I read an article about Randi Zuckerberg (entrepreneur and sister of Mark) with the title “Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3. Here’s the tweet that inspired the article:
The entrepreneur’s dilemma:
Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep.
— Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg) December 9, 2011
Excusing the hater part of me that was like “yeah sure Randi, you are wealthy and probably have tons of assistance.” I nodded in agreement. I think this something that affects everyone, but definitely people working as entrepreneurs or in the startup world, where work is a lifestyle, whether you like it or not.
Working for myself and running TLF has been great for me on a lot of levels but the balance I guess I used to have is not even something I can think about these days. A lot of things have fallen by the wayside as I focus more energy on TLF and my work at Cultural Pulse. Back when I was working at an office, I feel like I seemed to have more structured time to work out. Now I feel like carving out time to run is harder when I have a ton of e-mails to answer and expenses to track and phone calls to sit in on, in addition to actually doing the work. These days, I will choose sleep over exercise, because lack of exercise I can bounce back from but lack of sleep will mess me up for ages.
I spend about 10%-25% of each day dealing with my eye problem, which sometimes involves actually dealing with it up often just includes explaining to people what’s wrong with me or trying to play it off in front of people for whom trying to explain it would cause me too much stress. So there’s that. Since I don’t have kids, that’s a major ball I don’t juggle but I know so many people who do.
I am trying to get better about not beating myself up about not being on top of things all the time. I sometimes go longer than I want to without talking to my family on the phone, or seeing some of my friends, I just got back to the gym after a two-week hiatus (I was sick part of the time, but… yeah), I haven’t picked up my bass in a couple of months, and I have a bunch of TLF e-mails to answer. And I am currently doing this with one contact in, so with 50% less functioning eyesight. Even now, though, making that list makes me feel guilty about what I could be doing instead of writing this blog post.
When it comes to the “pick three” idea, though, I get it. Especially for entrepreneurs, you usually have to give something up in order to focus on the success of your business/project. Usually I just rank my top three things daily, and if I have to half-ass something, I’ll move it up on the list another day. But I sometimes let things fall of the list for awhile. But I’ll get around to what I need to do, and want to do in due time, I think the hard part is letting myself feel OK with not being on the ball all the time and knowing that it will get done eventually, if not immediately.
Anyway, I try not to beat myself up, or be that asshole that nags my friends or colleagues about what they are not doing. I feel we all just have less time, and we do the very best we can with what we’ve got.
I can’t tell you, reader, what to do, but … yes I can. Consider the next time you make a joke berating a friend or loved one about how “busy” they are or whatever that they may be picking their three, and you’re one of the three today, so cut them some slack. And cut yourself slack as well, if you can’t make the gym today, or you would rather see your SO or BFF, or go to the movies, than go to some work thing, then don’t feel like you are bad at your job. It’s OK for us to nurture our non-work selves and … frankly, to half-ass it now in favor of whole-assing it later, when it matters more.