5 months ago I was on the verge of burning out again.
I got sucked right back into all my projects and had my head down grinding away as we do, when one day I look up and my son was there asking if I’d like to go on a “hike” with him. (And by “hike” he meant a “walk” down by the “river” which was really a “creek” :))
I told him sure thing and planned to be back within the hour.
Four hours later we came home and it was like the heavens shining down with harps and all!
For the first time all year I not only completely forgot about my work altogether, but I got to see the world through the eyes of a 5 year old for four hours straight and WOW was that a beautiful thing! No talking about goals or emails or the internet, or really anything “adult” related whatsoever. It was literally just him and me in the serenity of nature discussing every little curiosity a boy of that age wonders about.
IT WAS PURE LIVING!
And we’d probably still be on that walk too if his poor little legs didn’t fail him midway through, haha… He told me he didn’t want to stop “until we reached another country!” :)
But those few hours were enough for me to assess what the hell I was doing again with my time, and even more so prompted me to make real changes so I didn’t get sucked right back into it all again. I wanted to not only become a more efficient and productive worker again, but also a better person and overall daddy/husband too.
When I got home I made a list of all the projects I was working on, and quickly realized that the answers I was looking for came down to three simple variables:
- The amount of time each project was taking up
- The amount of money each project was making (or more aptly, not making)
- The amount of FUN I was actually having if I were being completely honest with myself
I began calling this the Triad of Hustling anytime I shared this new epiphany with friends, and the takeaway was that if you can score well in any two of the three departments it was a project worth continuing with.
- No time and lots of money? Winner! Who cares if it’s not that fun.
- No money but you’re loving it? Great! I don’t mind spending time on stuff that makes me happy.
- No fun, no money, AND gobs of hours of my time?? SHUT THAT $HIT DOWN!
As embarrassing as this probably comes across, it was amazing how *clear* these answers came to me just by asking these three fairly basic questions. Obviously if you’re not making any money on something and it’s sucking up all your time AND you hate it you shouldn’t be working on it! But again, sometimes you’re so deep down in the weeds hustling your ass off that you forget to look up every once and a while and reassess.
Not something you have the luxury of doing if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, of course (in that case you grind it out and do what you have to do!), but if you’re relatively fine and in a position to call the shots, these are excellent questions to be asking yourself.
Even so, not all projects are so cut and dry. Sometimes you end up with hustles that come with just as many cons as they do pros, and you need help cutting to the core. Especially for those who tend to lean more with their heart than they do their wallet (*ahem*).
For this, I recommend channeling your inner Derek Sivers :)
When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then say “no.”
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
BOOM! The great equalizer! Which is also great because it gets down to your more truer *purpose* too vs the more factual sides of things (money, time, etc).
If I had run this Triad of questions on Budgets Are Sexy back in the day, it would have scored a paltry 1 out of 3 points, haha… It took up hours of my time, made exactly $0.00 a month, but the one thing it did have going for it was that it was a TON of fun. And to this day, almost 10 years later now, I can unequivocally state that it’s still very much a HELL YEAH vs a plain ol’ “yes.” (YAY!)
So whenever the Triad fails you, pull out this bazooka to finish it off ;)
Okay, to refresh – here are the 3 questions to ask yourself whenever you’re reassessing your projects:
- How much time are these projects sucking away from me?
- How much money are these projects making me?
- How much FUN am I really having doing them??
Three out of three, and you’ve found a DREAM hustle. Two out of three and it’s still pretty solid as not all projects can be dreams. One out of three and it’s probably time to reconsider or try switching things up. And then zero out of three it’s finally time to SHUT THAT $HIT DOWN!
And let me tell you, I’ve been shutting down a lot of $hits lately and it feels damn good :) My family says I’m now much more attentive apparently, I’m not nearly as grumpy anymore (nearly?), and the most important result of all: I feel like I’m living again.
And here’s the crazy part – my business hasn’t declined at all! If anything, it’s only gotten better because I’m much more focused and can appreciate the remaining projects I’ve actively chosen to keep.
Oh, and remember how I announced last month that I’ve now stopped working on nights and weekends? Well, it’s another result of this! We’re now going into month #4 of not opening up my laptop even *once* on the weekend, and I owe it all to my smart and adventurous 5 y/o.
It’s a new dawn, my friends, and I hope you’ll join me in challenging your current projects too! The Triad separates the winners from the losers, and if all else fails just ask yourself whether it’s a HELL YEAH or needs to be converted down to a sad little “yes” (i.e. NO).
They say you can never buy up any more time, but this has got to be pretty close.
UPDATE: This Triad only applies to those projects already humming and out of the honeymoon stage – when you’re trying to decide which are worth keeping and which aren’t now that you’re “in it.” There are no rules the first few months of new projects – it’s just pure chaos and excitement at that point! ;)
Don’t have any hustles to cut? Check out our list of 70+ to consider!
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!