Finding the Sweet Spot Between Following Your Dream, and Living Your Life.
The information in this post is nothing new to most of you — if you’ve been in the business long enough. It’s just my experiences with it. If you’re able to find a novel way of doing things after reading this article, then all the better. Who knows, for some of you that are just starting out, maybe you’ll find something useful.
I’m in the process of reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book ‘Crush It!’. For those of you that don’t know who Gary is, he’s an insanely successful ‘vlogger’ and social media savant who teaches his ‘hustle’ philosophy to business owners and entrepreneurs. Vaynerchuk often exclaims that with enough passion, almost anyone has a chance at creating a profitable business.
Gary has a few rules that he says everyone needs to be aware of if they want to be successful in business. Funnily enough, the first rule — the one he says trumps all others- doesn’t have anything to do with business. This rule is simply, “family first”. Family comes before everything, and once you have this locked down, everything else can follow.
I know how hard it can be to disconnect. Especially when you’re truly passionate about something but, what good is reaping all the benefits of success if there’s no one around to share it with, simply because you didn’t take the time to enjoy life?
Here are a few things I’ve learned along he way, while following my passion that have helped me achieve a better work / life balance.
DON’T GET SUCKED IN TO THE SOCIAL MEDIA VORTEX
While it can be hard, try not to spend too much time getting lost in things like Facebook and Twitter. Sure, for small businesses, they’re an invaluable tool in getting your brand message out there, but let’s face it, how many times have you found yourself reading memes and watching cat videos after about 5 minutes of surfing?
Anything on social media can wait a little bit. Try and get your task list situated, check your emails, get your old and new projects set up for the day — then take a look at your posts. Some people like to set aside a particular time, once a day to check social media, then, that’s it. No more until tomorrow.
IF IT CAN BE DONE NOW, DO IT!
I’m sure pretty much everyone has heard the old adage, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?” Unfortunately, this seemingly common sense strategy, it’s overlooked by a lot of people. Present company included.
Plain and simple, if you can do it now, do it. Even if you really don’t want to. You’ll be glad that you did. Because, inevitably, there will be more things that will start piling up on top of it.
FIND A TASK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Some people like pencil and paper, some like post-its, others like apps. Whatever works for you, find some way of keeping track of your to do list.
Right now I’m really digging Insight.ly for my project management. It’s a perfect blend of just enough customizability and not too much. You can link all your contacts, tasks, emails, and attachments to individual projects, and can even set reminders for tasks. They also have a neat workflow option for regularly occurring projects so the task lists are automatically populated.
For tasks not related to a particular project, I use Google Keep. It’s great because it syncs smoothly with my Google calendar and other apps.
SET ASIDE TIME TO ‘SWITCH OFF’
Even though I love what I do, I still need time to take a break from it all. Not only does it give me an a opportunity to reconnect with the family, but it refreshes me and when I get back to work, I feel like I can look at it with a brand new pair of eyes.
I try my best to set aside at least one day a week where I completely disconnect from work. This means, not social media, no email, no checking with clients or peaking at projects. In most cases, I’ll even plug my phone in on the night stand and leave it there. If you’re going to take a break from work, go all the way — completely zone out.