Lots of great feedback on my last email.
This response touched on something I want to talk about:
"Fantastic email. I relate really strongly to this. I struggle to do more than 5 hours of work in a day and I've felt guilty in the past about not grinding as much as I should. Instead of embracing it and going out to do something else valuable with my time (like surfing) - I end up procrastinating online."
I've been there.
You're putting in the hours but the results aren't coming yet.
And we're conditioned to think working harder is the answer.
The fault must be us.
So you try to "grind it out" and start burning the candle at both ends. But you're fighting how us humans are wired to work. And while you might initially get a burst of productivity, in the long term you're setting yourself up for failure.
Some burn out.
But all fail eventually.
I used to be the guy who rewarded himself only when I completed things. Finish this copy job and you can go to the movies. Build this website and go for a bike ride. Win this client and go for a nice dinner.
I felt guilty doing something for pleasure when there was more work to be done.
Problem is, I'd created a system that both rewarded slogging out hours in the office, and punished (on an almost daily basis) for not having done more.
It wasn't until I starting tracking both the amount of time I spent at the computer, and the amount of productive work I got done, I realised I was only good for 4-5 hours a day.
Anything over that was almost always wasted time...
Researching things to death online.
Checking emails and Facebook.
Answering questions on forums.
Stuff that kinda feels like you're working at the time, but has zero impact on your bottom line.
When I realised I was only getting 4-5 hours of productive work done a day it was like a weight had been lifted. I could optimise those hours for maximum productivity and enjoy the rest of the day off to do whatever I like, guilt-free.
This was a productivity break through for me.
And my happiness levels shot through the roof.
Not only do the guilt-free hours I spend riding my bike... running trails... hanging out with friends... and surfing... FUEL my work day. But they get me out amongst nature and give me a natural energy boost. They help structure my day so I'm not stuck at a desk for 8 hours straight. And they create a positive feedback loop that makes me more productive when I am working.
Find your rhythm.
Optimise your day.
Enjoy play time.