Look, I was trying to come up with a clever opening for this post–but it’s just not coming to me.
And the reason why is the subject of this post, so I decided not to push it.
I’m full up. Overcapacity. At my limit.
My guess is that you are too.
The demands on our personal capacity–time, energy, mental clarity–just keep piling up.
Your kids are home. Your partner is working from home for the first time. You’re cooking dinner every night. Your clients need a little extra help or reassurance.
On top of that, there are the headlines. The worries. The new ideas. The questions. All the free stuff people want to share with you.
And then there are your own emotions. There’s the internal churning that seems to take up more and more of your capacity every day.
It makes it hard to do business.
Yet, here we are. We’re doing it.
So let’s look at some ways we might be able to ease up, find some capacity, and give ourselves some slack–which you’ll either use to rest or to take your next steps.
First, there are two ways to increase your capacity right now (and always).
There are activities that help you expand your capacity so that, even if nothing really changes in terms of what you have to juggle, you have more power to handle it.
And then there are activities that help you reduce the load so that you can reclaim some of your base operating capacity.
To expand your capacity beyond its base levels, you can meditate, exercise, sleep, and eat well.
These kinds of activities give us more fuel for dealing with whatever life and business are throwing at us (or what we’re throwing at ourselves!).
I realize that there’s nothing revolutionary about these suggestions but I think they’re worth the reminder. I’m practicing all of them right now–including taking supplements to help with sleep because that’s always the most elusive for me–and it helps.
You can also hire people. You may not have the funds for this right now but some do. And if you do, making a new hire or bumping up the hours of an existing team member to help with a project that’s weighing on you can really expand your capacity.
To reduce the load on your capacity, we have to get into the unsexy stuff.
The first step is to pay really close attention to the work you think you have to do. Audit your own workload. Stop doing stuff that doesn’t really matter, that doesn’t have proven results.
Consider batching your schedule (even if that means you do a “batch” of admin after the kids go to bed so you don’t have to worry about it during your more creative or productive hours). Document your systems and look for ways to make them more efficient. Let technology do more of the heavy lifting.
And if you have the privilege, ask for help at home. Don’t assume responsibilities mindlessly.
Finally, when I find I have a little extra space, I try to ask myself what I could do (or not do) in that moment that would help me feel like I have even more space, more capacity.
Sometimes the answer is yoga. Sometimes it’s to watch a movie. Sometimes it’s a walk with a good podcast. Sometimes it’s getting ahead on work that will need to be done soon but isn’t horribly urgent. Sometimes it’s a glass of boxed wine.
I’m really trying to tune my actions (or inactions) to an abundance of capacity rather than sinking into my stress. I’m not always successful but it’s absolutely helping.
What’s working to expand your capacity or reduce your load right now?
Founder, What Works
MAKING YOUR BRAND PERSONAL
We’re wrapping up our month on branding by looking at the personal side of branding. Not necessarily “personal brands” per se, but instead the inner inspiration behind the brands we build. My guest is Stasia Savasuk and we explore that link between personal style and brand, as well as her personal journey of discovery and growth.
FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR YOU (YES, YOU)
If you’re in the United States, you’ve probably heard that a huge financial relief package was passed by Congress last week. What you might not know is just how much financial relief you yourself might be able to get from this package. For the first time ever, forgivable loans to cover payroll are being made available to small businesses, the self-employed, and independent contractors. (Unemployment is also being extended to the self-employed and contractors, check with your accountant to see which is the best bet for you.) Here are some pretty clear cut guidelines, plus the loan application, for the Payroll Protection Program.
And Kate Strathmann continues to update her collection of financial relief resources, including non-government sources for help.
MAKE CONSCIOUS DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR NEXT STEPS
Cartoonist and creative productivity specialist Jessica Abel has made her book, Growing Gills, available for free on Amazon–and she’s hosting a book club to help you make intentional, thoughtful decisions about how you structure the work ahead of you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or beyond capacity, this will be perfect for you.
GENEROUS ISN’T THE SAME AS FREE
I’ve seen a lot of pushback–anger even–about how many businesses are releasing free books, free courses, and free resources right now. I understand that. And I also understand wanting to generously be of service by offering free help. In my opinion, there isn’t a “right” way here. But there is a better way to navigate whether free is really helping or whether there’s a different course of action that could be more generous. Seth Godin lays it out.
I’ve been listening to podcasts about the crisis as a way of processing my own emotions and finding some catharsis. My usuals are definitely doing the trick–but this new show from Kumail Najiani and Emily V. Gordon is really helping. It’s hilarious, compassionate, genuinely helpful, and just really nice to listen to. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
LAUNCH OR LEVEL UP YOUR PODCAST WITH ME
I’m going to be working with a small group of podcasters in April & May to help them launch or level up a standout podcast. It’s the first group coaching/consulting program we’ve offered at YellowHouse.Media and I’m pretty stoked about it. It’s 8 weeks long with 6 group coaching calls, plus a done-for-you Notion dashboard with videos, interactive workspaces, and an editorial calendar with built-in task management. By the end of the program, you’ll have a complete blueprint for producing a podcast that gets noticed, attracts an audience, and helps you grow your business.