Recently I had a virtual meeting scheduled with a client who’s project I wasn’t ignoring, I just wasn’t… “where I’d like to be”. In other words, I had done little, and needed to finesse my way through the meeting in order to buy myself time to catch up, and meet my obligations.
Leading up to the meeting, I was stressed. While I had completed some tasks, I worried about what tasks I hadn’t and what the client might say. During my morning shower the meeting played out in my mind as I tried on various excuses:
“The holidays set us back”
“We’ll double down and make up the time”
“COVID really has us super busy but things are settling down”
“We’ll discount your hourly rate until we catch up”
“I’ll put another person on this project to speed things up”
Just prior to the meeting I prepared reports, notes, questions, thoughts, anything that would pad the lean completed task list.
The meeting started, I went over my updates, data and schedule. The client was thrilled, the call was over in 25 minutes.
Were my my standards too high? Were the expectations of the client too low? The answer I’m sure lies somewhere in the middle but I never want to lose that feeling of obligation to my clients. While I don’t appreciate the stress, worry and occasional paralysis that comes with caring, I fear uncaring more.
While this may ultimately be a lesson about the stressful side effects of poor time management, I would rather conclude the high bar I’ve set for myself protects me from harming my business.