I follow a ton of entrepreneur-focused social media accounts and I see it all day long: the glorification of early mornings and late nights filled with non-stop "grind" and "hustle".
It's almost as if some are implying that if you're not working yourself to complete exhaustion, and your career isn't your number one priority, you don't want it bad enough and you likely won't succeed.
But here's the thing, it's simply not true.
Yes, there will be days, weeks, or maybe even a month or two you'll feel like you're killing yourself just to keep up- that's just the way it goes sometimes when you're running your own show.
Heck, that's how I feel RIGHT NOW.
I've been working seven-day weeks for the past month because that's what my work load requires at the moment.
Key word: moment.
I know it won't be like this forever because, for me, that kind of lifestyle isn't healthy and will undoubtedly lead to burn out.
I'll fine-tune something in my schedule, whether that means outsourcing another task or finally investing in the automation tool I've been eyeing- and I'll get back into a manageable routine.
Zig Ziglar often refers to "the wheel of life" in his motivational speeches. Each spoke on the wheel represents the areas in your life (career, financial, spiritual, physical, mental, family, social) and the idea is that each area must be addressed in order to achieve a balanced, successful life.
Otherwise, if you focus all of your energy on a few spokes, and neglect the others, the wheel goes flat and it will take more effort to move your life forward.
This idea rang true for me in my first year of business. While I was putting a ton of effort and time into my career and finances, I was letting other areas go somewhat neglected.
I was missing church, skipping the gym, eating poorly, spending less time with my family, not being present in the time I had with my husband, and losing contact with dear friends.
And what's kind of crazy is it's easy for me to fall into those bad habits.
I genuinely love to work, and since I work from home I often find myself feeling guilty or anxious during what should be my down time, because there is ALWAYS more work that can be done.
But just as Zig preaches, when I allow myself to neglect the other areas of my life that are important to me, my productivity, focus, and drive all suffer.
Once I realized what I was doing wrong, I started planning my days and weeks to include time in each of the areas of my life that are important to me, and a really interesting thing started to happen.
When I committed to a schedule that included gym time, date nights, dinner with friends, me-time, etc., I started working even more productively because I had set actual work hours.
Obviously, my plan is not perfect by any means, like right now. There's definitely an ebb and flow in my routine management.
But at least now I'm aware of the areas I need to work on to feel that balance, so when I'm out of it, I know where to refocus.
And of course what's required to achieve a healthy balance varies per person.
The point is, it starts with knowing yourself and becoming acutely aware of the things that give and take away from your energy. Once you identify your specific needs, you can then create and commit to a schedule that works best for you.