Are you a Morgan or a Taylor?
According to author Ashley Whillans in Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life, four out of five adults say they have too much to do and not enough time to do it.
She has readers identify themselves as either Taylors, who value time more than money, or Morgans, who value money more than time.
And then she gives them a prescription for how to build more Taylor traits into their lives… because all her research has proven people who have a time-centric mindset are happier and more satisfied with their lives, regardless of how much money they actually make.
As I was reading the book, I was thinking about you. After having spoken to dozens of you on mentoring calls, traded emails with you, and seen your posts on Facebook, I know most of you have chosen a copywriting career to either gain more time or more money… or hopefully both.
But the question is: as you build your freelance business, are you making decisions that seem smart at the time, but reduce your happiness?
Are YOU a Taylor or a Morgan?
Now, at the present time, I’m usually a Taylor… but I was a Morgan the majority of my life.
But I also was so stressed out, working so many hours I barely wanted to take time out to take a walk.
Slowly, as I’ve transitioned into copywriting and out of the corporate world, though, something else has been going on. I’ve been making different choices.
Ashley Whillans would say I was shedding my time impoverished mindset. I was making more time-centric decisions. And I was happier. A lot happier.
I’m actually making a little less money than when I was working full-time in the corporate world and doing copywriting on the side. But I’m also working about 40% of the hours I used to work.
And with those extra hours?
I’m getting outside to snowshoe or walk or playing sports. Reading great books. Working on a new business venture that excites me. And I’m seeing my friends and my family much more often.
When you make choices in your personal life or in your business, are you nickel and diming yourself into time poverty?
Here’s an example for how to determine if you’re a Taylor or a Morgan. If you hate mowing the lawn, do you hire a lawn service? Or do you still do it yourself to save money?
In your copy business, if you really don’t like doing your taxes, do you hire someone to do them for you, or do you do it yourself because you don’t want to pay an accountant?
Or take on a project you don’t want to do because it pays well?
If you make the majority of your decisions based on how much money you’ll make (or save), you’re probably a Morgan.
If you’re more likely to spend a little more on a nicer hotel room or a shorter flight, or you turn down copywriting projects that don’t interest you or fit your long-term goals, you’re probably a Taylor.
And being a Taylor at least some of the time means you’ll be happier.
Who wouldn’t want that?
How to Increase Your “Taylor” Decisions
When you look across your business decisions, are you making them only with money in mind (either making more or spending less), or are you looking at the long-term value of those decisions?
When you’re considering a new client or a new project, what is your decision-making process?
Do you take the project just because it’s offered?
Maybe very early in your career, you might… if you thought it would provide relevant experience. Or you have bills to pay. Both are good reasons to take on projects that might not fit your long-term goals.
But as you gain experience, it won’t benefit your business for you to take “just any client.” In fact, it could cost you in terms of both money and time.
A sticky note I have prominently displayed on my desk says, “When you say Yes to one thing, you say No to everything else.”
If you fill up your schedule with clients who aren’t in your niche or who don’t pay as well or just aren’t part of your long-term business plan, you’re expending time and energy and not moving your business forward.
The next time you get an inquiry from a client on a project you don’t really enjoy or you get pushback on a quote to reduce your rate… before making a decision, think about the full value of that decision… will it make you happier? Will it move you toward your business goals? Or will it actually delay those goals with the time and effort you’ll need to spend on it?
Often, our freelance business can feel like a one-man band. You’re the accountant, bookkeeper, marketer, admin, and creative for your business.
But sometimes, it pays to pay for help: either automated help from software that makes it easier to do those administrative tasks, or live help from specialists who can relieve you of the responsibility for business processes you don’t like anyway, like bookkeeping or scheduling.
Especially if those other tasks are things you don’t enjoy. Because when you force yourself to spend time doing things you don’t like just because you don’t want to pay someone else to do them, you’re reducing your happiness.
Examine your daily tasks for the next couple of weeks. Which ones are you doing that you just don’t like (or more likely, which ones do you keep putting off because you don’t want to do them)?
Can you hire someone to help you with them, or acquire some software that can make them easier and quicker?
This is a big one for freelancers ─ if you’re not directly working on your business, you’re probably not making money.
So the default attitude you may take is to skip a lot of your personal time in favor of marketing yourself to more clients or taking on more work.
But we all need personal time. I think people in creative jobs may need even more personal time. Your brain needs to be fresh and sharp, not tired and mushy.
You should be sure to schedule in activities that make you relax or feel refreshed as often as possible. Don’t think of that time as wasted or losing money.
It’s the opposite: that time allows you to come back and work in a more focused, efficient, and effective way.
Some of my favorite personal time outs are meditation, walks outside, grabbing a book just for pleasure for 15 or 30 minutes, coffee with a friend, and a new favorite of mine (before we got snowed in a couple of weeks ago) is pickle ball. You might go to the gym for a good 45-minute workout, cook a healthy meal, or watch a movie.
The point is to not feel guilty about taking that time. Think of your personal time as a required part of your day. Build it into your schedule. You’ll be happier ─ and that happiness will translate into better, more effective copy.
Being Time Smart Reinforces Your Why
If you’re doing The AWAI MethodTM, the first assignment you submit is to tell us your WHY.
But before that, you create a vision, your version of your writer’s life. I can guarantee everyone’s vision contains their idea of a happy life.
You’ve already made the decision to increase your happiness by becoming a copywriter and gaining more control over your time.
Make sure the day-to-day decisions you’re making reinforce that WHY by considering the impact on both your money and your happiness.
Regardless of whether you are a Taylor, who values time more than money, or a Morgan, who values money more than time, adding more “Taylor decisions” into your day will increase your happiness and get you closer to your vision of your writer’s life.