Both a blessing and a curse, I’ve never been able to relax. I’ve always hated naps, even as an infant and growing child, and I’d always joke that “sleep is for the weak.” It’s funny, because you often hear so many people say, “There are just not enough hours in the day!” I can tell you that simply isn’t true. We have plenty of time, we just don’t (usually) use it wisely.
When I started as a freshman in college, I was overwhelmed and anxious with the number of tasks I had to complete on a daily basis. There was way too much on my plate. Truthfully though, there wasn’t, and I later realized I could stand to do even more – if that’s what I wanted. Now before I go on, let me make something clear: You do not need to catch every ball! I stay active and busy with the things I love. I don’t fill my time with unnecessary requests and hindrances. Be sure to keep this distinction clear if you’re planning to start a few new projects or add a bit to your typical workload.
I technically work both 9 – 5 and 5 – 9. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later, the timetable fluctuates. I work your standard full-time job during the day, and come home to four ongoing side hustles, which I work on at my leisure. It sounds insane, but I absolutely love it. I do this because I hope to one day soon become an entrepreneur, my very own boss, and I don’t think you can ever have enough experience when trying to build a business. I know there are a lot of you in a similar space who struggle to get started, whether it’s because of fear, intimidation, lack of creativity, or anything else. I’m here to help you out and share the tips that have helped me in recent months. Like Shia LaBeouf always says, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it!”
Lack of Discipline
This is a hard skill to develop, but a vital one. You are in charge of your own life and you have a series of decisions to make throughout the day. In order to get shit done, you’ll need to follow a semi-strict schedule. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but don’t aimlessly sit on your phone or spend every night at the bar. You need to find the time to work on what’s important. I dedicate a few hours every night to get ahead on my projects. If during the week I feel I’m in a good place, I won’t feel guilty taking a night or two off. If you find yourself struggling to complete tasks, start small.
Don’t make excuses. No one wants to hear the half-baked, poorly executed justifications for why you’re behind on something. It’s important to take ownership and do what you say you will. Can’t is the real C word and if you insist on limiting yourself and falling to excuses, you’ll never expand or grow. Push yourself to reach your goals, even if it means moving some other things around. Being malleable is a requirement.
Burnout will leave you feeling drained and frustrated, so don’t overdo it. I designate a set time every night to shut down and disconnect. Some nights are easier to do this than others, but I still make sure there’s time for me. Work isn’t everything, and if you’re digging yourself into a sad, exhausting hole, then your projects aren’t worth all the effort anyway. Be kind to yourself and accept when you need to take a break. Give yourself a personal day if you need it.
Fear is almost always the dominant factor in whether or not a person starts a major project. It’s so easy to say “I’m not good enough” or “I’m too inexperienced.” Failure is a common and necessary fact of life and I actually encourage it. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to soften the blow where possible, but failure results in invaluable lessons learned and a better understanding of where to go next. I’m 22 years old and working to get my own business of the ground in the next few years. People tell me I’m probably too young for that, but I won’t know unless I try. If anything is worse than failure, it’s regret. So why not give it a go?
I encourage you all to think about these four productivity pitfalls when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life or like you’re doing things all wrong. Taking up a few new projects, big and small, is completely possible.