PP 049: Digging Shallow Holes with Plastic Spoons
Have you started more projects than you can count only to have finished a couple? If so, this episode is for you!
Welcome back to Positive Productivity! I’m so thrilled to have you listening today. Today, I am going to be embarrassingly transparent, and I’m going to be talking to you about digging thousands of shallow holes with plastic spoons.
Now, I know this could sound pretty crazy, but what I’m actually referring to is all the little holes that we start digging – and those holes represent projects that we start – and then we never finish them.
In an earlier episode, I talk about the fact that I have Chronic Idea Disorder. If you haven’t listened to that episode, Chronic Idea Disorder is an overabundance of entrepreneurial ideas – which are hitting me constantly. (I’m actually wrapping up my book, “Chronic Idea Disorder”, and I’m hoping to have it published in 2017.) However, I’ve realized in my years as an entrepreneur that I have a tremendous track record of actually successfully starting projects and never finishing them.
As we go about our day-to-day operations in our business, it is so easy to get distracted by everything that everybody else is doing in their own businesses. And when we get distracted, we could be excited by the success that they’re having, we may decide to completely rework something that we were working on because we want to have the success be more in-line with theirs. And these distractions lead to us getting off-course – sometimes even completely off-course – and starting something new.
I can’t even tell you how many online courses and online programs and products I have tried to develop in the last three years alone. Actually, if I’m going to be totally honest with you – in the last two years, it would probably take more than all my fingers and toes to count all the different products that I dreamed of, that I’ve started even just a little bit, and even just looking a little bit deeper at the number of domains I’ve purchased. It’s ridiculous!
Not getting our Chronic Idea Disorder under control – and staying focused on our “Why” and what we want to be working on right now – can not only lead to a big loss of income, but it can also lead to a loss of profit because we’re spending money on resources that we really didn’t need to be in the first place. And it’s leading to a tremendous loss in time.
To give you one example, I was inspired by some well-known experts out there to create a course focusing on how to use different social media platforms successfully. Between you and me, I am not qualified to build a course that encompasses all social media platforms. Heck, I don’t even know how to use most of them myself as well as I want to. But because I saw the success that other people were having, I decided I wanted to start digging that hole and do it myself.
I spent two weeks recording video for my Facebook portion, and I was getting so frustrated – you could hear in my videos that I was not enthused about what I was teaching. And I actually had to delete them, because when I was listening to them, it sounded like the teacher from Ferris Bueller – the one who’s really boring. “Bueller. Bueller.” Nobody wants to listen to that – and I hope that when you’re listening to the Positive Productivity Podcast, that is not the impression that you’re getting from me. This is where I am very passionate, and I hope that always comes across.
(Now I’m just going to say right now: I would love your feedback on that, so please go visit the show notes at TheKimSutton.com/PP049 and let me know how you think I’m doing. Or, you can head over to iTunes, or Stitcher, or iHeartRadio and leave a review – which would be so appreciated.)
Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programming.
I spent two weeks recording these Facebook videos, and I got so frustrated. And just as soon as I thought I was done with the Facebook portion, Facebook changed everything – and everything I had recorded was no longer valid.
Now, this was actually a blessing for me, because I realized when that happened that this was not what I wanted to be doing in the first place. I had no desire to begin again, and I ditched that project. But had I looked at it from the very beginning, I would have realized that it really wasn’t in my wheelhouse to begin with.
When you’re looking at your goals for the next 30 days, the next 90 days, and maybe even this year, it’s really important that we tackle each day one day at a time and work on the activities which are most conducive to meeting those goals. I’ve personally cut back on quite a bit of my social media time because I was finding that it was so easy to be distracted. And my inbox has gotten a lot lighter because I’ve also unsubscribed from so many newsletters – just so I don’t get caught up in Shiny Object Syndrome for items I don’t need.
This year, I am committed to not digging any more shallow holes. I don’t want to have a whole bunch of broken spoons and broken spirit here on my desk, and I am digging a deep, deep hole with my imaginary backhoe.
And if you want to join me, here are a few steps that I recommend you follow.
Each time you get an idea, I want you to ask yourself, “Is this idea in-line with my ‘Why’?” If you’re not quite clear on what your “Why” is, you can visit my coaching page at TheKimSutton.com/Coaching, and I’ll be happy to help you work that out. If the idea isn’t in-line with your “Why”, then I encourage you to put it in the bucket and wait until later.
If it is in-line with your “Why”, then I want you to ask yourself, “Is this something that I should be doing today or tomorrow in order to help me reach my most immediate goal?” If it’s not, then start a second bucket and save it for a little bit later. It doesn’t need to be discarded completely, but it definitely doesn’t need to be addressed today.
The third question to ask is, “Am I the one who needs to be doing this activity?” I have personally gotten caught up with doing so much for my business that I really didn’t need to be doing myself. I have wasted so much time – and in the end, money – trying to work on tasks which were not in my field of expertise. These included customer support, website design and development, graphic design – and the list could go on and on.
So when any one of these ideas comes up, ask yourself: Should you be the one to be doing that activity? I know you may be thinking that you’re not really in a place to outsource any of your activities, but there’s websites out there – and I’ll include a list in the show notes – where you can find very reasonably-priced contractors to help you within your business.
And to back that up, I also want you to think about this: If your billable rate is, for example, $50 to $100, and you don’t think that you can afford a WordPress assistant, I want you to think again. Because you could go to Upwork.com and easily find somebody who is very knowledgeable in WordPress who could help you in the range of $8 to $20 an hour. So while you are working with your clients or customers, you could still be profiting $30 an hour while there is somebody else getting work done for you.
The same could be true for graphic design, virtual assistants, and the list goes on and on. Save yourself a whole lot of headaches by delegating whatever you can.
So now that we know that the idea is something that is in-line with your “Why”, that it is going to help you reach your immediate goal, and that it’s something that you need to be doing right now… I want you to compare it to the other tasks that you are working on. By nature, we as humans have a tendency to multitask, and this is definitely not anything that is helping us out. In his 90-Day Year program, Todd Herman gave a statistic that said something like: When you go from doing one activity at a time to two activities at a time, you are decreasing your efficiency from 100% down to 80%.
Now, I want you to think about what that 20% would actually mean. There’s a lot of lost income and time if you can focus on just one activity and idea at a time. So get that one idea done, and then move on to the one which is most important.
If you’re committed to digging a deep hole with me this year – and ending your track history of digging a lot of shallow holes with plastic spoons – let me know. I’d love your feedback: What are you doing to help keep yourself in-line and keep focused?
And you can leave those comments at TheKimSutton.com/PP049. Until the next episode, I hope you have a positive and productive day.