It’s Saturday morning. Time—10:13 am. And I’m a little ashamed to admit I’ve only been awake for about an hour.
I’m the type of person who is incapable of sleeping in. When I first started caring about building a business, I made myself get up at 6:00 am. Every day of the week. Now though, that’s changed a bit. I’ve found I perform at my absolute optimum by waking up when I’m naturally ready to—that’s usually about 6:45 am to 7:00 am.
Losing that one hour of sleep means that I am completely rested. I arose when my body desired to. Therefore, I just perform better. It’s far better to sacrifice that one hour and be rested than it is to gain that one hour in time—but not be rested.
I also don’t go to sleep until midnight usually, so I’m almost always well short of that “8 hours of sleep” rule—but still feel great.
Again, this conversation would be completely unacceptable if I naturally woke up at 11:00 am. That doesn’t fly in the business world. There must be limits.
But today, something different happened. I woke up at 6:43 am. I got out of bed. Turned the coffee machine on. Fired up the computer, sat down to write…
And there was just nothing. Nothing creative came to me, at all. I felt absolutely gassed and exhausted. Couldn’t tell you why—maybe it was the sprints I ran in the gym yesterday. In any case, I decided I’d just go back to bed for a couple of hours.
This decision was made earlier by the fact that I woke up at 5:20 am one day this week, and also 3:30 am (in that case though, I just worked for 30 minutes and realized I was tired enough to go back to sleep).
Sometimes, when the creativity isn’t there, it’s best to cut yourself a little bit of slack (please note that I said a LITTLE).
Creativity is not a grind that can be forced (usually).
Creativity is not like the gym. It’s not a situation that, even if you don’t really feel like doing it, you can just make yourself do. In the case of the gym, an 80% effort and still doing something is better than nothing at all.
I’m just not sure creativity works that way at all. At least not for me. I usually have to go outside and take a walk, or take a quick 7:00 am nap.
Now, this is completely different from “administrative” work. I’ll use myself as an example. Most of my day does not consist of just writing blog posts. Much of the day is devoted to promoting my current material, editing new stuff, creating a product from scratch, or just answering as many emails as I can (it’s getting harder and harder to respond to them all as I continue to grow).
That is the kind of stuff that you do have to simply grind through. There is no way around it, at all. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up, cupcake.
For example, after this I need to go and edit some posts that my staff writer sent me (5 of them this week). I’m not looking forward to it, but it needs to be done.
Every one of those posts will easily make me $100s over the course of the next year. Taking 15 to 20 minutes each to edit them will pay themselves off over the long term.
What’s the verdict?
I say this often, but it rings true here: the answer is always somewhere in the middle.
How strict does your schedule need to be?
Strict enough that you don’t become a lazy piece of shit, that’s for sure.
Free enough that you’re also not impacting your performance ability.
The entire point of being an entrepreneur is so you can be free. Too many people though (and I’ve seen it several times in just the last year, on the road) treat that freedom as a complete lack of any and all responsibility.
No adherence to any sort of schedule or consistency.
That’s the fast-track ticket to having to return to your desk job, or head home to Mom and Dad if you’re the digital nomad type of person.
You don’t need to follow the “gurus” advice that you need to wake up at 4:30 am and take a cold shower every day, but you do need to find out what works for you. On the flip side, if you just follow blindly, it may not work for you and you may perform worse.
The only way to find out what works for you is to try new things and actually follow through on them.
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