We’ve all been there, when work is so overwhelming that it feels like there’s no time for anything else. We make promises (it’ll be different when this project is done) and we make excuses (this matter needs my full attention and I couldn’t possibly shortchange my client by spending time elsewhere). Especially for reluctant rainmakers, both are the currency of justification.
If making promises and excuses won’t cut it (and for the serious professional, it won’t), what should you make? Allowances. When busy-ness is real (and often in practice it is), determine what business development activity you will commit to while you’re swamped, and then make that happen. It’ll be less than your ordinary level of activity (that’s why it’s an allowance), but you’ll at least hold your own and most likely progress with your plans. Most importantly, you won’t have the pressure of the constant restart.
I read a terrific quote on this point this week from David Maister’s seminal True Professionalism.
If you ever allow “busy” to knock you off course, I recommend that you place this quote where you’ll see it at least daily:
“What you do with your billable time determines your current income but what you do with your non-billable time determines your future.”
Here’s to your present and your future.