My alarm starts to ring. It’s 7am. I swing my legs out of bed, stretching as I walk into the kitchen. I splash some water on my face, and gulp down a refreshing glass of warm lemon water.
Then I take it back to my desk, where I read for half an hour and jot down some notes that will be important for today’s projects. Once I’m done, I shower and put on my clothes, ready to start the day.
I don’t work well at home, so after eating some eggs on toast for breakfast I grab my laptop and head on down to the local coffee shop. There, I’ll sit and drink coffee and make a start on the to-do list I wrote out the previous evening.
The day is spent busily tapping away at my keyboard, with the occasional break to eat something or gaze out the window at the busy shoppers as they rush by. Around 5pm I’ll go home, make dinner, chat with my housemates for a while, and then hit the gym.
I come back fully exhausted but satisfied. The gym is great for clearing your head. Then I’ll shower and watch a movie, read a book, or browse the internet for a while.
I take a few minutes to reflect on the day and write my to-do list for tomorrow.
Then I’ll turn the lights out and drift off to sleep at around 10:30pm.
I wake up feeling refreshed the next morning, pumped to do the whole thing all over again.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
I think so, at least.
What I didn’t tell you was that this happens, well… about once a week. If I’m lucky. Often even less.
I think last Monday was the last time I felt everything had gone even remotely close to the way I’d planned.
But most days aren’t like that.
Most days, I snooze my alarm. I wake up way too late, and I’m left feeling irritated and flustered as I dig out a shirt from the ever-growing crumpled heap that is my wardrobe and force a comb through my tangled hair.
Breakfast goes uneaten, because I remember last-minute that I’d organized a Skype call with one of my clients and I need to be sitting behind my laptop, looking presentable and at least somewhat professional, in 5 minutes.
I know by now that I don’t work well from home. Yet somehow, it’s already 2pm and I’m still sitting in my bedroom. Lunch is a bowl of reheated pasta with whatever I could find in the fridge dumped on top of it.
I arrive at a café — usually Starbucks; I like their reliable Internet connection and comfortable chairs — at 3pm and bash out 3 hours worth of work. I order a latte, but I’m so engrossed in all the work I haven’t done that by the time I remember it’s there, it’s mostly cold.
I’d planned to go out tonight and meet some friends, but I’ve done so little work today that I know the guilt will just eat away at me the whole time I’m there.
So I cancel.
I can see them another time.
Then I go back home. Somehow it’s already 7:30pm. I wonder if it was even worth leaving the house anyway. Surely I could have done more work if I’d just saved myself the trip and worked from home. But I’ve already tried that too many times, and it never worked as planned. That doesn’t stop me feeling guilty, though.
Kudos.com.my – Malaysia Micro Service Marketplace
What remains of the evening is spent fiddling about with an AdWords campaign. At 9pm, I realise I haven’t eaten in hours. Then I realise the AdWords campaign probably isn’t going anywhere anyway, and I probably should have just went out to see my friends.
…And that’s pretty much exactly how yesterday went.
And then I went to bed, feeling frustrated and slightly dejected, hoping that today would be better. And so far it has been — although, it’s still only 10:30am, so who knows which direction it will take from here.
I’ve already managed to write this post, though. So it can’t be all bad.
I love being a writer. I really do. But I also put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and build a successful business. And sometimes it all feels like too much.
As a business owner, I constantly feel like I should be moving forward. And I’m the only one who can make it happen. No one is going to promote me or just hand me work to complete or deal with difficult clients so I don’t have to. It’s all down to me.
And that feels overwhelming sometimes.
Sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that I’m not a robot. I’m human, and it’s okay to have good days and bad days. I don’t have to be working all the time. Taking time off can be good. Burn-out is dangerous.
Even the writers of those ‘inspirational morning routine’ articles don’t get it right every day.
You don’t always have to wake up at 5am.
Sometimes it’s good to spend the evening eating takeout pizza and watching Netflix.
Don’t become so fixated on reaching the end of the race that you forget to enjoy the ride.