Busy has its drawbacks

I didn’t intend to start writing a blog only to dwell on Harlow&Company's past 10 years or reminisce about how rosy things were back in the golden days of some fantasized advertising era—especially considering the lack of gold and roses.

But starting H&C a decade ago has afforded me a certain amount of trial and error. And as I'm sure with any business, the worst forecast or trial to overcome is a drought. How do you handle the ups and downs of workflow? Personally, I like to freak out, because it's so productive to wake up in the middle of the night and pace around a house you're positive will be repossessed at any moment.

Two months ago, we slowed down for the first time since about 2012.

When mid-December rolled around, the only thing I noticed was how incredibly fast 12 months had come and gone. And just as I was bracing for a hectic new year, the workflow sailed into a dead calm. As a family, we were preparing for the holidays. The kids were home from school and college. We had plenty of distractions. Maybe slow wasn’t as obvious at first, but unlike previous down times, it was different. I wasn’t freaking out.

In fact, I found myself wondering about what we should be doing instead of worrying about why it suddenly slowed down. This slow felt more like an opportunity to take stock, to appreciate the work we had done and especially, it seemed like time to learn or try something new while imaging the possibilities of what next?

I tried to focus on what was the best kind of work for us. I also tried catching up on reading, drawing, taking pictures and gathering content to update our website. Ironically, I've not spent nearly enough energy marketing our marketing business.

And ok, I worried a little.

The point is not that slowing down is good, but how easy we can lose site of the bigger picture when we’re wrapped up in the details of what defines busy. That’s when we need to remind ourselves what it is we really have to offer. What makes you good and how do you seek out those opportunities?

Working hard is essential, but understanding what holds your passion will work better for you over the long haul than all the busy you can muster.