Any entrepreneur will tell you this — the line between personal time and work constantly keeps on getting faded away. You tend to be working all the time — day in and out — whether you are working or just walking your dog. You are always working. And it is exhausting. Why do we still do it? Multiple reasons, to be honest:
- We just can’t help it. We can’t turn our brains off. No matter what we are doing, seeing, or talking about; somewhere in our subconscious, we are always drawing a neat (actually more like a cluttered) diagram on one aspect of the business or the other.
- We are passionate about what we do, we believe in it. So it doesn’t really feel like working. Even the smallest of wins makes you feel great.
- It is an ecstatic high! Yes. You keep on getting eureka moments every once in a while, and it feels better than a trip on E.
But it is exhausting, whether we realise it or not. More importantly, it is unhealthy — both for you, as well as the business. So I choose not to do that.
You can’t keep on burning the candle at both ends. You will end up with no fuel left sooner than you think. So. Every week, I choose to have some scheduled down time. Whether I am meeting my friends some time during the week or not, it doesn’t matter. The schedule of the scheduled down time remains unaltered. No work, no work related talks, no nothing.
If something work related comes as an epiphany, I even choose not to pen it down. Do I risk completely missing out on that moment of epiphany after my work-curfew has ended? Yes. That is a definite possibility. But I need to condition my brain to work with this non-negotiable constraint. It needs to stop being the overly attached girlfriend and give me some time to unwind, relax, recharge my batteries. It is my REM cycle for productivity. And we all need it.
It was my scheduled downtime yesterday. I lazed around, played some classic rock, bathed my puppy, played with him for a while. We even took an afternoon nap together. I realised at some time I couldn’t breathe, so the nap ended early. Apparently he thought it would be a good idea to sleep on my face. Then I cooked, cleaned up the house a bit. Read a book. Played some more. And then off to bed I went. It was a day well spent. And today, when I woke up, I could feel myself ready for the action that awaits me. Bring it on; I am all fired up for the week.
So. If you are working round the clock, and you think it is justified because you are an entrepreneur trying to change the world — Stop! The world starts with you. Start taking better care of yourself. You are no good to the world all burnt out.