Dropping the Bomb
This morning, a client said to me, “I was doing my PERFECT WEEK as you recommended, and I realized, if I do all the things I’ve committed to doing, the only time I’ll see my kids all week will be two hours on Sunday!” She shook her head, a little frustrated.
She paused a second, and then she dropped the bigger bomb. “And… if I don’t get a handle on all the volunteer jobs I’m doing, I’ll never have the time to do the paying jobs I need to grow my business and take care of my family the way I want to.”
There it was. The conflicts I’d suspected were lurking in the background were forced to the surface in a 15-minute exercise called the PERFECT WEEK. She now has marching orders for next week. Get rid of the volunteer work that’s taking the most from her and giving the least back to her family.
Bomb Number Two
Two hours later, I was with another new client, also working our way through her PERFECT WEEK. She hired me to help her reorganize, brand, and market two businesses she’s been coaxing along at hobby-plus level for the past couple years. I asked her to bring to the meeting a list of her regular commitments as well as any events (like vacations, moving, big celebrations) that are coming up for the next 6 months. What I discovered — in addition to being a delightful, intuitive artist, she’s a pretty typical mom – head chauffeur, kids with lots of activities, makes dinner for 4 every night, picks up dad from BART (Bay Area subway), and is involved in 6 or 7 community or art groups of her own!
She doesn’t keep a written calendar. I mean, who could even scribble a schedule when every minute is busy getting ready for the minute after it? Writing commitments down would force you to face that your life is on overwhelm. And, on overwhelm, indeed, it is. Working through the exercise proved to be a very emotional experience. There were some tears and some anger. But there was also clarity and a sense of purpose about making change.
Dealing with the Pain
Writing down your PERFECT WEEK means acknowledging all the commitments that stand between you and your dream. It forces you to prioritize, which can be painful. It means saying no to people who’ve become dependent on you – right or wrong. It means putting the things you want the most to the forefront, and that sometimes means that other people don’t get what they want.
Make It Work
So, we did what real life people have to do: start where she is with what is available to her.
After really scrubbing her PERFECT WEEK for quality time, we found two mornings that she can be at home alone for 5-hour blocks of time and 100% devoted to the business of her business. Then we blocked 2 to 3 rotating shorter periods of time during the week.
Then we decided to adjust goals accordingly. Instead of pushing both her projects off the ground at the same time, she will box one away for future discussions – literally, “box it away.” She has to get it out of sight.
Then for the other – the more lucrative and closer to her heart – we are developing a strategy for her to kickstart it into moneymaking mode. She has all the resources for a great website in printable documents on her computer – a bio, a resume, an artist statement. She has photos of most of her art. She just needs to organize an inventory list, put the photos in one place, and firm up the pricing.
The good part of being so busy? She knows LOTS of people! She was able to put together a database of nearly 200 people – full contact info! Now they just need to know what she’s doing… which they will in just a few short, PERFECT WEEKS!
If you’d like to do the exercise of creating your PERFECT WEEK, go for it! Here’s the link!