Earlier this week I wrote a post asking if work/life balance exists for entrepreneurs. Well, for me, the balance doesn’t exist. 90-hour work weeks have become standard. My desk is around the corner from my bedroom (fortunately I have a large apartment but it’s still in the same relative space) and every morning I wake up and walk right over to it and start searching for more content to post about or find more emails to respond to.
Last May I launched the AllFacebook blog and quickly experienced substantial success with the blog. It’s not the next Techcrunch, but for a few weeks (or a couple Months) I thought it would be. I was getting story leads, responding to all inquiries and traveling around the country to attend events where I thought more stories would be taking place. The site still does well but it’s not going to be the next Techcrunch. At least not anytime soon.
Secretly, I’ve come up with a solution to win while producing less content but I won’t share that now, that story will unfold on this site over the coming months. This afternoon Jason Calacanis wrote a less-sensational post about the New York Times article from last week. He struck a cord with me this time and it has led to the post I now write. When you are in the Tornado, a phase thoroughly described in Chrossing the Chasm (and a book I frequently refer back to), it’s easy to lose sight of things.
Think about what it would literally be like to be in a tornado and you start to get a picture of how organized things are. The key thing to success during the tornado is not running around and trying to grab ahold of all your scattered pieces. Instead, you should believe that the scattered pieces will eventually realign them self and things will be as you had planned in the end. Perhaps my analogy isn’t the most accurate, but a key lesson is learned and it is the lesson being described by Calacanis.
Balance in life is key. Trust me when I say that I understand how out of whack things can get when you are trying to keep your business under control and on the right path. In the market of breaking news, balance is practically impossible. Just look at Mike Arrington. Howard Lindzon recently tweeted that the breaking news market has become commoditized. I would have to agree.
When it comes to commodities, you make a lot if you have a lot. Adding up a million pennies eventually adds up to something. The problem with breaking news is that you are constantly running around trying to get the scoop or confirmation on stories. I was getting good at it for a little while but then I began to see myself burning out. If I had continued to try to focus on breaking news, I would have gone crazy. Fortunately for me, I’ve realized that the bottom doesn’t just drop out when you stop or slow the frequency of breaking stories. You are actually building a base.
Regardless of the future of blogs and breaking news, the story will be repeated across industries. Frequently we work continuously around the clock to try to build our projects of passion. Often times people think that we’re crazy for doing it but the entrepreneurs respect it. While everyone doesn’t build a business the same way, just as they wouldn’t build a desk the same way, there is one rule that stays the same no matter what:
If you put down the tools and walk away for a little bit, your project will be there just as you left it when you get back.
There may be some dust on it if you leave for too long but for the most part, it will still be there. Over the past 10 months I have found a way to create more stress for myself and then devise systems for managing the stress. Unfortunately my system has been flawed and part of it I have not tried to fix. While stress is necessary for a business, it isn’t necessary for you … at least not 24/7.
I had learned this lesson before and I used to live by it but by late in the summer last year I stopped living by my own rules. Fortunately, I’m not 5 years down the road and looking back at this. It’s a only a few months down but for some of you, I’m guessing that you are in a similar place and for others you are years in. There is never a better time to fix the problem then today.
While we can’t build our businesses, stress free, we need to regularly free ourselves from the stress. I am most definitely going to take the first step to removing some of the stress from my life by hitting the gym on a regular basis. What are you going to do?