I was standing in a tiny shop in Jerusalem on one of my last days there, surveying the hand-painted pottery on the shelves. I didn’t have gifts for two of my sisters yet so I wanted to get something for them, but I also only had about $300 left in my bank account and no one took credit cards.
I looked each piece over, stood back, carried a few things around with me, put them back, found the same pieces in different patterns, snuck looks at the dinner plates on the wall, and made my own pile, and the behavior continued.
Finally one of my friends, knowing I was struggling to make a decision, said, “okay Emma. If you could get anything in this shop, what would it be?”
I knew without thinking and pointed to the plates hanging on the walls. “I want those.”
“Okay, how many can you get?”
“If I go home with just $50 in my account, I can get 4.” That included getting a couple of gifts for my sisters too.
“Okay, then pick your 4.”
(Yep. Not smart that I flew back across the world with just $50 in my account. Luckily we were in a school group and I knew my friends wouldn’t leave me stranded.)
Once I knew exactly what I wanted most and I knew the limitations of my bank account, I made my decisions in about 5 minutes. And you know what? Those plates are probably my favorite purchase from the trip.
So if you’re anything like me and get really excited about possibilities for growth in your business, it might be hard deciding what to choose or it might be hard to finish one thing before jumping on to the next cool idea, or both.
But when we come to terms with the fact that our time is, in fact, limited (i.e. ever find yourself making a to-do list and instead of scheduling some of the items, you think, “I’ll just squeeze that into extra time somewhere…”? Yeah. That “extra time” doesn’t exist.) then we can allow ourselves to choose what really matters. (My 5-day challenge below REALLY digs into this.)
Look at your schedule for the next few weeks and be realistic about how much time you really have. Then ask yourself what you really want.
1. How much time do I realistically have over the next few weeks or months?
2. What do I want to do most with that 20, 30, 40 hours?
Then you’ll be on your way to spending your time exactly the way you want to for your business and for your life.
The next step is to figure out exactly what strengths you bring to your business and industry (trust me, your biggest strengths go way deeper than your flower drawing/flower arranging/flower capturing skills) and then having a specific planning strategy to actually make your goal happen.
Because once you know what’s easy for you without trying and you capitalize on that in your day-to-day planning, you’ll be able to do things within weeks and months that you thought would take much longer.
And I really want you to see that kind of momentum in your business.
Emma Natter is a business coach and writer. Her work intersects entrepreneurial strategies with the creative process so career hopefuls can find success, impact, fulfillment, and confidence in going their own way.
I’m Emma Natter, a path-to-success paver and art-trained business coach who first shattered her own career expectations by selling out of handmade styling goods from her little NYC apartment. Now as a strategist to thousands of creatives, I teach you to harness your passion so you can do the same.