You have the time, what you don’t have are priorities

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When most people say that they don’t have time and that they feel overwhelmed, what they’re really saying is that they don’t have priorities.

And most likely, their freelance business is really complicated and they’re drowning in tons and tons of work.

Everything feels super important and there’s just not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

Sounds familiar?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. 

Change your mindset

We have this hustle culture where we’re proud of only sleeping for four hours, for hustling all day, every day, for getting back to it and kicking butt and never taking a break. But that is so unhealthy and it can send you very quickly on the path to burnout, but also on a path to the hospital. I have seen it happen.

Now, it’s true that there are times in your business you are going to have to hustle. That’s just a fact with running a freelance business, especially if we’re a solo freelancer and we don’t have a team, but you should not be living in a constant state of hustle.

You can and likely will hustle for short periods of time, but then you need to let things calm down, get into a nice flow and continue in that flow until there’s a need to actually hustle again. If you’re in a constant state of hustle, something is wrong, and it’s likely that you’re treating everything as a priority.

NOT everything is a priority, in fact, very few things actually are.

So what is? In order to know you have to…

Create your own definition of success

Now, I know what success looks like to the entrepreneur world, it involves private jets, yachts, Teslas, and red bottom shoes.

Now, if those are actually your goals, that’s what would actually make you happy, that’s great. Just know that you’re not going to find any help on creating that kind of business from me.

What most people that I know want is nothing like that. What they want is a successful business that allows them to stay home with their kids, or travel the world and live comfortably. But they’re not looking to swim through a pile of coins, Scrooge McDuck style. They’re looking for something that will give them a nice life without taking it over.

I want you to think about what you actually want out of your life.

What would your life look like? What would it be like? What would your ideal day and week look like?

And then based on what that definition of success is, one made by you–not by some stranger on the internet who has never met you–but based on what you want, you can plan out how much income you need to make, based on real numbers that would support that lifestyle.

Eliminate what isn’t working in your business

Conduct an audit of your business and cut out everything that does not support your new vision of success.

I think you’re going to find that there are a lot of things that you’re doing that are wasting time or that are not giving a good return on investment, in terms of how much effort and time you’re putting in.

What can be eliminated, automated, delegated, or outsourced?

Elimination is a big one to stop doing things that are not getting results completely. But you can also automate, delegate, or outsource things that need to be done in your business, that just don’t necessarily need to be done by you.

Create boundaries

And while we’re talking about things that aren’t working, let’s talk about putting boundaries in place for our clients.

Because it’s probably not going to fit your lifestyle to be available 24/7 to your clients, and to drag your laptop around everywhere, to have to answer client emails and calls during dinner with your family.

So what boundaries are you going to need to put in place to support the lifestyle that you want?

Focus on what is working

In auditing your business, which tasks are giving you the greatest return on investment for the time that you’re putting in?

How can you make those tasks more of a priority?

Of course, eliminating what isn’t working is going to be the first step, but how can you make sure that you get those high ticket, high value, high impact tasks the proper focus?

Maybe that’s doing them first thing in the morning. Maybe that’s setting aside a day to really focus on those tasks every week.

What can you do to get the most out of those tasks and how can you make those tasks even better?

So if they’re good, if they’re your best ones, but they could still have room for improvement, how can you improve those, so that you get an even greater return on your investment?

Take action

You need to create goals that you can actually achieve and plan out how to get there. Break those goals into smaller steps that you will actually reach.

So for example, if I said that I want to play on stage at a concert for Taylor Swift, I’m going to play the guitar for her, I can’t just pick up a guitar the day of the concert and say I’m going to go do this now, when I don’t know how to play the guitar. So there are a lot of steps that are going to have to happen before that.

First, I’m going to have to learn how to play, and I’m going to have to keep practicing and I’m going to have to get better. And then I’m going to have to pitch her agent and this and that and on and on. Right?

So if that were a real goal of mine, it’s not, because I’m tone deaf, but if that were, I can’t just magically show up the day of the concert and play. I have to back it up and go through all of the steps until I actually get there.

The same thing goes for goals in your business.

If you want to make $100,000 in a year, you need to break down how many products or services you’re going to need to sell to get there.

That means you then have to break down how many you need to sell per month, and then if you know how many sales calls you need to have to close that many sales, you need to get those on there too.

Then, you’re going to have to figure out how to get more people into your business.

Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but when you have a clear path, it’s not. It’s a step by step process that you can follow. And trust me, booking out your business is a lot more achievable than playing the guitar for Taylor Swift in concert.

Conduct regular business audits

I recommend that you do one now to see where your business currently is and what needs improvement and what you can eliminate. But you should be doing these regularly. You should be doing them every six months or once a year, to ensure that you are still focusing on the right things that are moving your business forward and creating the life you want.

Tl;dr:

You have the time. You need to prioritize. You need to focus on the tasks that are actually giving you a return on investment, and get rid of things that are not.

And again, change that mindset. Figure out what your definition of success is and don’t worry about other people and what they think you need to be doing.

If you need help with this, you’ll love my program, Simplify, where we go in-depth into simplifying your business by creating priorities that support the business and life we want. Go to erinflynn.com/simplify to learn more!

About Erin Flynn

Erin Flynn is the founder of Successfully Simple™, a hub for creative entrepreneurs who want to work less and live more. Erin’s mission is to help female creative entrepreneurs ditch the busywork and redesign their businesses around what success means to them. Find her on Instagram @SuccessfullySimple