We don’t all need to be going at it a hundred percent of the time at a hundred miles per hour. The ‘hustle’ is glorified in the media, in stylised quotes on social media, and by coaches that surmise that if you aren’t working 100 hour weeks you are not putting in your “all”. There is something to be said for hard work and I believe that dreams don’t work unless you do but while we are telling this to ourselves in the hope to stay motivated it feels impossible to live up to these expectations.
At the same time we are told the wisdom of balance. We are selling, teaching or engaging in sharing the message of that balance and sustainability. We believe in wellness and yet we do not allow ourselves this luxury.
I’ve been there and struggle with this infinit stretch between the polar opposite advice. What I do know is that I create my best work when I come at it a fresh, when I have taken time to actually relax and not just stare at a screen (computer or otherwise).
The way I have tried to make it unavoidably simple is to set up a schedule. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive as a creative and an entrepreneur that freedom should come top of the luxuries we have provided to ourselves. I get it completely and this is why although I am giving this sound advice, I fall off the wagon now and again when the lure of the lie in calls me or the television producers choose to put a cliff-hanger at the end of the episode forcing me to watch another. When I do make the effort is is 100% worth it. My thoughts come in clearer and productivity rockets.
Here’s how you begin. Make a list of things that make you feel whole. An exercise that doesn’t make you regret lacing up the trainers? A hobby you used to induldge in but no longer make time for? That exhibition you keep meaning to visit? Or even that new restaurant that is getting rave reviews? Here’s the good part, you can do all of it and it will actually be helping your work. Next step, make time for it. This may mean getting up an hour earlier so that you can fit in that yoga practice or blocking off one day a month to take a trip out of town. From my screen here in Oslo I can already imagine you screaming out that yes this sounds wonderful, but I have a house/pet/child/business to look after and run, I am all out of time but believe me it is doable.
Here’s how and why. Once a very wise friend told me when I was going overboard on my list of priorities, that I am no good to anyone if I don’t “put on my own mask first”. What she was referring to was the message you hear when you board a plane. The instruction that if the masks deploy, you must put on your own before assisting others. Why does this make sense, and the moral of the story? You are no good to yourself and or others if you don’t take the time to look after yourself.
There have been writers that have written whole books before the crack of dawn and before going to a full-time job. Artists that trained for their masterpieces while travelling on public transport every morning. And successful business woman and men that have taken care of their best assest before taking on the to do list of the day.
Wherever you can find a pocket of time, book in a slot to live that balanced life.