What to Do When Your Plate Is Full

There are only so many hours in the day and there’s only so much you accomplish with the time and resources that you have. Even so, if you’re anything like me and you have aspirations to achieve the dot com lifestyle, then you have the inclination to explore and take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. You want to have a successful blog, a strong following on social media, a popular YouTube channel, a riveting podcast, a profitable email list and on and on it goes.

You want to attend this conference and take this workshop and sign up for this online mastermind course. That kind of ambition and passion is to be admired, to be sure, but you are still only one human being. We can’t all be Casey Neistat or Elon Musk, nor should we really want to be. If anything, that goes completely against the philosophy of the dot com lifestyle, because these guys work insane hours. Wouldn’t you rather work fewer hours and make more money?

So, as you go out there and explore these various opportunities and potential ventures, you may quickly find that your plate is getting awfully full. What can you do at that point?

Swap to a Bigger Plate

Have you ever noticed that when you go to an upscale restaurant, you tend to get a relatively smaller portion pleasantly displayed on a relatively larger plate? The presentation is almost as important as the actual flavor of the dish, because it already primes your mind for what to expect. The objective isn’t simply to fill up your stomach; the goal is to enjoy your culinary experience.

By contrast, when you go to some other restaurants, it’s almost like they just pile on the pig slop onto your plate and it’s almost like you’re eating out of a trough. There’s no finesse here. It’s just about gorging yourself with as much quantity of food as possible. Quality is of secondary concern, if at all.

In the context of making money online, I think you’d agree that you’d rather have the fine dining experience. When you’ve got food spilling off the sides of your plate, it’s probably about time you got yourself a bigger plate. This might mean cutting hours and time away from hobbies so you can dedicate those resources to your online business instead. You’re making more room for your business to grow.

Discard the Unwanted Waste

Realistically, getting a bigger plate won’t really achieve your goals, especially if you’re looking to achieve the dot com lifestyle. By making more room, you’ll inevitably find a way to fill it. You’ll go from working 40 hours a week to 50 hours, 60 hours, 80 hours and beyond. You keep getting a bigger plate and you keep burning yourself out.

Instead, a much more favorable option would be to clear some room off your existing plate. Get rid of all the excess that’s simply getting in the way and not adding any value to your “meal.” When you’re eating lobster and you’re done with it, there’s no reason for you to keep the shell on your plate. Get rid of it. If you’ve ordered a steak and it’s come with way too many potatoes, get rid of some.

The same is true when it comes to business. The Pareto Principle applies. If you’re not getting any value out of that podcast and it’s sucking up all your time, maybe it’s time to give it up and double-down your efforts elsewhere. Focus on what’s actually working and you’re actually good at doing.

Grab Another Plate

Speaking of focusing on what you’re good at doing, perhaps the best strategy you can take when your plate is full is simply to grab another plate. One of my favorite dishes to order at a Hong Kong style cafe (cha chaan teng) is the baked pork chop on rice. Oftentimes, it’ll arrive in a casserole like dish and the pork chop may or may not be pre-sliced.

If the pork chop arrives whole, it can be difficult to cut through it when it’s sitting on top of a pile of rice and it’s in an oblong dish that isn’t conducive to cutting. I could try to make do with what I have or I could ask the server to bring me a side plate. Then, I transfer the pork chop onto the side plate and cut it on there instead. I made more room and am able to enjoy a much more pleasant experience.

What is the “side plate” in the context of making money online? Outsourcing. Hire someone else to tackle the tasks you’re either not very good at doing, don’t know how to do, and simply don’t want to do. That can free up so much of your time and energy (i.e., room on your plate) to focus on the things you’re actually good at and you actually want to do. Grab another plate.

Some people might say that a full plate is a good problem to have. That might be true. It means you have a lot of opportunity for growth and success. It also means you need to know how best to manage this added volume in an effective and hopefully lucrative way.