I spend my time playing at the space where design, regenerative innovation, and wellbeing meet. My wellbeing – and the wellbeing of the people and communities I interact with… and beyond. Key to this is experimenting with and refining my workflow and rhythm, including how I handle the many requests I receive for my time and attention.
I’m not very good at saying no and hate feeling like I’m disappointing someone. If I say yes, I honour my commitment. I’m driven by helping people and fairness, but I don’t respond to pressure or attempts to manipulate me with guilt – and if that happens I’ll usually create distance from the source. I also strongly believe in value exchange.
This means I need to set clear boundaries and proactively communicate them.
Note: The primary audience for this post is people who aren’t paying clients. if you’re keen to do some paid work together, here’s an outline of how we can help and guidance on price points.
Deep Work & Focus
The maker’s schedule has become my primary mode, which means interruptions to my flow state are a high cost. Over the years, I’ve experimented with the way I handle my email, meeting requests, and the many other requests I receive daily.
For the past couple of years I’ve used a permanent email responder to let people know I batch my email replies and a way to book a brief meeting. I also share a way to make contact if it’s time sensitive. This has definitely helped create more space for deep work and to spend quality time with my clients.
As I’ve reviewed the results of these experiments and dug into some of my numbers, I’ve found things I need to continue refining. In 2022, 19% of my work hours were probono and investing in helping build social enterprise and design ecosystems. This is too high and is unsustainable. I need to manage that to my target level of 10% in 2023.
The Cheat Codes
Below I’m outlining how I manage the many requests I receive. I’m being very transparent and basically sharing the cheat codes. If you’re asking for my time and attention, this will help us find alignment.
Free Advice Requests
I receive a lot of requests for advice and to “pick my brain” – and I spend a lot of my time giving this freely. I am a coach though, and coaching and advice is my core business – I can only give so much for free. This is a key area I’m refining in 2023.
To scale what I’ve got to share, I’ve created this free Social Enterprise Healthcheck which also guides you to our free resources. There’s also the free 80-page teaser of my book Solve Problems That Matter… or you can buy the full 350-page book from $19.
I’ve set up office hours once a month. You can book a free 15-minute call here. I ask that you outline the purpose and agenda to help us make the most of our valuable time before I confirm the call.
I also organise and attend a lot of social enterprise, design, impact, and startup events. This includes Sydney Design Thinking and SECNA. These are good times to have a chat. Come join the community and say hey.
Speaking & Media Requests
I play at the place where design, social regenerative, and wellbeing meet. If these are topics you feel are of value to your audience, I’m open to requests where there’s a genuine value exchange. I also design and deliver a range of masterclasses, workshops, and project-based learning programs. Please send through details of the opportunity.
Probono/Low-Bono/Dynamic4 Good Requests
I invest 10% of Dynamic4’s annual revenue in helping build social enterprise and design ecosystems and supporting social enterprise ideas. Of course there’s more opportunities than supply, and I can’t say yes to everything.
The investment pool for 2023 is already (over)allocated, but if you’ve got a compelling opportunity you think we should collaborate on – especially if it’s based on a genuine value exchange, please send through a brief proposal.
At Dynamic4, we love collaborating and it’s core to our model. One of the key things I’ve learnt over the years is for it to work, there needs to be a mutually beneficial collaboration opportunity that’s clearly defined with shared expectations. It needs more shape than a general thought that we should work on something together.
If you’ve got an opportunity you think we should collaborate on, please outline what it is and how you think we can help each other.
If you’re making contact asking me/Dynamic4 to buy something, I only respond to genuinely personalised insight with a specific offer/proposal. I unsubscribe from anything that looks generic or boilerplate. If that’s not respected and there are repeat messages, then I block the sender and/or domain.
I hope this helps and is taken in the spirit of me communicating how I can help and being clear on my boundaries.
I also encourage you to think about how you can create space so your workflow helps you build momentum… to solve problems that matter.