You may be working too much and forgetting to make time for rest.
Throughout my career, people have told me this all the time. Some still do.
I’ve been told to take it easy, to make time for rest, to do other things I love outside of work.
working hard is a core value
Reflecting on my younger years, I always knew that hard work needed to happen to reap results. I worked at least 30 hours a week while I was in school. Then 10-14 hour days in financial services was standard. Yet, no one ever told me I was overdoing it back then.
I didn’t see the need to make time for rest.
Then I got into business and had to keep on keeping on. In the end, I faced a lot of judgement for working too hard. But I realised that you can work hard and also make time for rest. If you don’t, you could get burnt out.
how to make time for rest
I’ve stop trying to justify my work ethic to anybody. I’m now an advocate for rest just as I am still a champion for working hard.
But now that I have a grip on things, I work when I need to, and I take time off when I need to. I recognise how important rest is for recharging, sparking creativity and reducing stress levels.
I don’t want to be guilty of workism, a term used to describe when your entire identity is defined by your work (Check out this podcast to learn more about it!).
Because I know that there is so much more to life! And I want to make time for all those things that are important to me.
Here’s how I do it….
1. live one life
Work is just one activity in our lives. Each of us will have multiple other activities, whether that’s family and friends, school, hobbies, or anything else that requires our time and devotion.
All together, these activities make up a person’s life.
To make it easy for me to look after all of the things that are important to me, I use one calendar for everything. It includes work commitments, personal commitments and deadlines.
Having everything in one place makes it so much easier to see where I may be trying to do too much.
And it also lets me set boundaries.
Each week, there are activities in my calendar which are non-negotiable, meaning everything else will get scheduled around these activities. My non-negotiables are times I carve out for myself. They include weekly acupuncture sessions, several workouts per week, and a couple hours at the nail salon every 3-4 weeks.
And unless I have a tight deadline, I no longer work past 5PM. Plus I take Fridays and weekends off.
2. don’t be a slave to technology
Think about how much time you spend on your phone daily. Probably a lot! This doesn’t include time that you may also be sitting in front of a laptop, checking emails or surfing the web.
There is an expectation for us to always be online and always available.
And it can make it really difficult to turn off!
I try to limit this grasp that technology has on me.
First, I’ve disabled all notifications on my phone, except for WhatsApp. This reduces distractions and means that I only go into apps when I am interested in looking at them.
WhatsApp has always been my primary mode of communication with the friends and family I have around the world, so I want to be accessible through it. But not to everyone, all the time. I made a point to have a separate WhatsApp account for my business.
By creating a separate account for my business number, I no longer notice nor feel the need to respond when clients or partners send messages out of hours. And I can continue to use my personal WhatsApp account without worrying about people seeing that I’m “online”.
Second, when I do take a break, I delete social media apps and leave my laptop at home. This decreases my dependency on technology and helps to reset the unhealthy habit of being always “on”.
3. choose wisely
With such limited time available to look after all these parts of our lives which are important to us, it’s so important to spend this time wisely.
Since becoming a business owner, the people I choose to spend my time with has certainly changed. I prioritise people who nurture me rather than drain me and people whose company I genuinely enjoy. I spend time with a lot of people who understand the challenges of entrepreneurship. And I avoid those who are naysayers or who bring judgement and negativity with them.
I just don’t have time for bad vibes!
It’s also important that I spend my free time choosing activities that I enjoy, rather than any I feel obliged to do.
I workout regularly because I find that it provides ongoing mental and physical benefits to me. I cook and bake often because I find it meditative. I also enjoying entertaining friends in my home. I can listen to music for hours, getting lost in the rhythm and the beat. All of these things help me to recharge.
make small changes
When you decide it’s time to improve your work-rest cycle, don’t get into it in one go and expect to build routine. Old habits take time to break and new habits take time to form.
So just start with one thing!
Maybe you want to create some non-negotiable slots in your calendar. Or make changes to your dependence on technology. Or change who you spend your time with.
Start with one.
Whatever it is, allow time to experience success with that one thing, and then build upon that with something else.
over to you
What change would you like to make so that you can get a life? Share in the comments below.