Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Thinking that we are doing our best, striving to get ahead, pushing ourselves hard, knowing that the payoff is coming soon. How long can you keep it up though? How long until the payoff arrives? Will you make it, or burn out in the process?
I want to share a personal story with you. Offer some perspective. Hopefully some relief.
It was the first time in 6 months that any alcohol had passed my lips – not because it was a goal, or because I was on some kind of health kick, but because I feared that drinking alcohol would affect my productivity and ability to be creative. If I was awake, I was either working on something, or thinking about what I should be working on. I did not want anything to get in the way of that.
What I didn’t realise was that by completely ignoring my need to have real time out and relax, my productivity and creativity was already severely affected. In fact, at least 20% of my time was used on escaping the feeling of being stuck and unenthusiastic about working on my business. Escapism in the form of movie watching, computer games, surfing the web, and watching hours of cat videos on YouTube.
Working (and escaping work) every waking hour had become a habit that was severely affecting my efforts to build my business or function normally on a day to day basis.
Things had to get to breaking point for anything to change it would seem. After a particularly difficult two weeks, unable to focus on anything that I “needed” to get done, or come up with any ideas for upcoming blogs and vlogs and marketing campaigns, I threw my arms up in the air and said “screw it” and actually gave myself permission to have the night off, to do absolutely nothing but relax. I turned off my phone, laptop and iPad, poured a glass of wine, put on some chilled music, sat, and did nothing.
What an amazing feeling, to think that there was absolutely nothing I had to do in that moment. No calls to return, email to read and reply to, fires to put out, research to do, or marketing plans to carry out. It felt absolutely liberating, and after 30 minutes or so, as the wine started to take affect and I relaxed even more into my evening, ideas began to flood in. I jotted down a few notes quickly, and continued to just chill. Several articles, later written, were born that evening having been completely blocked earlier.
Now, before you start wondering where I’m going with this, no, I’m not saying that every time you have writers block or are stuck in some aspect of your work or life that you should pour yourself a glass of wine. Not at all.
What I’m pointing out is that many of us push ourselves really hard to get results, to build our businesses, take care of our families, do well at our jobs, look after all the day to day stuff that we all think we have to do, and sometimes we forget to chill out. We become wound up, stressed, agitated, frustrated, angry, depressed, or however it happens to show up for you. Then we become impaired, unproductive, the best parts of us become unavailable, and we’re not much fun to be around. All in the name of getting ahead, improving, making life better, or keeping others happy.
There needs to be times when you get to say “screw it” and do what you need to do, for you. For your happiness, sanity, and for your ability to move forward effectively.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are getting this time that you need to recharge, recoup, and relax.
So, here is your challenge – if you are not getting the time that you need, make it.
Block out time in your schedule. Organise with your partner to take turns looking after the kids so you can both have time out. Get a babysitter. Hire someone to clean your house or do the extra work. Ask yourself – “do I really need to be doing what I think I need to be doing, or is that just a story?” Set boundaries around your work hours and stick to them, whether you’re an employee or a business owner or both. Just do it. No BS excuses. There is always a way. You can work it out. Do it now.
Just chill out!