The work-life balance is a myth. There is no world where a “50-50” exists for an entrepreneur. I’ll go ahead and debunk that myth from the start.
There is however an enjoyable life that involves time invested in both areas in a way where both areas can thrive. It involves utilizing your time similarly to how an athlete treats their track sprint workouts.
One great example is this “fun” endurance workout.
- Sprint all out 100 meters all out. Rest the time it took you to run.
- Sprint 200 meters. Rest the time it took you to run.
- Sprint 300 meters. Rest the time it took you to run.
- Sprint 400 meters (one lap). Rest
- Repeat 2 more times.
It’s a brutal workout at times. You are giving all-out bursts, then recovering (or trying to recover), before taking off one more time. The faster you sprint the distance, the shorter your recovery time, the more your lungs and legs burn. And the stronger you become.
It’s a similar approach to how I try to approach my work and “to do” tasks. All out sprints followed by recovery.
This isn’t how I started. I originally just tried to hammer out work all day long. Any time I got tired, I found myself procrastinating with web searches or scrolling social media feeds. I was still at my computer but not “working.” Yet, I thought I was being productive.
I thought wrong.
Taking the marathon approach to my work day proved more harmful than helpful when focusing on tasks. After seeing a few of our team’s creative take a different approach to work (hyper focused in bursts), I decided to try something new. I started focusing on more short “sprints” of work than one long run. I would review my “to do” list, immediately tackle 2-3 small projects, then get up away from the computer screen. Sometimes I would get a snack, other times I would mobilize and stretch. After 5-10 minutes, I returned to the computer for the next task.
I immediately began to notice a difference. My eyes weren’t as tired from constantly staring at a screen all day. I wasn’t as tempted to wander and scroll social media. And more importantly, my “to do” list was rapidly shrinking instead of continuing to maintain its size. The short, bite-sized sessions helped keep me focused and on-task, moving rapidly to complete my projects. I couldn’t procrastinate something because I knew a break – or change – awaited me upon completion. And even better, I wasn’t working late into the night every night like I had been. I was slowly claiming my evening and family time back.
It wasn’t the easiest change of habit, but one that has been crucial to me keeping my sanity. Here are some easy tips for how I made the change:
- Set a timer
The easiest way to remember to “recover” is by setting an alarm in your phone to go off every half-hour. Annoying, yes. But effective? Absolutely. It’ll force you to be more productive during the times you are working and also remind you when it’s time to break.
- Build in “projects” or time for family.
Give yourself something to look forward to during the day. Dinner with your family, date night, or another form of entertainment that evening will further encourage you to “sprint” early in order to relax later.
- Make it routine for 21 days.
That’s how long it takes to form a habit. A solid three weeks worth of sprints in order to better execute in both the short and long-term can pay huge dividends for your business and personal life.
Focus on giving your entire focus to the task at hand for a short period of time. All out. Then recover. I’ve found this approach to be a game-changer in terms of productivity and recovering back time that had been lost.