You Are Fully Booked, Whether You Realize It Or Not


“I think I just sold every available waking hour that I have, for the foreseeable future,” said the Consultant, sighing wearily at having his prayer answered perhaps a bit too well.

What he didn’t realize was that, on a certain level, there was nothing new or different about this state of affairs for him, or anyone else.

As the fiscal year end fast approaches, I hear more and more people talking about how jammed their schedules are.  They say things like, “I’ve got such-and-such to do before end of <insert applicable fiscal year end date>.”  As a person with clients who use May or June as their budget year end date, I feel their pain/pleasure.  This is a good-problem-to-have for professional service providers:  Getting fully booked, well into the after-hours, for your time.

It’s good because it means a steady stream of (hopefully) rewarding work.

It’s a problem because there’s more to life than work.

Also, even if you’re the kind of person whose whose life and work are heavily blended together, in order to maintain your productive edge (and health… and soul), you need a non-productive, creative space to explore, reflect, grow, “sharpen your saw,” and make room for unexpected opportunities.

Here’s the thing:  In a way we are all caught in the above-described Consultant’s condition, no matter what job title we give ourselves, and no matter how “busy” our “work” is. Our future hours have already been “sold.” Those hours are going to take place at their normal pace no matter what we do,* so the thing to do is figure out how happy we are with the current pricing and cancellation terms that we’ve tacitly agreed to.

(* NOTE: This statement assumes the subject continues to live within the confines of a single space-time continuum, with a margin of error allowing for creative hacking of the International Dateline and caffeine-induced time dilation effects.)

  • How much are you getting paid for your time, and in what forms of currency?
  • What is the scope of work and quality criteria that you are committing to?
  • What are the likelihoods and consequences for any changes, deviations or cancellations to the current version of the plan?

Depending on how you’re feeling about the terms of your contract, you can start re-negotiating with the Client… and yes, you probably figured it out already:  In this sales agreement, you’re not only the Client, but the Consultant President.  

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on May 2, 2014, in Business, Career, Learning, Life, Metaphors, Productivity, Project Management, Risk Management, Sales and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I feel rather honoured to be sought out, on an increasingly frequent basis, by former colleagues and friends looking to ‘go solo’ with regards their work/career. The number one piece of advice I deliver is ‘treat yourself like a business.’ It can be a slippery slope to overload when you don’t — great work Dan (the Man).

  1. Pingback: Making the most of your MTA (Money, Time & Attention) | Dan Spira

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