Over the past year I have dived deeper into my business more than ever before and I've quickly learned that with big goals comes a lot of action. So much action that often times rest is put to the side for the sake of working a few more hours, especially when you're on the brink of launching something big. While I absolutely believe that hard work is necessary if you really want to see what you're building grow, you have to be mindful that your body cant function without rest. The problem here is, it can be extremely hard to pull yourself away from your work when you absolutely love what you do. What you think will just be a quick blog post can easily turn into you spending hours brainstorming a new project.
Out of love for what I do (and fear of going broke) I've developed the "hustlers" mentality. The theory that if we take a break we'll fall behind and that you can just "sleep when you're dead". But if you dont put a limit on how much you hustle, it will ALWAYS lead to a season of burnout.
"not putting a limit on your hustlers mentality will almost always lead to a season of burn-out."
When I was in the process of writing my book The Blogpreneur, I put myself on an extremely ridiculous deadline (due to never writing a book before i definitely underestimated how much work it would take). As my deadline approached I found myself working well over twelve hours a day with only enough time to stop and eat. In between conducting interviews for the book, finishing up the actual written content plus designing it, I was also managing a handful of coaching clients plus actively working on all of the launch content as well. My days would begin around 5:30 or 6am and wouldn't end until way past 2am. I remember one night as I was coming close to the finish line, I literally broke down in tears at my desk because of exhaustion. In result, what was supposed to be a time to celebrate after my launch I was left completely burned out and completely frustrated.
Bottom line is, in order to really produce your best work and to continue to feel good in the business you're growing you have to make rest a priority. So where do you start?
BE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR TIME
Instead of going with the flow, planning out your day in advance ensures that you're not wasting time trying to figure out what you should be doing and that you're actually working on important tasks that will immediately affect your business. While I don't personally believe that every single hour of your day has to have a purpose, here's how I intentionally make the most out of my time.
- I create a solid list of tasks that need to get done with my top 3 must-do's taking priority.
- I also try my best to cut out distractions. In the mornings when I typically tackle my most important task, I leave my phone in another room. And once I do bring my phone back into my office, I removed all social media notifications to limit the amount of time I reach for my phone.
- I intentionally schedule in time for rest. Yes, I actually write "take a break" into my planner just like I would any other task that needs to be completed. And on days that Im really swamped with work, I highlight it to really make sure Im not forgetting it.
- I also stopped allowing my brain to be picked. I struggled with this more when I first started out more than I do now but I put a stop to people wanting to spend an hour just wanting to chat. I now reserve this time for present or past clients who want feedback and for check-in calls with other creatives. While I wish i could spend my days chatting it up with everybody, i know that my focus really needs to be elsewhere.
SET REAL BOUNDARIES
The day that I learned that "No." was a complete sentence, I believe my life changed forever. What are your non-negotiables? Think about the times and days you want to speak with clients. Think about how long you want to work each day and what time you will disconnect from your inbox. What about which holidays you want to take off or vacations throughout the year. Mine are:
- Only checking my emails twice a day and I don't check it on the weekends.
- I don't take on any client calls on the weekends.
- I try my BEST to stop working by 9pm (this is still a constant struggle but Im trying)
- I no longer take on new clients while launching a large project.
BATCH MY WORK WORK
One habit that led to me working crazy hours and being completely overwhelmed was when I'd tried to tackle everything on my list at once. Now I batch my work. For example, on Mondays I spend a good chunk of time going through my email (since I don't check it on the weekends). While doing this, I dont touch any other project until Im done. And then on Tuesday I'll spend time prepping for clients and taking client calls. This allows me to actually cross items off of my to-do list instead of barely scratching the surface before going to the next item. Since Im getting more done during my work hours, it frees up a ton of time for me to rest and enjoy my day outside of my business.
I've had help with small tasks like scheduling social media off and on but i'll admit I've had a hard time hiring an assistant a few hours every month. But giving up small tasks that don't either require your full attention or tasks that you simply may not be that good at can help you save a ton of time to work on bigger, income generating projects or to simply take time for yourself.
Focusing on these four areas can help you to not only structure your day and get rid of some of the overwhelm you may be feeling, but it will also help you to make more time for rest and self care.