In the times you are supposed to rest and relax, you think you are not doing enough for your business. When the work time comes.. you feel exhausted.
Sounds similar? Okay, come in.
Most of the time, we don't like the things restricting us, we don't like rules, routines. No no, it's not for us. We like freedom and flexibility. "9 am-5 pm job". What a boring phrase right? We think rules and routines kill our creativity. Our time is scheduled and there is no space to breathe. So our freedom is stolen and we don't accept that.
We like flexibility, but it might ruin our lives actually. We might end up with a big loss while feeling "free". Flexibility is very open to abuse. It can be a source of distraction if we are not careful.
Especially in startup life, our lives become work. We don't have a sense of weekend or holiday mostly. There are goals and targets so we just can't stop. But it's a really good thing to work on the weekend?
I think, not.
Let me explain how did it go with me, hope it resonates on your end as well. When I don't separate weekends from weekdays. It gives me a good sense of I am fully dedicated to my work, my plans and goals, etc. But I often get burned out and become aggressive to my team. I lose my willpower and I go to my office room with low energy.
I don't know if you ever come to that state of mind. But if you just insist on this situation and try to push more. What happens is you feel the responsibility and pain about time, plans and tasks to be done, but you just can't do anything. Your body and brain just can't take more. So you understand it's time to rest. This kind of ups and downs are bad for your mental and body health.
But what to do?
Develop routines that will give you a sense of satisfaction that you've done enough. When your brain says; "No! I need to work more". Remember that you're stealing from the next work session by not resting this time.
Routines are not boring, they are life-saving habits. You need to build routines that involve rest and work. Routines create a kind of inner discipline that you respect your work time and rest time. If you've done your routines. You will know you've done enough for today and deserved some rest without any demons in your mind.
When it's work time, you will remember this is a limited time. You know you can't use the whole day or week to finish your job. So it creates a kind of "FOMO" to get things done.
Your brain develops more focus and you get things done as much as possible.
I suggest using the following rules while developing your routines.
It's all about putting a separator between time for entertainment and work. You can design your day as 45 min work and 10 min short breaks and you repeat this 5-6 times a day. Then you are good to go for entertainment stuff.
Does it really work? Is that simple?
I know it's not that easy. Our brains are lazy, when it sees a difficult task it likes to postpone it to 5 min later, 10 min later, or just a later time in the day. Frequently you see that task is postponed to tomorrow. When our brain decides to postpone, it finds a place to escape. This place is mostly an online newspaper or Twitter, Instagram, etc.
I call these moments "escape moments". Time-boxing makes sure you blocked those websites or apps for a specific time period. So you crash your ass and do the work.
So basically you promise yourself that you will focus on the next 45 minutes for that specific job and you will not run away. If you can't avoid escape moments I recommend using some browser extensions that will block websites and apps. Also, remind yourself that the only way to reach your goals is to get the work done in front of you.
I recommend that stay in one context for a timebox. I don't mean it should be one task but if you are coding just collect tasks that involve coding in the same timebox. If you need to write emails, you can just collect them in another timebox.
Why I am saying this? Context switching is costly for our brain. Each work context has its own variables. So boot loading our brain with new variables frequently will end up with low-quality work. For ins. if you are making a side project. Just keep side project stuff in different timeboxes than your full-time job. If you are creating content and writing code, put them in separate timeboxes.
I hope my post creates awareness about developing focus, avoiding distractions and keeping work-life balance.
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