I was once a workaholic.
I worked not only because I loved my work, but also because so many of the details of my life were messy. My marriage was unraveling, my money management was terrible, and my to-do list had no end in sight. I was totally overwhelmed, and I obsessed over my work in an attempt to feel some small degree of control.
One night, I was invited to a dinner party of entrepreneurs where the rule was that we couldn’t talk about business. As I was getting ready, I imagined what we’d discuss and a wave of sadness hit me: I had nothing left to talk about.
There had been a time, just a few years before, when I was passionate about a lot of things. I was designing jewelry, I had taken up photography and mixed-media collage, I was performing at poetry slams, and I was passionate about the things that drove my desire to start my business: environmental sustainability and whole-food nutrition.
Then I became an entrepreneur. I focused nearly all of my energy on learning about marketing, sales funnels and opt-in conversions. I spent nearly all of my time slumped behind a laptop in pajamas. I had allowed my life to become so dull that nearly every conversation I had was about business, and the pajama-wearing-hasn’t-showered-or-eaten-a-proper-meal-in-2-days-because-she’s-in-the-middle-of-a-launch me was really missing the old me.
A lot of people say, “Yeah, but that’s what you have to do when you start a business.”
Yes, you have to be willing to hustle, but productivity isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing better.
There’s an insidious belief that to “make it” in business, you have to put 100% into your work. But 100% is all you have, and if your business gets everything, there’s nothing left for rest, play, rejuvenation, romance, relationships, education, or art. If you focus exclusively on your business, you’ll destroy everything else that’s important to you.
I’ve seen so many women completely burn out, fry their adrenals, and dry up from the waist down in order to focus on their work. And once you burn out, it’s a very long road to recovery. It’s a completely unworkable approach not only for our health and relationships, but also for our businesses.
Being a workaholic is unsustainable.
I reached the breaking point. I found myself sick with bronchitis for 3 months, I missed one of my best friend’s weddings, I neglected my marriage until it spiraled into divorce, and I was a health coach who wasn’t getting enough sleep or exercise. I rarely took time to play. I felt dull, bored and boring.
4 EASY WAYS TO START HAVING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS:
1. Infuse more beauty into your life
When you consciously surround yourself with beauty, you feel more inspired and alive. There are simple ways you can bring more beauty into your life: wearing something you feel fantastic in, eating beautiful food on beautiful dinnerware, buying yourself fresh flowers, and visiting art galleries.
2. Go for a long walk every day
Walking with your eyes up — not staring at your phone — brings you into the real world where real life is happening. And you know what? Real life is quite interesting! Each day, go for a walk and look around. Get curious about the world around you. Curiosity paints life with color, brightening up the dull spots.
3. Make time to play each week
Too many entrepreneurs sacrifice friendship for their to-do list, but friends are here to keep you sane. Don’t be too busy to play. If you tend to book your schedule to the brim, schedule rock-solid plans a few weeks in advance, so there’s something on the calendar every week. Have your plans begin by 6pm at the latest, forcing you to end work at a reasonable time.
4. Have a non-business hobby
With all my travel, I’ve had a tough time maintaining a hobby, and it’s made a negative impact in my life. I’ve learned that no matter what, this is so important, as it gives us something outside of work and day-to-day “stuff” to focus on, and it offers so much in return. So, what have you been wanting to play with? Now’s the time to start.
—> In the comments below, share what you’re going to do to bring more life into your life, or any tips you have for the rest of us. I can’t wait to read what you have to share!