Taking time away from your work will make you more efficient when you come back to it.
By Cheryl Clarke (Founder, City Calm)
Most of us live stuck to our daily schedules rushing from activity to activity. Despite the technology that enables us to automate and speed things up, we still just never seem to have enough time.
Last year I was speaking to a journalist at Websummit, a technology conference in Dublin. We were discussing whether technology has helped boost productivity or not, just as her phone buzzed mid-conversation. I’d say not.
Every device we own seems to be buzzing with information overload, so it’s no surprised our minds are, too. Not only are we physically rushing around, but we’re mentally rushing around as well.
For entrepreneurs this is a particular challenge. There is always so much to do and part of the job is to be a strategist, a creator and an executor. So when an email comes in or a new idea pops into our head, we really want to attend to it straight away. The passion and obsession is what drives our business; but if we’re not careful, it can also drive us into the ground.
Extreme Productivity Can Lead to Burnout
Burnout among entrepreneurs is common. There is a strong message out there that working 16-hour days is required for success. Many entrepreneurs adopt this mentality and are happy to brag about the number of hours they “put into” their business.
Believe me, I know how easy it is to get swept up with your business when it becomes the only thing you speak, think and dream about. When you wake up and it's the first thing you do and the last thing before bed. When it gets more attention than your partner (and don’t they let you know about it!)
And I’m not here to say that we shouldn’t work hard. I’m here to say that the result of working too hard is that we become unproductive— and eventually burn out, which is extremely unproductive!
If we could balance our obsessive behavior just a little bit with some mindfulness, we would be a lot more productive — and dare I say happier.
My Own Experiment with Mindfulness
Since I started practicing mindfulness regularly, I’ve experienced some surprising results.
- I prioritize my self care far more regularly giving me more energy
- I am aware of when I am procrastinating or drifting into unfocused mode and can pull myself back
- I regularly get myself to write to do lists and stick to them
- I notice when I feel anxious about not having enough time and can deal with it straight away
- I am much kinder to myself in general
- I have produced triple the amount of content because I have more clarity and am able to focus
- I no longer feel I have to do it all alone and have hired a marketing assistant — earning me an extra 3 days a week!
I encourage you to give it a try.
About the guest blogger: Cheryl Clarke is a meditation teacher and entrepreneur with several startups. She set up City Calm to help entrepreneurs interested in the benefits to begin a practise of mindfulness. Follow her on Twitter at @city_calm.