Are You Confusing Time and Effort?

Do you gauge the results you deserve based on the time that's passed or the work you've done?

Some people don’t think they’re getting the results they deserve for the time put in. But how much time were they working for results?

Time and effort aren’t the same thing. Piddling around on the sidelines doesn’t count as time in the game.

If you have a blog that’s live online for a year, but you only create posts here and there, you haven’t been blogging for a year.

If you have a YouTube channel and you post videos sometimes then spend weeks without posting or promoting, you aren’t trying to build an audience.

If you’re a freelancer and you send out a couple queries or proposals then sit and wait for responses, you haven’t spent months looking for work.

You cannot build and expand a freelance or creative career if you’re treating it like a hobby.

Most people have heard it’s a difficult path. They listened to a podcast, read a book or article, or heard it from someone who knows firsthand. One way or another, they’ve been warned. But a lot of those people translate that to mean it was difficult for others.

They aren’t really expecting a long, hard road. They think the “hard work” they’ve heard about refers to producing the product. And they’re confident about their talent. So, they think they’re just going to throw themselves out there and find a bunch of takers.

Some people realize there’s a lot to do but they don’t get it done. They show up on a regular basis, but then they get sidetracked with email, social media, surfing the web, etc. So yes, they spend hours at their desks or in their studios, but only a small portion of that time is truly invested in being productive.

Results come from actual work. There’s no other way to get them.

The work begins with getting people’s attention and getting them to care about what you’re offering.

Once you’ve piqued their interest, you have to convince them that you’re worthy of their time and money.

After you’ve done that, you have to defend your position and keep them coming back. Unless you’re planning to survive on one-and-done relationships, which makes the game even harder.

To grow and survive, you need to regularly invest time replying to ads, sending proposals, tweaking your resume, building portfolios, networking, marketing, refreshing your skills, keeping current on your markets, etc.

And all of that is in addition to producing the work.

For freelancers and creative entrepreneurs, a weak effort is equal to no effort.

If a weak effort is all you’re willing to give, you may as well save that little bit of time and energy and apply it elsewhere. Because hanging around the field for a few months or even a year or two isn’t enough.

If you suspect or know you have an issue being productive, there are simple ways to gauge it and hopefully promote change.

  • Make a to-do list and see how much you do.
  • Create a productivity report at the end of each day or week and analyze what you’ve accomplished.
  • Get a time-tracking app to determine to gauge and control how much time you spend on tasks.

But keep in mind that no matter what you do, it won’t matter unless you’re willing to hold yourself accountable.



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