Howdy friends, it’s been over 3 weeks since I’ve posted to the forum. First, I want to say I’m sorry about that and I think about you every day. Second, I want to be honest and say I’ve gotten a bit overwhelmed. When I don’t have access to the forum for a couple weeks (like when I was in Cuba), the posts and threads pile up. It takes a chunk of time and energy to thoroughly go through everything, and I’m just now catching up with most of my duties.
It’s good to be busy, I guess, but it’s also not good at all. I’ve come to some self-realization lately. In my first 40 years (40th BD coming up in July), I’ve been able, for the most part, to handle everything in the moment (or at least look like I do!). Even with big projects, I’ve been able to get things done when they needed to be done, and keep everything suspended in its place in my mind. I just thought I was really busy and had a lot of irons in the fire, which equated to success, and it even unintentionally became the common topic of conversation with my friends and family. “Ben, how are you?” “Oh brother, slammed! I did this and this and this today, and tomorrow I have THIS!”
Last week a dear friend of mine told me they wanted to talk to me, but knew I was too busy so they didn’t call. That broke my heart. What quality of a friend or brother can I be if folks determine (probably because of what I tell them!) that I’m too busy for them? I decided I was done with being busy. So, what does that mean?
After a long couple weeks of taking an assessment of my life, I realized I don’t have more of a workload than many producers and biz owners. I do have a lot of work, but not more than many who somehow have time for the important things like friends and family.
It’s taken some humbling and repenting, but I’ve come to realize and accept that I can’t handle everything in the moment. I can get it done, but I don’t have the brainpower to pull everything off at the last minute, which is most often what fuels my “busy-ness.” I must plan more, I must delegate more, I must prepare more, and I must take back my schedule. I won’t go into all the details of what that entails, but I’m excited! I bought Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner and it’s going great so far.
A few practical changes: I’m limiting my email and social media checks to just a few times a day rather than whenever I WANT or when I see a notification come through. Also, I have developed a concrete morning and evening ritual that prepares me for productivity and rest. And, during that morning ritual, I take time to schedule my whole day in 30-minute increments. Whatever doesn’t get done gets prioritized and moved to another time or day.
There are some changes that my students and friends (y’all!!) may notice. One, I can’t respond in great detail to every email I receive. I will always respond, but I’ll have to ask you to come to the forum more often rather than spend 15-20 minutes per email. I just simply do not have the time. Two, I’m going to produce a single lesson per instrument every month, rather than one a week. So starting in June, week 1 will be banjo, week 2 guitar, and week 3 mando. On the 4th week, Jake will be producing some fun material that deals with instrument care, purchasing, upgrading, luthiery, or hillbilly beatboxing. That extra week for me means I get near 30 hours back each month. I can use these hours to plan for the future of the site/biz, work on camps, maybe take a day off (WHAT?!?!), or maybe even practice my banjo, mando, guitar, etc.!
I’m curious, what do you think of that new schedule? It will still be content delivery 4 times a month, but will look a little different. I would appreciate your feedback.
Anyway, I have been blessed with a beautiful family of a wife and two little girls and they have been missing out on daddy in a lot of ways. I had and have to make some changes, and what’s exciting is that I believe my quality of life and the quality of Banjo Ben, INC. will both improve.
I love y’all, and thanks for cutting me some slack when I’m away from the forum for a while.