Avoid Burnout: Be selfish at 5AM

You’ve been working and working and you just can’t seem to get ahead. Up early and working late but you still can’t manage to get your to-do list under control. It’s overwhelming and discouraging. How is it ever going to change? You can feel it — you’re headed for burnout.

There’s one small change that can help you to break that cycle. Reserve your best, uninterrupted time for yourself.

If you are best in the morning, then be selfish at 5AM. If you are a night owl, then reserve 9 − 11PM as your selfish time. But reserve it and hold it sacred.

What do I mean by “be selfish”?

Don’t work on the deliverable that’s due tomorrow, don’t work on the problem that your team member left you a voicemail about, and please don’t go through your email inbox. All of that stuff will be there tomorrow. All that stuff is what’s giving you that “burnt-out” feeling.

Instead, work on your dream.

You didn’t start this business to be buried by email and working on PowerPoint presentations at 5AM. You had a dream. What was it?

What’s that one thing that you’ve been dreaming about adding to your business? What’s the one change that could make all the difference for your business? A new product? A different message? A different alignment of personnel? Work on that.

Or maybe it’s outside the realm of business, maybe it’s planning a vacation, or looking for a vacation home, or writing poetry. Work on that.

Think of the things that would move the ball forward a mile and not an inch. Think of the things that will make a big difference. Have you been planning to write a book, or a TED talk, or a Manifesto? Work on that.

Squeeze out a little time every day to stop racing the hamster wheel faster, and to start building something new.

Be selfish. It just might save you.

//Hat tip to Jon Acuff who originally coined the phrase that I use as the title of this post. And for the interview that sparked my idea for this post! ~ Thanks Jon

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