When you are slogging away in the trenches, some days all you want is to hurry up and be successful already! For the results to come now not in a week, month or several years time. Today was one of the days for me. I was feeling tired and irritable after several consecutive days of having my nose to the grindstone with a number of deadlines on the go, coupled with a sudden September heatwave. With the air humid and heavy my mind simply couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t even read a book, which for me is saying a lot!
Trying to work through a state of tiredness is pointless, tasks take twice, three times as long. When I try to force myself I become easily distracted as my mind flits around worrying about what I still have to do, and longing for the day when I have my super successful empire and people around to take away some of the burden (ah, don’t you just love daydreams!). But seriously, forcing yourself to work through something when your mind shuts down can, and usually will result in mediocre work.
Tiredness and in its extremes exhaustion is a killer of productivity. It is your body alerting you to the fact that you are overworked, but that constant on the go is a factor of entrepreneurship, especially in the early stages when many have no-one to delegate to, making it important to make time to look after your mental and physical well-being.
The best thing to do when this happens is to step away from the task, your desk, studio. Change your environment and take some time to rest your mind and tackle it afresh the following day, or if your schedule does not permit you to take a long break take a walk, meditate, do what you need to do to switch off and just breathe for those precious few minutes you have.
I realise that this is easier said than done, and I wish I listen to my own advice more often! Because if I stop working I usually end up feeling guilty that I am not working. I think that as entrepreneurs especially when working from home we often feel that we have to fill every minute of our working day with a task regardless of whether we are being productive or not. And it doesn’t help if family see any breaks you take as you being free to run errands and so forth.
I have to remind myself that the beauty of working for myself is that I have the flexibility to pick and choose how I want to work, I can adjust my schedule to accommodate unproductive days and maximise productive ones and I should not have to feel guilty about having made that choice.
– Tapiwa Matsinde