Have you ever gotten the feeling that time flies by but you don’t get anything done? That’s what I’ve felt for the past month. Not that I’ve been sitting around doing nothing, but I’ve been doing a lot of time-consuming and “tedious” (yet extremely necessary) “behind-the scenes-work”; work that has to be done to get you where you want, but that doesn’t in itself immediately lead you to the goal. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
As you all know, a potential new project had just requesting Upbeater’s services in Sweden last time I wrote. Upbeater was not 100% prepared to take on the job but the project came from the perfect target market why I decided to try to make it work. I put everything else aside to dedicate my full attention and effort to make this project happen. I spent about a week doing this before the project unfortunately decided to go in another direction.
Naturally in a situation like this, the feeling of wasting a week’s time, neglecting other areas of the business for nothing, could sneak up. But instead, I’ve chosen to lift out the benefits of the “behind-the-scenes-work”, which in this case would be that I i.e. have:
- Connected with programming students and created some great contacts for future work.
- Had to immediately look into and adjust the price structure to the Swedish market.
- Created a great relationship with a project owner which hopefully leads to referrals.
- Updated the official invitation for projects who want to use Upbeater.
And honestly, if I wouldn’t have seen this added value from start, I wouldn’t have been interested in taking on the project since there were no guarantees. It’s just good to be reminded of this in times when something feels like a failure.
The week after, I went on to “business-as-usual” or rather “business-as-planned” with the goal of finding exceptionally skilled and innovative students in Sweden that would be interested in developing Upbeater’s new website. I’m still in the process of reaching out to students, discussing the plans, creating the technical specification and going over it with the students, which have taken much longer than expected. Again, “behind-the-scene-work”. However, I now remember to lift out the added value, that I’ve come across so many talented students, learned a lot about nowadays student culture in Sweden and have spread the word abroad Upbeater to a great number of students and institutions around the country.
Summary: The work you perform is never done unnecessary as long as you stay on track. It might take longer than you think and might not have immediate pay-offs or impact that you want, but you also need that time to think, re-think and evaluate so you can find the best angles and eventually get the best results. Rushing into things without time to reflect can actually be hurtful and cost more in the long run. The “behind-the scenes-work” can be frustrating and make you feel unmotivated, but remember, this type of work is also crucial for your business growth.
Take-away: The best advice I can give to stay motivated in “down-times” like this is; write down or visualize the intangible benefits of your work performed that day or that week. If you can’t think of any, you’re probably off track or feeling like you have “failed”. But remember, mistakes can also be turned into lessons!