit better. Thank you for this feedback, friends. It’s another example of why we’re better when we work together.
EARLY DECEMBER: The Year of Less + Book Tour
In a few weeks, I’ll be sharing some exciting news about my book! I would also love to do a mini book tour, but I will need your help to make it happen. If you would be interested in helping me come to your city next year, please stay tuned! This is the project I am most excited about. <3
If it looks like November is going to be another “busy” month, you’re right—in a sense. But by giving myself permission to push my big ideas aside until next year, I am now able to put my time and energy into projects I already do well, just a little bit better. Q4 is always my busiest season, and you guys have come to know that about me. If I was a “smarter” business owner, I would space these things out, so it doesn’t feel like I’m telling you about so many things at the same time. But that’s just not how my business works! I love a new calendar year, and I love working on projects that revolve around a year—and heck, I even wrote a book about a year of my life, haha. So, this is it. It all comes at once, and then we can spend the rest of the year talking about real life. :)
Delaying some of these projects will affect my income and my finances. I had done some projections for how much I could earn in Q4, and those numbers will be much lower than I had expected. But that’s ok right now! I would rather do a few things well and still have time to enjoy life than push myself to reach unrealistic deadlines and goals. I know the work will be better for it, and I will definitely be better for it. So, all-in-all, I feel like this slow living experiment was a HUGE success.
Experiment #8: Slow Work
- track how many hours I work every day (and how many per project) – done!
- set realistic expectations of what I can get done (with timelines) – done!
- explore other creative outlets (this could be fun – stay tuned!) – no time (yet)
- share how I slowly grew my blog (incl. dollars + blog stats) – done!
- share plans for what’s next – done! :)
Thank you for an incredible month, friends! I don’t ever plan on turning this into a blog about blogging/working for yourself, but it was extremely helpful for me to share all of these things with you.