Yes you are busy, but are you making progress?

Spinningplates

Busy-ness is seen too often as a virtue in and of itself – as a sign of the successful career. But do ask yourself what all the busy-ness is taking you. You may well be producing, but are you making progress?

Most creative pros have many projects going at any one time. Maybe it’s a day job – possibly with multiple accounts – and of course a couple of side projects – like playing with 3D printing or making little videos or writing short stories – whatever.

I was hearing from just such a creative pro the other day about her many projects – so many she doesn’t even remember them all at one sitting. She is a world-class networker amassing contacts and building groups. She has multiple revenue streams: working the social media front picking up some consulting, producing events and so forth – on a variety of different topics. She has a video channel, she blogs, tweets and goodness knows what else. And she does this on three continents. I am not sure she ever sleeps.

I asked what are her goals? What did she want all these projects to add up to? What would she like to be doing in three years? She took this as a challenge, protesting that these were all her children and she needed to keep each of them going.

“I am very productive” she told me.

“No doubt about that,” I replied. “I can see that you are extremely productive. Do you feel you’re making progress?”

“I think so,” she said.

“Great. Towards what?” I asked.

Aha – that stumped her. As we talked it became clear that being productive is not necessarily the same thing as making progress to something greater.

It made me think of the circus guy who spins the plates on top of the poles – running around like crazy to keep them from falling. He is always on the go and incredibly manages to keep them all spinning – but then what? Where is all this spinning headed? Is there progress? Will he still be spinning all those same plates in three years?

Will you?