The month of July was a marathon. I hustled, worked nights, weekends and had made so much progress in the plan I had laid out for the summer. In my mind, that work was complete, and I was ready to move forward with new initiatives for the end of the year. In reality, I still had many loose ends to tie up with current projects before I could do so.
I felt like I was being pulled in three different directions: forward, backward, and toward my couch. Ultimately, I gave into the fact that I just needed to hit the breaks. This week was not one that Gary Vee would be proud of, but I know that for me, slowing down doesn’t mean stopping. Sometimes you just need to get off of the road to fill up that tank, even if you only have a mile to go.
Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here’s a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones.
Monday, July 31
I got off to an early start on Monday, but my first order of business was taking care of a few personal tasks that I had neglected for too long, like sending out thank you notes and (belated) birthday gifts.
Once those were off of my plate, I sent out follow up emails to the bloggers I reached out to a couple of weeks ago, in hopes that they’d be on board to become influencers for the Enchanting Mondays Library. Unfortunately, the initial round of emails was unsuccessful in that I only heard back from one of the twenty-five on my list. I’ve got another follow-up idea in my back pocket, in case email two doesn’t do the trick. Persistence is not my forte, but I’m not getting discouraged yet!
Next up was sending another round of emails— this time to interviewees for the Expert Advice section on this blog. Luckily, my initial emails to these creative professionals were met with a much better response, even from those who I don’t know well. I wrote and sent interview questions to my list of experts, and am so excited to share their stories with you in the coming months.
I switched into art mode in the afternoon and designed new Enchanting Mondays printables for the month of August. It felt great to be able to relax and do what comes most naturally to me. I even allowed myself to indulge in a little tv binge. An afternoon of Mad Men and graphic design? On days like this, I am reminded of how truly awesome this “job” is.
Tuesday, August 1st
Tuesday called for a visit to the coffee shop. My mission: to get this Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur video created. The latte was great, but the wifi left much to be desired. Since I was unable to quickly transfer the video footage from my phone to my laptop over their network, I abandoned that plan and got to work on writing the accompanying blog post.
When I returned home, I took a small break to go through my email inbox. I shared my new email strategy last week, but I feel it is worth mentioning again because it has really been helping me. First, I want to preface this by saying that I don’t keep my inbox open during the day, and I don’t get alerts on my phone (the same goes for social media). I get distracted way too easily and find that this is a good way to reduce that noise. I choose one time during the day to process everything all at once.
In the past, I’ve tended to overthink my responses, only to leave messages sitting, unanswered while I pondered the perfect thing to say. In some cases, this is necessary, but most of the time, I’m going to guess that the recipient would prefer a timely response over an impeccably written one.
Now, I try my best to answer everything, with a short, but thoughtful response. It’s not just that I don’t have time to return every message with a novel, but the person on the other end likely won’t have time to read it.
With my inbox cleared, my mind felt more focused, and I was able to hop back into working on creating that Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur video. Since I felt a little bit more comfortable in Adobe Premiere Pro, I played around with adding more features to make the video better, such as transitions, and even figured out a way to improve the audio.
That familiarity wasn’t enough to make the editing process any faster, and once again, I found myself working into the evening to complete it. I understand that video editing is a time commitment, even for professionals, but it still left me feeling a little bit frustrated, which didn’t make for the best Wednesday morning.
Wednesday, August 2nd
I experienced a dose of déjà vu as I started the morning feeling the same as a week ago: exhausted and annoyed that this video process was still not done. While the mp4 file uploaded to YouTube, I worked on completing the accompanying blog post.
As I wrote, I reflected on the fact that when I first started the Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur series earlier this year, that the writing was a real struggle for me. Like anything, with practice, it became easier, and now that I have video editing to compare it to, I find it to be the most effortless part of the process. A good reminder to be patient and know that mastery doesn’t come without practice.
Once the Diary was completed and published, I turned my attention toward a task that required far less brain power: resizing all of my Enchanting Mondays designs for the month of August and creating the artwork for blog posts and promotions. It felt like it was an afternoon that I should have just taken off completely, but I’m glad I used the little bit of energy that I had left, to be productive.
Thursday, August 3rd
Since the initiatives I had scheduled for the summer were winding down, it was time to formulate a new plan for upcoming months. I headed back to the same coffee shop I worked from on Tuesday, for a date with my calendar and notebook. I greatly regretted my decision to choose cereal over a homemade scone during my previous visit and made sure to choose wisely this time.
While I had thought I’d be able to make a grand plan of attack, I felt my brain going in a million directions, and I realized that I still had a lot of unfinished tasks and loose ends that needed to be addressed before I moved forward with anything new. Instead, I used my time there to empty my brain completely into my notebook, where I scribbled down every small task that popped into my head.
This exercise was a reality check. I still had a ton to do and was not ready to move on to new initiatives, despite the fact that my mind was already sprinting in that direction.
I have to admit; I ended Thursday on kind of a weird note. My list of tasks felt daunting, and I was feeling burnt out from the marathon that was the month of July. My brain wanted the space to dream about what was coming up next, but those looming tasks were preventing me from thinking clearly.
Friday, August 4th
I was planning to work on Friday, despite the fact that Mr. MHD had the day off, but everything was telling me to take a breather.
We ended up having the most awesome day together, exploring our city of Jacksonville, and visiting some favorite places. I didn’t give much thought to that list in my notebook or projecting what the next few months would bring.
Hitting that pause button was exactly what I needed to reset and recharge. I know that I’ll be heading into next week with a clear mind and much more energy to tackle all that’s left to do and all that’s to come.
Lesson of the week:
Just because the finish line is in sight doesn’t make it any easier to cross. Decide what you need to keep going and finish strong, even if that means taking a breather.
What I’m reading:
Will it Fly?, by Pat Flynn
What I’m watching:
Mad Men, Season 1 (re-watching and re-appreciating what a masterpiece this show is)
How to Get Away with Murder, Season 1
What I’m listening to:
Nothing notable to mention. I did more work in front of the tv this week than I typically do, which replaced the audio that I’m usually plugged into.
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