Introspection Before Work
As I was preparing a Wednesday Roundup for my business site that was talking about ways to improve your brainpower, I ran across a quote from Gandhi. The article was talking about how to exercise your brain, and essentially Gandhi was saying that he wouldn’t get anything done if he didn’t meditate for an hour at the beginning of each day. Shocked, the other individual said there was no way he had that much time in the day. Gandhi replied that if that was indeed the case, he would need to set aside two hours. To get more done, you have to plan accordingly.
“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
There are a number of key takeaways from this quote. But most importantly is that being busy does not mean that you’re being productive.
The Busyness Trap
I am a young entrepreneur living in America. If you follow entrepreneurial magazines, people, and posts on running a business you will often see that there are some themes that keep popping up. One is that entrepreneurs are always busy. This is nothing more than a lie that has been developed equating busy with productive.
That’s not the only problem with being busy. In fact, running a business should be your job and not your entire life. When I started my business, I had certain things that I would not sacrifice for my job.
I won’t sacrifice my health for my job. If I am being physically impaired because of my work, it’s time to find new work.
I won’t sacrifice my sleep for my job. There might be a late night here and there when I have deadlines that I need to meet. But for the most part I get exactly as much sleep as I want.
I won’t sacrifice my family for my job. Family comes first. Sometimes that means turning down a client, and sometimes that means strategic planning so that I don’t have to work during vacation.
I won’t sacrifice my faith for my job. God first, family next, friend third, work fourth. If work is forcing me to compromise my values, work goes and the values stay.
Many people won’t agree. They feel that in order to be truly successful you have to make sacrifices. What I am saying is that these are the core things that are important to me. No amount of money is worth giving them up. And if you structure your day properly, you don’t have to give them up.
Invest in Yourself
Every morning after I wake up, I take time to invest in myself. I spend some time reading my Bible, and asking God to provide me with wisdom and insight throughout the day. I give my business back to him, and offer every action as an offering to show the world His love.
At the end of the day, before going to bed, I try to relax and read something that will make me a better business owner. Currently I’m a third of the way through Robert Cialdini’s book Influence (that’s not an affiliate link). I found that exercising my brain shortly before bed helps me to sleep better.
Mahatma Gandhi found that taking an hour out of every day to meditate was the best way for him to prepare his mind and ensure that he gets things done. Some people find that hitting the gym is the best way for them. Others find that a relaxing stroll through a nearby park works. Whatever you discover as a way for you to mentally prepare for the day, make sure that you do so every single day.
By slowing down, you can be more productive throughout the day.
Slow Down to Get More Done
I once had a boss that would constantly tell me, “eliminate, delegate, simplify.” The idea was that I shouldn’t make more work for myself by eliminating things that didn’t really need done, delegating tasks to others when I could, and simplifying projects if they could be simplified. Of course if I tried to delegate tasks back to him he would refuse them, but that’s another story.
The takeaway here is that you can be successful, and you don’t have to be busy. Slow yourself down at the beginning of the day. Invest in yourself. Plan and structure your day. Enjoy leisure activities when the work is done.
How do you get more done?