“Haley, How do I overcome the productivity mindset that if you work more, that means you are more successful?”
A lot of the media we consume as entrepreneurs tells us that more work equals more success when it comes to productivity. If you work harder, you will be more successful in your endeavors. As good intentioned as this advice is, it is all wrong. Being fed this advice day after day puts us in a space to begin to shame ourselves.
There are two different directions that this shame can take us. Either, we look at it and think that if we work more, we will find success, or we find ourselves in the position that we shame ourselves for working way more than what a “successful” entrepreneur should. Both directions are toxic, and completely non-productive to actually achieving our goals.
If you work more than 4 hours a day, you aren’t a good entrepreneur
Awhile back, I read a book on entrepreneurship that said that if you work more than four hours a day, you weren’t a successful entrepreneur. It said that if you worked more than that four hour work day, you didn’t have things streamlined or automated enough, and therefore were not successful as a business owner. Old Haley used to shame herself so deeply for working extra because of reading that book and taking it to heart. If I worked even a minute over my 4 hour work day, that shame would rear its ugly head and tell me I was failing. Even if I felt inspired, or if I was having fun with the work I was doing, I still felt this immense guilt for going over the “4 hour golden rule”.
Looking at this now, this is total bullshit. I will call that out up-front. I now realize that most people that use that “fear tactic” messaging are trying to sell you something. It’s deceitful, untruthful, and most of all, it is hurtful. You shouldn’t be scared into thinking you need a product or service to make you good enough. You are good enough on your own.
The most important thing I have learned since then is that work shouldn’t be something that you create rules around. There is no room for shame when it comes to work. There shouldn’t be ANY guidelines as to what is good or bad, as long as you are having fun, creating good in the world, and the work you are doing isn’t draining your close relationships.
Which brings me to other side of the coin, when is work TOO much?
If I work more, I will be more successful
Just like limiting your work can be harmful, overworking can also be dangerous, especially if you are using work as an escape from your life. When you do this, work serves as a drug, which never turns out well. There are two different ways that work can become unhealthy.
- If you are trying to use work to achieve a different identity. A lot of this comes from shame and unhappiness about your current life situation. You feel unfulfilled, and believe that work and productivity will be the way to fix this unfulfillment with life. When I worked as a freelance web designer, I was infatuated with work. I fully believed that if I worked harder, I would be happier with where I was at. I finally had to realize that it's not work that gets you to where you want to go, it’s you and your brain that get you to where you want to go. When you switch the vehicle to your brain, your THOUGHTS are what get you to where you want to go.
Here is an example on how just switching your thoughts can lead you to where you want to go: Let’s say you want to get to 1 million dollars, and you are going to work your butt off to get to 1 million dollars. Ask yourself HIGH Quality questions and ask yourself, “What is the simplest, quickest way to get to 1 million dollars?” It all becomes math, and fulfilling the math you streamline, outsource, and automate. None of this means working more, it means being strategic.
Remember, It’s okay to want more. Don’t shame yourself for wanting more. Just learn how to balance that want with appreciation for where you are at and shift your thoughts to actions that are healthy for you.
2. When work becomes an escape for your life. When you have uncomfortable emotions and you want to escape them through work and productivity instead of facing them head on, that’s when work starts becoming a drug that numbs those uncomfortable emotions. I have been there. It doesn’t end up really well. Again, shifting your thoughts and coming up with real, high-quality questions and solutions can be the most productive way to shift from this unhealthy mindset.
The Most Important Thing to Remember
The biggest thing to remember is that You are amazing. Not because you have done anything or worked really hard or have “boosted” your productivity. Just because you exist. Just because you are a human being and are breathing.
Think about your work. As course creators, we are changing the world one student at a time. You are impacting so many people right now, and you will continue impacting so many others.
Work is an amazing thing. Work is a gift that you give to yourself and give to other people. Your work is a catalyst for what you give to the world. When you start viewing work like this, you stop attaching guilt and shame when it comes to how much you are working.
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