Some weeks ago I visited my local bike shop. I needed to repair a punctured tire, and the mechanic complained that work comes in bursts: he could be waiting for clients all morning and suddenly three would arrive at the same time. Fortunately he dispatched in the order of ease, and my punctured tire was addressed first.
Today I answered a backlog of requests for work. I felt the pain of my bike mechanic, three interesting avenues for contract work, yet so little time. I answered each of them thoughtfully, proposing a reduction in scope here, a quick fix there, and reframing the entire project in another case. It took me all afternoon to do so and it left me exhausted.
But this prepares expectations and allows me to perform work in my own terms. My happiness is just as important as my clients projects, it’s important that I wont drive myself miserable implementing things which are too complex or too useless to put enthusiasm into it. When a project from a client aligns with my own momentum I can put tons of value into it.
I’m reminded of this diagram of Charles Eames, where he overlaps the interests of the studio with the interests of the client and the concerns of society.
I guess this is a visual way of expressing Derek Sivers’ maxim: “Hell yeah, or no”.