I’m 30 years old and, during the first true spring days in my home-city, I still feel the urge to skip classes and waste time on the streets or in a park.
Of course, 12 years have passed since the last time I actually had any mandatory classes to attend. For the most part of those years, I’ve been in control of my schedule, working mostly from home, on my own projects (such as The CEO Library, the one I’m currently building).
Lately I’ve been receiving an increased amount of questions regarding this, from newsletter subscribers who are curious to know how I’m able to pull it off. How can I focus and do what needs to be done from home, and not… get distracted, skip work and go for a walk in the nearest park? Or just waste time on the recent Billions season, playing Sims (hello, 2000s!), reading a book or cleaning the house.
The truth is, the biggest challenge for me has been how not to overwork. When you work from home, nobody cares at what time you get to the office, when you leave, if you have time for lunch, how many restroom breaks you take, and so on. None of these matters. The quality of your work is the only visible metric. And that usually leads to overworking – especially if you’re the perfectionist type that tends to set a high bar for yourself.
I’ve never been one to run away from doing the hard work. On the contrary. As an INTJ, I tend to “overdose” on 70+ hours workweeks and “not have time” for breakfast until sunset. As I grew older and wiser (well, just a few months ago, actually), I realized how stupid and inefficient my extreme approach was. I can’t do quality work without taking care of my mental and physical health first.
So, learn from my mistakes. If you don’t get those two in check, how will you be able to focus on doing quality work? How can you take care of others when you’re not in a good shape yourself? You might pull it off on the short term, but on the long run you’ll burn out. In the future of work and jobs, this will be key to improving the odds to succeed.
You’re running an ultramarathon, not a sprint.
Keep in mind what your long-term priorities are and act accordingly. Set boundaries between work and rest. Make sure that you sleep well, eat well, practice sports, spend quality time with family and friends. And a long walk in the park might do wonders.
P.S. here’s a great article on the importance of doing the hard work at the right time, written by Tynan: “How Hard do I Actually Work?“.
P.P.S. if you want to understand better the challenges of working remote, I recommend you read “Remote: Office not Required“, a great book written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the two founders of Basecamp. It’s the first book we read as part of The CEO Library book club, since we’re building the project as a distributed team.