This may sound like stating the blindingly obvious, but one of the hardest things about working solo is the freedom. I don’t mean freedom in terms of time, or who I get to work with - all that is great and a huge improvement on corporate life.
I mean the freedom to to choose what to focus my time and energy on.
Everywhere I look at the moment there seems to be opportunity - exciting things going on that I’d love to learn more about and get involved in. People pushing boundaries who I’d love to work with and learn from.
What kind of problem is this you ask!? I was desperate to have these choices a couple of years ago, and everyday I’m grateful that I decided on this path.
At the moment though, I find myself paralysed by choice, and struggling to decide how best to use the time I have when not working with clients.
As a result recently my productivity has plummeted, and I can sense my frustration growing, a nagging feeling that I’m not making the best of use of this freedom and the opportunity it represents.
If I was coaching someone who came to me with this question, my advice would be to simplify matters by accepting that you can’t do everything you may want, or be everything you want to be, all at the same time. Accept this, decide what’s most important now, and focus on that. Otherwise you run the risk of vacillating between projects, achieving little but being very busy.
In his book “Good to Great” author Jim Collins explained this behaviour as the doom loop versus the flywheel. Organisations that keep changing direction are less likely to succeed over the long-term as they fail to build momentum in any one direction long enough to achieve what’s possible before they have changed direction and focus - the doom loop. By contrast the company that consistently pursues the same aim can use the momentum generated to achieve great things and long-term success - the flywheel.
The same model can, of course, be applied to individuals.
So there’s my answer. Pick something - anything - and stick with it long enough to get traction and find out if the right direction for me.
Time to simplify.