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Living in a tug of war

tug of warLately I’ve been in a bit of a tug of war: I’m trying to figure out (and win) the balance client work (which pays the bills now) and Phil work (which will pay the bills down the road). I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with Phil work, and I’ve been putting all my energy behind what needs to be done RIGHT NOW.

I am not complaining even a little bit that my dance card is full enough that I can spend nearly 40 hours a week doing client work. It’s a fantastic position to be in. But I know it won’t be forever, and the time to build something that will get me work 6 months from now is now – not six months from now.

Not sure I have any unique insights into how to fix this, but the realization of where my business is has helped me slow down a teensy bit, so I can build something that will bear fruit in the  future.

Here’s how I see the steps for this problem for my small business:

Step 1: Awareness of the problem

Step 2: Admission of the problem

Step 2.5: Carve out some time to do something about the problem. This is the HARDEST step in my opinion.

Step 3: Do something about the problem

Step 4: Continue doing something about the problem

Step 5: Problem eliminated, on to the next.

So I just completed step 2.5. I’m working on Steps 3-5.

YOUR TURN: What about you? How do you deal with the tug of war between your work and your client’s work? I’d love to hear if this is a problem for you, and what your tips are on handling this.

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15 Responses to Living in a tug of war

  • I agree that 2.5 is the hardest step. That can be pushed aside so quickly when other things (bill payers) jump in the way. I’m honestly hovering at about step 1.5 myself!

  • I’m stuck on 2.5 and 3 all of the time. We’ll get there!

  • Hi Phil, I think you skipped something. IMO, three should be figure out what to do about the problem, which would make do it number 4. I say this because I’m an oddball in that I find 1, 2 and even 3 easy and get hung up on doing it.

    One thing I’ve found in the folks I coach is that very few really know where their time goes. So even though it’s an old approach I recommend a detailed time diary for a month. Detailed meaning specifics as opposed to “3 hours for ABC” and “4.5 hours for XYZ.” (You would be surprised at what else was going on during those times:) The reason for a month is that in general people clean up their act if it’s only for a few days, but over a month all the normal “other” stuff creeps in.

  • Add single Mom and three kids to the mix and 2.5 is the fire that lights your way. The way I solve this is not pondering on the problem and exposing myself boldly to opportunities that yield long term smell. I never stop. Weekends have no meaning. But FUN is incorporated in everything I do just in case I never make it. At least I can say I lived! :)

  • This exact problem is killing me too. I am doing zero business development work. Like you, I’m grateful for a full plate, but I also realize that business development is a good investment in the future. Honestly, I enjoy the daily work much more than business development which is the main reason I avoid it. I’ve allocated some time to business development this week and it basically confirms that I hate it. : )

    • Mark – I actually LOVE business development work. I love to be out there, making connections, talking to people about how I can help them. I just get stuck not doing it. Maybe we can collaborate? :)

    • Mark,
      You are not alone! From your site, it looks like you are a marketer – use your great marketing skills to attract potential clients and then business development is nothing more than a conversation to clarify what help they need and how you can help them.

  • Interesting topic. I find myself in the exact same position with my business. The challenge to balance the future with the present.

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