Last week I tripped. Hard. This past month has felt like running a marathon at a sprinter’s speed and I finally fell. I got really stressed out and then I got really sick. Having to slow down and take things easier has reminded me that pushing that hard to make things happen doesn’t work in the longterm. Right now I’m prepping to launch our Kickstarter campaign in a mere few weeks, trying to get all of the remaining elements of Eenvoud wrapped up and simultaneously trying to push my fit modeling career to new heights. That may not sound like a lot, but on some days it feels like an ultramarathon.
I often feel like I’m rushing through life; hustling hard to make things happen; trying to squeeze the most out of every hour / every day that I can; working late because I can and waking up tired. But this isn’t fully what the life that I want looks like. I want success as an entrepreneur, but I also want a sense of ease, sleep, health, presence, happiness. Those, to me, are part of success.
I know a lot of people that struggle with this. How can you be super productive, but also live in the moment? How can you push to make things happen, but also be in flow?
I’m still trying to figure this out, but here are a few tips that have helped me.
1. Create a daily work schedule and stick to it, no matter what. Habit creates the space for creativity; similar to the way that wearing the same thing everyday allows you to be more creative. Habit frees up mental space and energy.
“A solid routine saves you from giving up.” -John Updike
2. Exercise in the morning. I do this for three reasons:
- It’s nearly impossible not to be in a good mood after you’ve worked out.
- It wakes me up and boosts my energy for the remainder of the day.
- I don’t have to think about finding the time for it later in the day. Mental space.
3. Include breaks in your schedule. I take an hour long break at lunch and another hour break from 3-4. For a walk to the river, to read on the stoop, to catch up on blogs, to eat chips on the couch, to take a nap. But no working. This ALWAYS helps my productivity, no matter how much I think I can’t afford to take an hour off.
4. Keep lists of what needs to be done for each project and the night before, choose just 1 or 2 things from each to focus on the next day. Schedule them into specific time slots of your day. See 1. Stick to it. I use Asana for this.
5. Be gentle with yourself. I get as much done as I can during the day. If some things don’t get done, I finish them the following day. Living life fully is just as important to me as ticking off all the things on my list. That means fish tacos and a beer at the end of the day (almost always) trumps working for those 2 or 3 or 5 extra (probably stressed out) hours. Allow yourself space for pure enjoyment. It will pay off.
I hope this offers some inspiration for all of those out there creating in our fast-paced world. Run, don’t sprint. Walk if you have to. Make sure to stop and drink some water. Celebrate with tacos. If you have any personal tips, please share the wealth in the comments below.