“I’ll sleep when I’m dead”: Why do we feed into this toxic concept?

We always see these type of concepts, especially on social media. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. “I have to get out and get it or someone else will”. I absolutely get the sentiment, but when is it too much? Where do we draw the line between being your best and damn near killing yourself to be the best? I think it’s so easy to fall into that trap of having to constantly be on the go when you really don’t. Yes, be the best at what you do. Yes, put in the hard work. Yes, reach for excellence. However, don’t burn yourself out. What good will you be to your business if you can’t even think straight half of the time, or you’re miserable from working so much? Are you really going to wait until retirement to enjoy your success? I say hell no! You need to make time for yourself, or all of it can come tumbling down in an instant.

It’s taking me a long time to get to that place of where it’s okay to take a break. I learned, it’s okay to switch my schedule around to give myself a little more self-care. When I first started my business, the hustle was in overdrive because I didn’t have any clients and I didn’t know if my business would even take off. Of course when you start something as major as beginning a business, everything is going to be urgent. You want everything to perfect, you don’t want to make any mistakes and most of all you want clients! That’s all well and good, but stressing 24/7 is not the move. I would go to sleep worrying about if things were going to turn out okay. I would wake up stressed because I didn’t have a new client yet. It was seriously taking a toll on my mental health, as well as my physical. I had to take a step back and breath. This honestly didn’t happen until a few weeks ago. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m having a lot less stressful days than I used to before.

These are a few things I’ve been trying to stick to that have helped me unlearn this toxic idea of constantly working 24/7:

1. Sometimes you just need to clear your schedule. I work a certain amount of hours per week. My plan was to work all of those hours in two days and have the rest of my week free. That was my first mistake. I have this thing where I don’t like work to just sit there, and I don’t like knowing something is left undone. But I realized it’s okay to space things out. I pride myself on having a quick turnaround but at what cost? I would also wake up having the crappiest day but would push myself to work and hate every second of it. I absolutely never hate the actual work, it was just my emotions taking the driver seat and blocking my productivity. Now, I will clear my entire schedule and move everything to another day if I feel like that. It’s okay to do this if you don’t have an urgent deadline. I had to tell myself this over and over again and it’s made some of my weeks a lot better.

2. Realizing things will come when they’re supposed to. In my head, I need to be a million dollar agency tomorrow. That’s definitely not how that works. I had to tell myself that it’s great to have goals, BUT goals of that magnitude are probably going to take more than a month to accomplish. I always feel like I’m not doing enough and this is what causes me to get frustrated when things aren’t happening as quickly as I want them too. Sit back, relax and it will happen. Trust me! When it does, it’s the best feeling in the world.

3. I can only do so much. There are sometimes when I would put too much stress on myself about the tasks I was completing. I always thought the result wasn’t good enough, and that I needed to completely re do it. Sometimes I wouldn’t receive the feedback I needed and would stress out about it. This was a huge thing that would bring on the stress, and I’m glad I created my imaginary SOP on how to deal with it. I can only do so much with what I’m given, and I’m also not perfect. So sometimes a revision will need to happen. It’s not the end of the world! It’s important to make my work a priority but not to the point where I stress myself out about it.

4. Get out. Working from home is great, but taking a break isn’t the same as if you were taking one at a regular 9-5. I would log out of my work, but still sit at my desk eating or, checking my phone. So it didn’t really feel like a break to me. Running to the store, or even taking a nap is so needed sometimes. I honestly didn’t realize how much I needed it until I started to make that mandatory for myself. I think my lightbulb moment was when a friend came to visit from out of town and invited to hangout at the hotel pool. Nothing fancy. That day made me feel so relaxed and recharged! Not only did I get to see a friend, but I also turned my brain off for a second and showed myself a little TLC. If you own your own business or work from home, please give yourself an actual break and allow yourself to enjoy it!

5. Allow yourself to enjoy your wins (even the small ones). In the mist of us grinding 24/7, we don’t leave time to actually enjoy what we’ve been accomplishing. We are so obsessed with accomplishing huge goals, we often take away the importance from our smaller accomplishments. In the midst of a meltdown last month, I took a quick look through my clients and realized I reached my goal of replacing the income I lost during covid.  I was in my feelings so much, that I didn’t even realize that I met my goal. This is what happens when you are on the grind and have tunnel vision. You might miss out on a win. No matter how small it is, a win is a win. Enjoy it! You deserve it!

I’m still a work progress, but every day I take another step to make sure I’m not overworking myself or,  overlooking myself. It will take time to unlearn this concept, but when you do, it will truly make a difference in the way you work. Take time to yourself! I promise the work will still be there and it will be okay.

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