Finding Motivation on Mondays

Photo of a person facing a long road ahead.

Happy Monday, everyone. I’m back from a great weekend at WordCamp Rochester, coupled with a little bit of winery-touring with my husband through the New York Finger Lakes. Now it’s time to sit down and get back to work. But work on what, exactly? When there’s no client work to be done, where is the motivation to begin the week when Monday rolls around?

I’ve previously written on my personal blog how Mondays can be super-hard when you’re a freelancer, but that seems like that goes double for when the client projects are on the thin side. Since rolling off The Big Project which consumed most of my professional life for over a year, Taupecat Studios is showing the results of its neglect by me. Several potential projects have been put on hold at the client level, and The Big Project consumed so much of my time that the pipeline has run a bit dry. So this is the perfect opportunity to look inward a bit, and work on internal projects, right?

If only it were that simple.

I’m a person who thrives on stress (although that’s probably not so good on my heart), specifically the stress of meeting deadlines. When client work lulls, as is the case at the moment, it’s hard to find the push that will get me working on the myriad of internal projects I have on my Trello board. I have no shortage of things I could be working on in both the short-term “it would be great if this worked a little more smoothly” sense, and the long-term “this will really help my business succeed for years to come” sense. While internal projects are important, they never seem to be imperative. Yes, they’re vital to my business’ success, but they don’t actively generate revenue in the here-and-now in the same way client work does.

The other problem is there are so many items on my internal projects list, it’s hard to really know which one or ones to focus on. I’ve been watching and attending more WordCamp talks on running a business (this one on Taming the Whirlwind by Nathan Ingram is especially good), and while they’ve fueled a lot of great ideas to act on, it becomes a bit overwhelming at the same time. Where to begin? The quick, low-hanging fruit project that I could knock out in a couple of days, or the long-term one that’s going to take weeks (or months), but have a significant R.O.I. when all is said and done?

And what happens when I finally begin down the road on a particular internal project, and the client work picks up again? In the “feast or famine” cycles since I’ve become a freelancer, the famines never seem to last very long—which is great, don’t get me wrong! But it also means my internal processes end up stagnating in a half-completed state because they’ve had to be put on pause for the latest client projects.

The Roadmap

There is a rough roadmap in place, and a bunch of things I hope to accomplish between now and the end of 2019. Near the top is revamping the agency website, and for that I got some awesome content advice from Bridget Willard she gave me at Pressnomics. From WordCamp Rochester, I got some great ideas for tools and processes that I can implement to increase the value I provide to my clients. And, as always, there’s a wishlist of technical tasks and automation processes that will make my life easier, once I build them, of course.

Photo by unsplash-logoTegan Mierle on Unsplash.

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