Do you have a big, bold, scary, secret, wild, bodacious goal you’re trying to tackle? Are the days, weeks and months slipping away and you can’t seem to gain traction?
You need to make it a project. Nobody knows better than I do that mid-career transitions can be time-consuming. And if you’re really unhappy in your current situation, the last thing you need or want is to have your project drag on into infinity. It’s a sure way of driving your goal into the ground.
I called mine The Thursday Project. Having been in my job for several years, I was feeling underutilized, undervalued and under the weather too much of the time. I’d danced around the edges of self-employment a few times in the past and loved it, but “circumstances” (mostly of my own making) kept sending me back to the “9 to 5” hamster wheel. But the minute I was back on the hamster wheel, my stomach would sink. It was just not going to work for me. I realized that I was becoming what a fellow freelancer referred to as “genetically unemployable.” I needed to be the one calling the shots, stretching my muscles, making connections, playing to my strengths, and doing it on a more flexible and life-affirming schedule–come hell and high water!
It all depends on your circumstances. If you have the energy to tackle your project after hours, then go for it. I can’t argue that it can be wiser, at least from a financial perspective, to start your business while you’re still employed. I just couldn’t make it work. From an integrity standpoint, I could not and would not work on my transition project at my day job. And you shouldn’t either, unless you can use your meal break, arrive an hour early or stay an hour late. I also decided that I didn’t want to sacrifice other parts of my life (friends, family, wellness) for an indefinite period of time.
For me, the best strategy was to launch “The Thursday Project”!
In short, I made the decision to to use my vacation time for a few months and work at home every Thursday on my business launch. And I committed to making “business launch” the single item on my Thursday “do” list. Create the web site. Get organized. Flesh out the business and marketing strategy. Create marketing materials. In other words, ready for business on day one.
So, if you have a big goal, even one at your day job, give serious consideration to your own “project” day. When you make it part of your weekly structure, you’re able to plan ahead. You’re able to block off your calendar. You know not to schedule errands or other personal appointments. Keep it focused on your project.
This idea can be used in a multitude of ways. You can even use it with your management team and invite them to create their own project day (or maybe half-day, depending on business and staffing needs). Let’s face it, most days at work are spent in reactive mode. Creating an environment that supports a project day can be the single greatest way to focus your team on strategic thinking and implementation. All it takes is a clear objective and the commitment to carving out the time. Consider it sacred space. Imagine what you might accomplish?
If your heart is set on doing something BIG, why not create your own variation of the Thursday Project? Get creative. Maybe you can negotiate a reduced schedule for a few months or shift your work hours to carve out project time. Maybe you can work from home more frequently and use the hours you’d normally spend on commuting to work on your project. Use the Thursday Project as a writing day. Use it to take classes for a Master’s degree. Use it to research your move to another part of the country.
And, in case you’re wondering, yes, I sacrificed my vacation. And I can say wholeheartedly that it was definitely worth it.
THIS WEEK’S CALL TO ACTION:
Is there something in your life that would benefit from a Project Day? Set a timeline, a start and end date, and get started!