“I am too busy to even respond to email!”
“I don’t even have time to interview people for the positions I have!”
“There isn’t enough time in the day!”
How many of you have uttered statements as foolish as the ones above? (Most of you have, I know. That was a trick question.) If you are swamped, overloaded, working 23.5 hours a day or unable to see your family, I am here to tell you that the biggest problem is not the clock, the workload or any other external factor.
The problem is you.
How do I know?
Cause the problem was me.
I fell into the same role mentioned above. I was working over 100 hours a week (and enjoying the work) when I was at Microsoft. I felt that nobody could do my job as well as I could. That arrogance, while well founded (I have to chuckle at myself), is also fool-hearty. Not everything had to be done by me. Some things needed my attention more fully. Knowing the difference was the key and eventually I realized it and worked to become better at delegation.
Herein lies the problem. I forgot how to do that.
Fast forward to when I started Plain Sight Strategy Group; I felt I had nobody to delegate to anymore. I was an army of one, like many of you are right now. Whether it is because you are literally a one person shop or because you feel as the owner of a business that nobody else could possibly care as much and do as well, the problem is still the same.
You cannot do everything. More importantly, if you try to do everything, the things you do accomplish will most likely suffer.
So here I sit with a failing blog and a website with little traffic. I am fortunate as I had business, but as for building my brand, I was failing. That is when I remembered that I could delegate. That is also when I got my intern, Keri.
Keri was a friend first who also happened to be a student. She and I would chat often on topics ranging from work to life, and I regularly enjoyed her blog which is almost all about personal and fun stories. Admittedly, she is also a better writer that I am. I remarked at one point that I was annoyed that she had not updated her blog recently (because as a fan of her work, she clearly owed me!). I suspect that was when I realized that I was the pot calling the kettle black. I also realized that I had this tremendous resource who had time, interest and capability and that I was passing up a great chance to help myself and hopefully help her out as well.
We spoke about an arrangement that worked with her educational pursuits and time constraints and now I have my intern position filled. For this role, my needs were simple:
- Harass me about writing (which is why you are now blessed with weekly posts)
- Help me write (editing and creative brainstorming)
- Assist me with increasing my blog traffic (editor’s note: please leave comments so I don’t get fired. Thanks.)
In return I take time to explain what I do to her. This is a field she would not have had a great deal of access to previously. Because I am able to interact with different companies and situations, Keri is able to hear and learn about what works and what doesn’t, which is a really solid augmentation to her education plan. She is also getting to write a different kind of content as she works with me on my blog and as we work together on the book that is now a year overdue.
I write this blog to start a discussion about our collective inability to properly schedule our activity, but it is also a small case study on how quite often the people who can help us the most are right under our noses. More often then not, they are in need of something that you may have as well. The ‘barter method’ is alive and well and is something that cannot be overlooked (I am sure when she edits this blog she will allude to a future post on this topic, as it is a good one.)
(Editor’s note: you heard the man, tune in next week for thoughts on bartering with business resources.)
So go forth and find some things that you need help with, and here is your million dollar advice: get help with them. Not all things require money, and I assure you that if you are ignoring them now, getting some attention on them is far preferred to letting them die in neglect.
(Editor’s note: working with Derek has indeed taught me a great deal that I suspect I wouldn’t get in a classroom. If you need help with your business, always check the local colleges for internship programs. Internships are often mandatory for certain majors and hard to come by for us students. For the cost of a cup of coffee a day, you could help rehabilitate the students of America suffering from student loans and the ramen noodle diet.)
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