When Do You Choose to Continue or Stop?

As I write this, we're in the midst of uncertainty about the 2020 election. Have no fear. This newsletter is personal, not about the election. (Yes, I thought I should say that up front!)

I continue to experiment with all kinds of things. This month, I'm experimenting with a different way to run my writing workshops. I'm also rethinking the eventual workshops for the Modern Management books. And, I continue to manage my out-of-the-house excursions. I became a grandmother this past month (!), so I'm learning how to whisper all kinds of things to a new baby.

Because I want to add more workshops, I need to think about what to stop doing. I can't do what I've done before and add these workshops. I need to choose what to continue and what to stop.

I'm having a little trouble.

I want to do it all. And, you probably know I wrote Manage Your Project Portfolio. If I want to take on new and different work, I need to stop some of what I currently do.

You know me, I started to ask myself questions. I'm now using this set of questions as continuums to see how I feel about the various work:

  1. How much does the work excite me? How much do I dread the work?
  2. How much will I benefit from this work? How much will my colleagues/clients/other people benefit from this work?
  3. How does this work affect my money? Do I think I can monetize this work at some point? Or, will this work cost me time and money?

Here's how I use these questions.

How Much Excitement or Dread Do I Feel?

I continue to work on things that excite me. I might need to change how I offer that work, but I need to feel the excitement. I'm doing that now with the writing workshops. 

Between excitement and dread is ho-hum. If I can't think of a way to become excited about the work, I need to transform it or stop it. And, if I dread the work? Definitely time to stop it.

What about this potential transformation of the work? I enjoy teaching writing. I always learn when I teach. And, it takes me a ton of time to facilitate these writing workshops. How could I make this more of a win/win for the students and for me? 

I experimented and I'm happy with the experiment. Of course, now I realize I need to change the workshop for the next time. I'm planning on time around Thanksgiving to do that work.

Who Benefits from the Work?

I often think of benefits as learning. (You noticed I separated the monetization from the benefits.) If I can't learn from the work, I don't do it. I learn every time I write something. I often learn when I speak because I'm such an extrovert. (I need to speak to know what I think. Writing helps me, but speaking makes it even more real.)

And, I want the people I work with to benefit from this, also. Earlier this year, I agreed to be on a program team for a small conference. I knew I would have fun working with the other people on the program team. I expected to learn from them, and I did. I also learned more than I expected about the politics of a small organization.

We were disappointed to have to cancel the conference due to the pandemic. But, all of us benefited in various ways.

How Will Continuing or Stopping this Work Affect My Money?

I don't make all decisions based on making money now. However, as a self-employed person, I do watch my cashflow. I can't volunteer for everything because I won't have time to do it and to do my work.

I invest in my future self. I take workshops. I buy books and read them. I practice my fiction writing so I can become a successful fiction writer at some point.

And, I also consider how much this work will cost me. I volunteer in many ways. I give talks at meetups. I do limit my advice-giving, but I respond to everyone who sends me an email. (I suspect there's more, but I can't remember.)

Develop Your Questions

You might not like these questions, but they help me decide when to continue and when to stop. I want to make conscious decisions, decisions that continue to fit for me.

I wish the same for you.

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If you only read the newsletter, I hope you also read the blog where I write a question of the week each week. Here are other links you might find useful:

Till next time, Johanna

© 2020 Johanna Rothman