Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Habits of a highly productive entrepreneur: Do better work by taking time off

How does this affect our approach to education?


Habits of a highly productive entrepreneur: Do better work by taking time off

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I can remember it clear as day. The first year of IWearYourShirt was coming to a (fun and profitable) end and people were emailing in to congratulate me on pulling off such a crazy idea. Besides the accolades, there was a message that got repeated over and over:
“Jason, you did a great job with the first year of IWearYourShirt, but you need to plan to take some time off! Working 365 days a year isn’t sustainable and you need to give yourself a break.”
I read those emails, and there were lots of them, and thought to myself: “Pshhh, only normal people need days off, I’m superhuman!”
I was dead wrong. 
Throughout 2010 fatigue started to set in. I started to have trouble sleeping. I started to have a hard time thinking up creative ideas for my daily videos.
I missed out on some big opportunities because I didn’t have the creative energy to respond to yet another email. I got really bad at juggling life and work. I’m honestly surprised I was able to keep it all together.
In 2011, I made the decision to remove one day each week from the IWearYourShirt calendar (Saturday). Removing Saturdays meant I would lose around $35,000 in revenue. That’s not an easy pill to swallow, but I knew I couldn’t continue working myself to the bone for another 365 days straight.
While that one day off a week was helpful, the damage was already done. I couldn’t recharge my batteries completely on one day per week, especially after 730+ days without a break. Plus, those Saturdays became an attempt to try to get ahead of the game, so I ended up working anyway (ugh).
This trend continued until 2013 when I simply couldn’t do it anymore and in May of 2013 I hung up my final sponsored t-shirt. Unfortunately, I had exhausted myself beyond repair when it came to IWearYourShirt.

So how does this apply to you?

I’m sure you aren’t planning a 365-day-a-year business (please don’t!), but no matter what you are doing, you need to take time to recharge your batteries and take a break.
Now you might be thinking, “Jason, I can’t plan to take time off, I need that time to make money to support my business, my family, etc.”
I’m here to tell you that you and your business will survive if you plan accordingly. And you’ll create better work with less effort. Here are a few tips:
1. Schedule your time off and then take that time off
calendar 520x315 Habits of a highly productive entrepreneur: Do better work by taking time off
It’s easy to fill every hour with work, checking email, brainstorming, building, coding, etc. But if you don’t schedule breaks for yourself you’ll hit a wall that you simply can’t ever get over. Schedule time off from your business and be diligent about using that time to relax, enjoy time with friends and family, and just clear your mind.
This doesn’t have to be a vacation in the Bahamas either. Staying off your computer and social media on the weekends is a great start.
Why not take a road trip to see a friend in a nearby city? Take your family to a beach or lake. Go camping (in your backyard even). Don’t think about taking time off as an extravagant vacation, think about it as time to disconnect from your work.

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