We have all been conditioned to think we need to work really hard to get what we want. It's the way the world works, emphasis is placed on working harder and longer than anyone else so that you can move up the ranks or appear to be irreplaceable.
Even when we move into self employment, this conditioning can transfer and often we think if we work long hours or extra days we are somehow more worthy of success.
There's a couple of self-employed clients of mine who are susceptible to burn out and exhaustion from overworking. And of course, I have been there too.
In some of my past employment roles I found myself working really long hours, extra days, feeling that it was my responsibility to do so. (Which I now realise was a form of people pleasing) When I did this often my body would force me to take time off by making me ill or by creating severe back pain. It took some time but I finally realised the pattern I was creating and learned to understand what my body was telling me.
I've learned it the hard way, but what I now know is that it doesn't have to be that way. We don't need to work every hour under the sun to bring about success. Efficiency at work is not about time put in, despite wages and salaries being paid per hour (and in self employment charging an hourly rate).
Because I know this to be true, I have vowed to continue to find ways of saving time in my work week and to prioritise my time off.
If you'd like to do the same here's a few ways you can work smarter and not harder.
There is lots of technology available to us now that can make creating a more balanced work-life easier. Scheduling social media posts to publish ahead of time can be a huge time saver. Creating automated email sequences to nurture new customers, or scheduled emails for events and courses are fantastic as the work only has to be done once and it carries on.
These are pretty standard automations that a lot of people use but there are so many more options out there. If there is something you find you are constantly doing and re-doing in your work week, chances are there is a way to automate it. So have a think about how you work and where you might be able to use technology to free up some time.
I highly recommend an automation software called Zapier. (No affiliation, I just enjoy using it)
And simply FYI, This blog post has been automated. Currently I am away on holiday but have scheduled this blog post to publish and post to social media while I'm away. Hurray for technology! :-)
We all have a zone of genius. Your zone of genius is likely to be the thing you enjoy most about what you do, the main body of work that you set out to do. If there are tasks in your day to day work that you don't enjoy or that you find take away from the time you do get to spend on your zone of genius then see if it's possible to either outsource the tasks to an agency or virtual assistant. Or like above outsource it to technology!
Is there something that you offer as part of your business that you no longer enjoy? Or perhaps something that takes a lot of time and effort but isn't creating worthwhile revenue?
Audit your business and analyse what is and what isn't working for you. This may mean making some tough decisions but in the long run will serve you much better. The products and services we offer must be valuable to a client and customer but equally they must be valuable to you. Valuable in a financial sense, but also in terms of enjoyment, growthand fulfilment.
Understand that your free time is just as valuable to your business as your time spent working. If you fail to create enough down time in your day and week exhaustion is inevitable. Allowing yourself to burn out will only lead to illness and forced time off. Time off that you don't get to enjoy because you are unwell.
By ensuring that you have plenty of time away from work, you not only are respecting your health but you are allowing your mind and creativity centres to recharge. Making you more productive and efficient when you are working.
Prioritising FREE time is the only guaranteed way to create more balance in your work week. If your time off is negotiable it will almost always be bumped in your diary for a meeting or for admin work etc. Make it non-negotiable and part of your success strategy!
By the way, free time does not include, doing household chores!
Surrendering is different to inaction. It is so important to take action steps towards your goals, business or otherwise. However it is equally important to release control of the outcome. It's important not to worry or doubt that what you've done or are doing is enough. Let go and allow what is to happen to happen. If, in the end, you don't get the sale or the numbers you want at an event look for the lesson. Look at what happened and the action you took and see if there's a way to improve it for next time round. Try not to change tact in the middle of a plan or get into a cycle of working more to make things happen. Forcing results won't work. Be aware that sometimes things don't work out the way we planned because something better is on its way. Be patient.
Let go of the need to control the outcome, surrender and keep the faith.
Once you let go you'll find you naturally have a lot more time to rest, recharge and take on the world!