So many of us pride ourselves on having a strong and focused work ethic. We always want to go above and beyond and give everything of ourselves to our work and our creative endeavours. We may even laugh when someone tries and reminds us to take a little rest from time to time, or even embrace a little of that work/life balance everyone is taking about. But a huge thing I’m learning recently is that the quality of my work ethic isn’t related to how much or how little rest I build into my schedule, and that without that rest I’ll find myself burned out, exhausted, and unable to really do the work that I feel inspired to do.
I assumed that needing rest made me weak. It sounds silly now even typing it, but I’m sure any other creative entrepreneurs out there will completely relate to this warped idea we have that our income and our growth relies solely on how much we can push ourselves to keep giving and giving to our work and our business. We live in a culture where it’s brag-worthy news when someone has put in a 15 hour day, or only working on 3-4 hours sleep so they can launch their new product or creative endeavour. I’ve fallen into this trap too - feeling like I must have really done a hard days work when I work past the 12 hour mark. But all I find on those days is that I’m neglecting self care and time with the people I love for the sake of an ego boost and the onset of burnout.
I won’t lie - I definitely find a correlation between how much work I put into my business and how much my business then grows and makes financially that month. For a while I’ve felt trapped into this cycle of believing that I must work myself into the ground to build a profitable business and career for myself. This is my season of hustle and grit and I am crazy grateful for this opportunity to work damn hard to build a business that I love, but I’m learning that for it to be a business that I love, I have to prioritise my life, my self care, and the people I love as much as I do my business. So I refuse to believe that the only way for me to build a profitable and thriving creative business is to work every hour under the sun and forgo actually living this life that I’m working so hard to build.
I haven’t found all the answers yet, but I just know that there’s a routine, and a process, and a mindset for me to explore that will free me from feeling like my business is so dependent on my time and my energy to the point that it drains it completely. After working non-stop for most of 2015 so far, this past week I allowed myself to embrace a little rest. I respected my body and my mind enough to build in boundaries when I needed them, to not push myself to the limit when my health needed to be my main concern, and even take a few days away from work to spend time with my favourite people. And you know what I learned? That a little rest is key if I really want to maintain momentum, passion, and motivation in my working life. And work will always be there when I return to it - it won't fall apart as much as we tell ourselves it will if we take a day or two away.
There will definitely still be some 15 hour days ahead of me, and I’ll probably always struggle with finding that work/life balance we all crave, but I want this post to be a reminder to you that it’s okay to embrace a little rest from time to time. I know you’re working hard to make big and beautiful things happen, and you know as much as I do that it takes hard work and some serious hustle and grit along the way, but don’t be afraid of taking a little time to rest, recharge, and actually live that life that you’re working so hard to build.
Do you struggle to make time in your schedule for rest?