For the past 3-4 years I have been in full-blown hustle mode working like a mad woman to get my business to a point where it makes money while I’m watching a Jane the Virgin binge on Netflix. (If you haven’t seen it, put it on your “must watch” list!)
When I was in the beginning stages of business I would have killed to have the “luxury problem” of having too many clients and too much work to do. I often felt like I was pretending to be busy with a fake business 😉
But once the clients started coming and the opportunities started knocking, I really struggled to STOP working all of the time.
Fun fact: It’s a slippery slope to say “yes” to a late night client call because, you know, time zones. And you want to be accommodating. Which is a totally reasonable thing to do.
Before you know it, you’ve gone from working once on the weekend to never taking a day off (even if you’re not physically working you’re often mentally working).
I’ve always struggled to find and stick to a daily routine and without any fixed “start” and “stop” times on my work, I wound up sitting in front of my computer all day without doing anything productive.
And then something magical happened – I spent 3 weeks more-or-less without a wifi connection and my business made money! While I was drinking mid-day tea and reading a book!
While I was on my internet-free vacation I promised myself that I would not go back to my workaholic ways upon arriving back home. In order to make that happen, though, I knew that I would need to “re-design” my life.
In essence, I knew that my home environment was full of triggers that would make me want to go back to my habits.
There are 4 things that I’ve done to restructure my environment and enjoy my life:
#1 A Basic Daily Framework
These are the simple “landmark” elements of how I am now structuring my days:
A Simple Morning Routine:
This consists of my quick, 3-part morning ritual of “pee, make bed, and meditate”. So far, this has been a ridiculously easy habit loop to stick with!
Always Take an Hour for Lunch:
I spend this time preparing a good lunch of at least two courses, sit and eat mindfully, and then either go for a walk, run an errand, or read.
Afternoon Snack + Tea Time!
One of my favorite parts of being on vacation in Algeria was how fixed the daily routine was (which is how I realized how badly I needed one). In particular, I enjoyed sitting to have a snack and tea or coffee at 3 or 4pm.
Dinner at 7pm
Again, I find it really helpful to eat my meals at the same time every day. Helps to set new habits and create triggers so that you don’t have to make any decisions.
#2 Lots of Movement breaks
Sir Richard Branson is known for exercising several times per day (and we’re not talking “going for a walk” here. He does intense, sweaty exercises).
Personally, I hate going to the gym and am on doctor’s orders not to run (which is my favorite exercise) so here’s what I’ve been doing instead:
Yoga Mat Always Out
My yoga mat is on the floor in my office 24/7 so that I can take a little yoga break every few hours and stretch out after sitting at the computer for a while.
Walk Everywhere + Enjoy Running Errands
While I was on vacation a French friend of mine told me that she worries about the “Amazon culture” and how we seem to forget that running errands is a healthy part of life. It seems like we’re obsessed with the idea of never leaving our houses.
I could not agree more.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Amazon Prime delivery, but I also make a point to walk to our local open-air market 2-3 times per week to buy food for the next day or two.
Getting out of your house makes you a healthy human for many, many reasons!
#3 Cook more
My poor eating and cooking habits were thrown in my face on multiple occasions during my vacation. I no longer have pride in being a workaholic who doesn’t have time to cook (which I used to wear as a badge of honor).
Let’s be honest: Most people in the western world eat like shit or are so obsessed with calculating their health, nutrition, etc to a point that it becomes a chore. No thanks!
My goal is to eat at home at least 6 days per week and cook from scratch whenever possible. (It certainly helps that I have a partner who loves cooking even more than I do!)
P.S. Cooking dinner is a great trigger to stop working in the evenings!
#4 Remove Temptation to Work
You’d be amazed at how crafty your brain can be at finding access to social media even when there is virtually no internet.
I personally think social media is incredibly dangerous for our mental health, so here’s what I’m doing to limit my own access:
No Social Media on My Phone
I deleted Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.
To prevent myself from logging into Facebook on the browser (instead of in the app) I have a crazy password that I can’t possibly remember and only use the “Private Browsing Mode” in the Safari browser that doesn’t save browsing history. This makes it an extra pain in the ass to log in and prevents me from doing so most of the time.
Unfollowed Everyone on Instagram
Instagram is the only social media app that I didn’t delete from my phone because I can’t update my profile from a computer.
Here’s the thing: I realized that 90% of the time I spent on Instagram was browsing through posts in my feed.
So I decided to delete my Instagram feed by unfollowing 997 people (it’s not personal, I swear!) Sometimes extreme measures need to be taken in order to make a change.
Since deleting everyone I have re-followed 3 or so people and honestly feel no desire to follow anyone else at this point in time.
Logging into Instagram is no longer a satisfying distraction!
You do not in any way, shape, or form have to do these same (and even crazy) actions to reclaim your sanity.
I wanted to write this post to share what I’m currently doing and start a discussion about what it takes to actually live the life you want as an entrepreneur.
The truth, I fear, is that many of our favorite successful business owners are actually drowning in stress that is affecting their relationships, health, and happiness.
Hopefully talking about these things will help us to prevent making that mistake.