Being busy is no excuse to be broke! Everyone knows someone who is always busy but never has any money. Has anyone stopped to ask why?
Why are you broke all the time? It is easy to stay busy with tasks that never affect your bank account. I see this all the time as a Coach. People come in with a list a mile long of tasks that they are working on or have finished and they are so proud of everything on the list, but none of it makes money!
We are going to find 3 ways to know if you have busy but broke syndrome. Then we are going to look at 3 busy but broke breakthroughs.
How Do You Know if You have the “Busy but Broke” Syndrome?
1. Does your bank account reflect a balance on par with the hours you are working?
Since my business is a success-based business most of my clients are excellent planners. One trait planners have is that they try and anticipate and structure their entire business, often spending more time in planning than executing money-making activities.
Some of my clients rearrange and re-plan their schedule because they feel they will have control over all of the details if they are safely in a plan. But if you’ve ever worked with people or technology you know life isn’t like that – some things will just take longer.
If you plan 10 minutes to check your email, it never fails: that’s the day you received 100 new emails to which you need to respond. Now you spend the rest of the day in catch up mode with tasks of low priority so that you can feel like you are accomplishing your to-do list.
This structure looks very important to you, but really it is masking the real things that are stealing your productivity.
2. Do you find yourself searching for every guru’s top tips for productivity?
Every guru has a different but equally awesome way they got to the top – because it fit them. If you spend all of your time reading the latest tips from the latest guru and then re-planning your life around their ideas, you’ll be chasing your tail.
It’s fine to get new ideas, but if you never stick with it long enough to see if anything comes from it, you will simply be busy but broke!
3 Are you always stressed and behind, running from one task to the next without completing anything or making money?
This is also very common. Many people do not have a great way to separate priority in their business put everything in the same box marked “urgent”.
Sometimes this looks like procrastination. Chances are if there is something you are procrastinating you need to look at your mindset around the task, but that’s a topic for another day.
This can also look like Attention Deficit Disorder. If you have A.D.D. you understand the extra time it takes to process your life. Unfortunately, a lot of people claim to struggle with ADD but truthfully they are just poor time managers.
I followed one client through their morning and this is what it looked like for this work at home mom: Boot up computer, remember needing to unload the dishwasher. Unloaded top rack of dishwasher and remembered she needed to return a client email from the previous day. Opened email and noticed a refund not issued properly for a separate client, called to resolve bank issue. Remembered needed to post on social media account and picked up her phone. A friend called and she spoke with that friend for a while. While on the phone realized she needed a specific outfit for the next day and began a load of laundry, then proceeded to put laundry away. While putting laundry away she stepped on the infamous LEGO and set her little one to cleaning his room. While he was cleaning he decided he was hungry so Mom went down to make lunch where she had an email waiting for her from the client from the previous day.
Her morning was running from one crisis to another.
I had her sit down with a Post-It note and every time an item popped into her head she wrote it down. She came up with 32 other items she needed to complete right now. 32! And the one deadline she had that day that was non-negotiable wasn’t even on the list. At the end of her morning, she was busy but hadn’t gotten anything real done.
Now: 3 ways to break the cycle of Busy but Broke!
1. Like the stay-at-home mom I observed, I’d like you to go get a Post-It note pad. Go ahead and create two Post-It notes: one titled “Due Today” and one titled “Do When Time Allows.
As you go about your work, write down each distraction or the new idea on one of the two notes. Only allow tasks or expectations with looming deadlines to make it to the shortlist for today.
Guard this closely! If you need help saying “No”, read my recent post here then come back.
2. If you’re an expert on every guru’s advice ever written, pick one tip and implement only that one! Do it consistently for a period of time.
To know if something is productive you have to be able to isolate the data based on one change. That means you have to stick with it! I mean it too. It takes 21 days to make a habit and you should allow a reasonable amount of time to pass to know if the tip is working.
Hint: It might take longer than 21 days.
Do not change something that was working for you because you now want to achieve the same goal just like your new mentor did for their success. Your success is your journey, not theirs!
I see this all the time as well, clients who read a new book and feel they need to adjust their business plan to this style of leadership, business or success. All depending on the book’s focus, and they can lose hours or even days adjusting and editing what is already working. Take note if you see yourself doing this!
Often we fix what we feel is easy to adjust, like our schedules in order to avoid changing what is harder to change, like a habit, mindset, or limitation.
One of the ways I help clients overcome this exactly is through mastermind groups. Having someone else who sees your business activity and overcomes the areas in your blindspot. Read more about Masterminds here! Do not waste 5 years going in circles when you could be part of a group that builds you and keeps you accountable to your greatness!
3. This is the most brutal but the most effective tip, and the shortest. Do what makes you money first then fill in the rest of your schedule.
If you’re struggling with being busy but broke, you’re not alone! I see it all the time in my coaching practice. Fortunately, there are actionable ways to solve the problem.
Know yourself. If you like to follow everyone’s advice limit the amount of advice you are ingesting. Make sure you are being strategic that the advice you are following is aligned with where your business is headed and it makes you money. Do not take your advice from broke and busted individuals.
Seek out situations where you have authentic, transparent relationships with other business people who are committed to growing their business and making money. If you are leaving excuses and time wasters behind get involved with a mastermind group to amplify your growth.
We have Masterminds starting soon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!