You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!
All right, everybody! Welcome to another Q&A episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast! So, every five episodes or so, I do a question/answer episode, which means that I look at all the questions that have been submitted by all of you, and I answer them. So, there is a link in the show notes. If you have anything that you want me to talk about on the podcast, go ahead and click that link, fill it out, and then you may hear the answer to your question on a future episode.
So, this is a question from someone who is asking:
“How do you handle rest and overwork as an entrepreneur? You’ve shared that you work 25 hours per week, which sounds amazing, but I imagine it takes a lot of discipline –,” which I don’t believe in, — “to manage thoughts of, ‘I could be doing more. I should be doing X. There’s always more to do.’ I would love to understand how you manage all this.”
Sure. So, let’s talk about the idea that we need discipline to manage our thoughts because that idea is completely false. Our thoughts are not something that we have to manage. We don’t have to repress thoughts and keep thoughts from existing. So, do I have thoughts like, “I should be doing X. I could be doing more”? Absolutely. I absolutely have those thoughts. But there is a difference between having a thought and taking an action from a thought that you have. That is the key.
This is a mistake a lot of people actually make is they think they need to get to a place where they never have that urge, they never have that desire. So, do I have the desire to work more sometimes? Do I start to feel a little guilty sometimes about the amount that I work or thinking I should do more, I could do more? Absolutely. But I can allow those thoughts to be there, I can look at them, and then I can let them go and move on and not act upon those thoughts.
So, this is something that we work a lot with our clients on in one-on-one coaching. And so, if this is something you want to work on, that is the resource that I would suggest for you. So, that’s the first thing I wanted to cover is you can have a thought, allow it to be there, dismiss it like a notification you don’t want to read, and then simply not take action based on that.
But the other thing I wanted to cover in this episode is this idea that more work equals more results, because in entrepreneurship and in lots of other areas of life, that’s fundamentally untrue. So, one of the things that I tell our clients and that we work with clients on is increasing their quality of work rather than their quantity of work.
So, for example, if I work 4 hours a day as an entrepreneur, and I spend the rest of the 20 hours of that day being as supportive as possible for myself, then during those 4 hours you know what I am? I am focused, I am productive, I am creative, I am insightful, I am balanced. But if I spend eight hours working, and I don’t have those extra four hours of self-care, if I’m skipping the gym, if I’m not going on my walk, if I’m not fueling my body properly, if I’m not taking enough time to get the sleep I need, guess what? I’m gonna get the same amount or less done in those six, eight, or ten hours that I’m working than I would have if I simply supported myself and worked less.
Now, obviously take this with a grain of salt. I understand this is not applicable to everybody because not everybody gets to control how much they work. If you’re working a 40-hour per week job, you have to show up there and work 40 hours per week. But if you are an entrepreneur and you have control over how much you work, I would encourage you to play with the balance and play with bringing yourself evidence that potentially when you work less you are actually a better version of you and your quality of work increases. So, that’s thing number two that I wanted to talk about in this episode.
Thing number three is that, yes, working 25 hours a week is fun, but one of the reasons that it is difficult has nothing to do with the desire to overwork and more to do with the fact that, as entrepreneurs and as people in society, so much of our identity is defined by work that I sometimes have trouble figuring out what the hell to do with the rest of my time. And so, I just wanted to touch on that because that is something I see entrepreneurs fall into all the time, or even people who work from home, any kind of person who has a lot of control over their work and autonomy over the work is that so much of your identity is defined by that job, that coaching business, that whatever that you forget who you are outside of it.
I, which I’ll talk about in I think actually the next episode, am on a journey right now of figuring out who I am outside of Body Brain Alliance. What is it that I like to do, and the more I explore that, the more I put energy into that, the more I put care and value and time into that, the easier it is for me to manage those thoughts of, “Oh, I could be working right now. I should be working right now.”
So, those are three things I think about in terms of rest and overwork as an entrepreneur. I hope that helps!
PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.karinn4.sg-host.com/change-academy to learn more!