A few weeks ago I was testing a mind mapping tool and thought it would be fun to map out my work life. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to lay it all out and see how many projects I was currently involved with.(not familiar with mind maps – check wikipedia’s page on them).
After about 15 minutes I had mapped it all out and was shocked to see just how many projects I’ve currently got ‘on the go’.
I stopped counting at about 40 projects (and have since remembered and started a couple more).
The 40 projects included 20 or so active blogs, six figure blogging, b5 media (which currently has a further 15 blogs – and some more coming soon – which I didn’t include in the total), a couple of ‘real life’ projects (did I ever mention that I lead a church in my spare time?) as well as a handful of blogging related other things that I’m working on but which I’m not yet able to talk publicly about.
As I stared at the mind map a couple of things struck me:
- It’s been a very big year – I’m sure if I did this same exercise at this point last year the number of projects would have been about a third (if that) of what they currently are. I’m amazed by the progress.
- The opportunities are amazing – It seems every day I open my inbox or turn on my IM and find someone presenting me with an opportunity with great potential. Sometimes I find myself giggling like a school kid at the idea that people would want to work with me – I really feel unworthy of so many of the approaches I get.
- I’m busy - As I constructed the mindmap I suddenly realized that I’m pretty busy. This might seem like a pretty obvious statement – but it is amazing how busyness can creep up on you. To be honest I’ve always considered myself as a bit of a lazy person so the conclusion that I’m busy and achieving so much with my time is something of an epiphany!
- No wonder I’m so tired – Again – a pretty obvious realization to come to – but something about the tangled web made me realize why I fall asleep while watching movies with friends, why I can’t seem to remember anything my wife tells me to do and why I always seem to be dreaming of my next holiday.
- Too many balls in the air – The conclusion I came to was that I currently have a few too many balls on the air to be doing all the juggling myself.
Since the night I did the mind map I’ve made a number of changes in my work life. I’ve finished up one offline project (I didn’t quit – I just completed it), I’ve added a new author to one of my blogs and I’ve started using the word ‘No’ a little more.
Some of you have experienced this already first hand when you’ve approached me to do some work for you. With the growth in traffic on this site I’ve had increasing numbers of people asking for advice (most of it free advice). While I’ve always tried to be generous with my time in this regard – the past month has been one where I’ve had up to 20 or 30 requests like this per day.
As a result I’ve removed the ‘Hire Me’ link from the menu at the top of this blog and have updated the page that it linked to (and my contact page) to advise that I won’t be taking on new consulting work (paid or otherwise) – at least in the short term. I’m working on some new ways to help people more individually – but don’t see this as happening in the short term.
I’ve also decided to shut off that part of my brain that comes up with ideas for a month or so. I know many of you are like me in this regard – you have so many ideas that you want to try – but sometimes the ideas get in the way of implementing the things you currently do.
I’ll continue to dream and explore ideas – but for at least the next couple of months I’m planning to concentrate on the projects at hand.
I’m really excited about the future, both here at ProBlogger.net as well as the many other things that occupy my mind – but I thought it might be useful to share some of my thought processes here – both as a bit of therapy for me – but also hopefully because I suspect they’ll connect with others on the same journey.