To be a successful freelancer requires the ability to quickly switch from big picture to the tiniest detail and back again in an instant. One needs to be able to hold simultaneous views of the task and how the task fits into a larger context. Fast user switching for the mind, if you will.
This is very hard.
In his latest book eMyth Mastery Michael Gerber describes steps and practices to help you learn to work _on_ your business instead of just _in_ it.
Working _on_ your business means going beyond the day-to-day tasks of keeping your freelance practice running into building a business with value unto itself. It’s leadership, marketing, finance and more. It’s the difference between working every day at the grind and selling your company for ten million dollars.
h2. Marco and Micro
As a freelancer, macro is hard for two reason:
* micro pays the bills
* it’s difficult to mentally switch focal length
There are only so many hours in the day, and short of taking speed, I’m not going to be sitting at my desk for more than I already do. Micro work – in my case designing and building web sites – pays the bills. There are lots, and lots of bills. Luckily, there’s also lots and lots of work (knocking on wood as I type this).
As it happens I really enjoy big picture planning. I’m goal oriented, and I need to know where I’m going otherwise I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I like strategizing and working on systems, and generally building a business that can run without my direct involvement. In fact, were my fairy godmother to ever grant me a wish, it would be to work on the big picture full time. I’m not counting on her though, so I’m building a framework that will allow me to achieve my goal over time and hard work.
Which is why I’m thinking about how *hard* it is to switch from macro to micro.
Like many of you, I’m a rabid fan of “43folders”:http://www.43folders.com. “to-done”:http://www.todone.com and the like. They’ve helped me realize my lust for the tools and methodologies of productivity. What they haven’t done is give me the tools I need to easily switch from global to local; to actually *maximize my effort.*
I have a difficult time keeping my finger on the page in one book while working in the other. Get me in design mode, and strategy takes a back seat and shuts up. In planning mode I find it difficult to yank myself back down to the reality of, you know, work.
My current strategy involves sticking a note on my monitor that reads “How have you made money today?”. This no-so subtle reminder to myself to pull my head from the clouds and meet my targets is surprisingly effective. I know there must be some other ways of balancing planning and executing. I’d like to know what you do?
Do you set specific time aside? Do you have “meetings” with yourself? Have you split the responsibilities up with a partner?