On most Saturday mornings I get up early. My school aged son watches cartoons for a while and I amble into the kitchen to start my batch of sourdough bread. I usually brew up a cup of tea and then start mixing the bread. It takes about 3 hours of on and off kneading and rising for the bread to be ready to proof. During that time I plan meals and order groceries for the week. (I’m a big Amazon Fresh fan.) It’s a slow, very domestic start to my weekend.
I tell you this to illustrate that, for me, Saturday (and Sunday) are times that I don’t work. Occasionally, (as in 4 – 5 times a year) I’ll pop into the office for a couple of hours on a weekend; but I try to spend every weekend off of my email, with my head away from my work.
I didn’t always live like this.
For many years if the kids were watching cartoons that would be time for me to get some work done. If my wife was headed out to run errands I’d try to get caught up on email. If I had a free hour, I’d use it to get something done. I thought that this was what a business owner had to do! You’ve got to hustle, get ahead, maximize output, right?
About 5 years ago all of that “hustling” was catching up to me.
My friendships were atrophying — I was working so much I didn’t reach out or spend time with people who weren’t work contacts.
My wife and kids would tell me that I was grumpy all the time. I didn’t feel grumpy! But, I noticed when they asked me to play or to show me something they built they were interrupting me…
When I did have free time I didn’t know what to do with it (outside of work). I had let my hobbies and outside interests fade away as I got busier with my business.
When all you do is exhale…
When I brought this up to one of my mentors she paused for a minute and then took a deep breath. “You see how that works Brad? In order to live, you need to breathe. To breathe we need to inhale, then we need to exhale… It seems like you spend all day exhaling.”
I was puzzled by this response. I responded, “I’ve been breathing just fine. If I did nothing but exhale I’d pass out!”
“That’s exactly my point Brad. You are about to pass out. If you want to keep going you need to breath in, and breath out. You need a healthy rhythm of work and rest.”
These words kind of blew my mind, what would a “healthy rhythm of work and rest” look like? Wouldn’t it destroy my business? The thought of that scared me, but not as much as the worry that I was ruining my most important relationships, missing precious moments with my children, and hurting my health. Maybe — just maybe — it was possible that inability to breathe and rest was actually hurting my business as well.
Breathing Creates Crucial Boundaries
Realizing that my health and family were worth the risk, I decided to try to add in some more time off, set some boundaries on my work hours, turn off my phone and computer and be less productive.
I spend fewer hours working now than I ever did; I rarely work in the evenings, or on weekends. I only see clients Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (reserving Monday and Friday to get my work done) and last year was my most profitable year ever.
You can do it too. One quick way is to set boundaries around when you’ll work, then stick to them. Find engaging activities to fill the time you no longer spend working. Work hard, then get good rest, completely away from work. Inhale then exhale.
Just a reminder: If burnout is an issue for you, or if you just need to find some space to have a healthier life, I’ve got a 5-day email course designed to help with that. Check it out.
INTERESTING READS FROM AROUND THE WEB
This week I saw a lot of discussion about this issue of work and rest. Insider published a big article talking about how the pressure on YouTube stars to keep publishing is leading to burnout. One of the stars interviewed, Casey Neistat then made a vlog about it.
Sean McCabe who famously hit a wall in his business and started taking every 7th week totally away from his business published a podcast this week outlining his methods for finding time and energy to do what it takes to reach your dreams without burning out.
I know from talking to many of you that hiring is on your mind and it scares you! Dorothy Dalton has some amazing advice for those of you thinking about hiring. Do you trust your gut in the hiring process? Maybe stop.
Blessed are the people with full voicemail boxes for they shall inherit no new voicemails @PleaseBeGneiss 22 Jan 2019
It’s crazy how often I feel like I need to resolve some big problem in my life when all I really need is one of the following:
- A glass of water
- A 10-minute walk outside
- A good night of sleep 3 simple things that resolve many of the stresses and anxieties of daily life.
@JamesClear 29 Dec 2018
The future of work is remote. Most companies aren’t ready for the change. Remote work requires new infrastructure and management styles that aren’t taught in school. Companies who figure it out have a massive talent arbitrage opportunity. Every investor should encourage this. @jmj 20 Jan 2019