itsitA few weeks ago my partner Scott introduced me to “It’s Its.” You California people may know what they are, but for those of you who don’t, well…be forewarned. As a result of this discovery I gained 5 pounds in one week. Apparently, I wasn’t fully aligned with my goal of losing 5 pounds.

So what’s an It’s It? It’s the stupidest name for the most amazing little ice cream treat ever created by man. They’re small and innocent looking, and they simply beg to be eaten. So after discovering them, I ate them. Lots of them.

At first I was delighted that these little treats came in small, individual servings. I could simply indulge in one, eat it and be done.

But after a week of eating one every day (OK, on one day I ate two of them), I stepped on the scale to discover I’d gained 5 pounds. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done to attract this extra, unwanted mass, but Scott quickly pointed out my new eating habits.

“What?” I protested. “They’re so small and innocent. How many calories do they have in them, anyway? Can’t be too many. They’re so small…”

Turns out each It’s It has 340 calories. Three Hundred and Forty. Geez.

Suddenly, this small, innocent addition to my life turned into more than I’d bargained for.

As I contemplated the hazards of It’s Its and not being fully aligned with my goal, I realize this sort of scenario is all too familiar in the world of self-employment, too. In other words, a lot of little projects can turn into a lot of unwanted work.

For instance, instead of It’s Its, the little things might be projects people ask you to take on, a stack of dirty dishes in the sink (if you work from home), Facebook quizes, teaching a monthly class or writing a monthly column for a magazine.

But the reality of these small, seemingly innocent projects is that they add up into one big amount of work, all of which require your precious resources, both in time and energy.

If you indulge every request and opportunity, before you know it you won’t have done what you set out to do, what you need to do, to maintain the health of your dreams and small business.

When I discovered how quickly I could gain weight from eating one It’s It a day, I had to reassess and realign with my true desires: to eat well and be healthy (and not gain more weight!).

The same is true when you grow your lifework into a business as a self-employed professional. You have to continually reassess and realign with your true desires, whatever they are for you. Weigh the pros and cons of potential projects and make sure they are in alignment with where you want to grow.