Working long hours is necessary to be financially well off right?
You’d need to wake up at 5 am and go to bed at 2 am seven days per week. You’d need to sacrifice your social life and forget about vacation. The bottom line is that you’d need to sacrifice life balance.
But is it worth the sacrifice? How long would you be able to work long hours before you throw in the towel?
My guess is not that long.
Even if you were able to work long hours for a long period of time, you’d feel miserable in the end.
Building wealth is a marathon, not a race.
Instead, maintain a healthy balanced life–one that makes sense for you. If you do, you’ll stay productive and avoid burning out.
Here are 10 work-life balance tips you can use to avoid burning out as you build wealth.
“You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.” ―Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab
You need to create a work-life balance that makes sense for you.
What seems balanced to someone may not feel the same for you. Take some time to imagine what your ideal balanced lifestyle looks like. Here are some questions to help you get started:
How many hours will you work? How much time during the week will you have to do fun activities? How much time will you spend on wealth-building activities?
Once you’re clear on what a balanced work life looks like to you, go create it.
By breaking your ideal balanced lifestyle into actionable goals. Set clear financial and lifestyle goals you’d like to achieve within the next year or two. This will ensure that you’re making progress in building wealth and a balanced life.
Use a journal to keep track of your progress.
It goes without saying that without good health you can’t do anything.
Ignore your health long enough and you’ll pay for it.
An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to depression and life-threatening diseases–ones that can stop you from building wealth. If you’re constantly stressing about work daily, you’ll carry this stress throughout the day. At times this stress can cause insomnia, which can disrupt your productivity.
Instead, focus on eating healthier, getting great sleep, and managing your stress. Prioritizing your health won’t guarantee that you won’t burn out, but it will help reduce the odds.
Better health means you’ll have more time available to grow your wealth.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you did have unlimited energy?
It’s great to hear stories on how some people are able to work past 2 am and wake up at 6 am. The reality is that you won’t be able to sustain this lifestyle. View yourself as a machine that’s filled with limited energy each day.
If you’re stressing about which clothes to wear and are rushing to work, that’s wasted energy. Add the extra time you’d spend at your job, and it’s not a surprise why you’re too tired to work on anything else afterward.
You don’t have to manage every hour of your day to avoid burning out. Instead, work in Pomodoro sprints. This ensures that you get a 5–10-minute break in each hour of work.
Now you’ll be able to dedicate a fixed number of time for your wealth-building tasks. But, don’t just work on any tasks, focus on the most important ones. You don’t have unlimited energy to spare, remember?
Meditating is likes of rebooting your PC, but for your brain.
Each day your brain is overloaded with information.
Neural paths link to your medial prefrontal cortex. All this means is you’re more prone to take things more personal when this happens. For example, you’ll continue beating yourself up for mistakes you’ll make.
You need a way to clear your mind. And, meditation is your answer.
Research shows meditation reduces neural paths linking to your prefrontal cortex. This results in seeing things as they are and to avoid beating yourself up. You’ll feel less stressed and ready to work on productive wealth-building activities.
You can find meditation tutorials through YouTube, blogs, or books. There are even apps that can guide you in your meditation journey. You only need to commit.
With a clear mind, you’ll stay productive and make better financial decisions.
Once you’ve defined what a balanced lifestyle is for you, fit in your day.
With a calendar, you can block time for productive wealth-building activities. More important, a calendar allows you to plan for your entire day. You plan the amount of time you’ll work.
Most people need to block out at least 40 hours each week for their jobs. Any extra time that you want to spend on other wealth-building activities is on you. But, you don’t need to work until 2 am.
Plan ahead to invest time into your side-hustle—working 1 hour before going to work and 1 hour before going to bed. Use calendars like Google Calendar or a physical agenda. Be sure to work on a calendar you’ll consistently use.
Plan your day ahead of time and include at least 6 hours of sleep to recover.
To-do lists are addicting.
In the past I’d feel good checking off items, only to be disappointed by the end of the day. With “to-do” items it’s easy to procrastinate working on important tasks. The worse part is that to-do lists have no end.
While a to-do list is better than nothing, it can burn you out. After a few days of not completing all your to-do items, they’ll start to pile up. And, you’ll stress as each day goes by and the list gets bigger.
To cut off the unproductive tasks you need to get intentional. Think about what goal you’re trying to do. Whether at work or outside of work, you need to know the outcome you’re looking to get.
At work, you’ll receive goals your boss wants you to reach. Your job then is to focus on which tasks need to get completed first. But, with personal goals, you’d have to create the goals yourself.
For example, if you’re looking to do freelance writing, break this goal into smaller tasks. A possible goal if you’re starting out could be to create your online portfolio. You’d then block out time each day to write articles.
Now when other tasks come your way you won’t be as easily distracted. You’ll have concrete goals and cut distractions that come your way.
Not too long ago I’d imagined having a million dollars by my late twenties (cough.)
Although this goal sounded nice at the moment, it was unrealistic for many reasons. Mainly because I didn’t have a concrete plan and I’d wanted the goal in a short period of time.
Unrealistic goals happen often and they can cause you to burn out. But, setting small goals that you know you can achieve isn’t the answer. Instead, set goals that are challenging enough.
Here are examples of unrealistic goals:
Here are examples of realistic goals:
Building wealth is a long journey during the early stages. But, by setting realistic goals you’ll avoid burning out and build wealth faster.
Being able to do deep work is rare nowadays.
Social media is a big reason why. Daily, you’re distracted with alerts on who liked your picture or sent you a message. You review each alert and respond to most of your messages.
But, by the end of the day, you find yourself short in time.
So what happens?
You either go to sleep feeling defeated or stay up late making up for the time you’d wasted. Even if you use social media to market your products or services, block out limited-time for it each day. This way you can make time for your most important tasks.
Avoid distractions by turning off all notifications from your social media apps. Get into the habit of only checking your social media accounts one or two times per day.
No matter what, make time for fun activities.
Focusing only on building wealth isn’t sustainable.
You’ll either be broke and miserable or rich and miserable. (none of these sound good)
Why not be happy throughout your wealth-building journey instead?
Since you’re already going to be using a calendar, block out time for your fun activities at least once a week. For example, you can take an entire Saturday off to play video games or to go on a date with your wife.
Another option can be to reward yourself after completing your most important tasks. If by the end of 8:00 pm you’ve completed all your tasks, watch TV for an entire hour. Think of this as your reward for being consistent.
Not bad right?
Having fun at least once a week will keep you happy and avoid burning out. Now figure out which rewards work best for you.
“In this world, it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.”–Henry Beecher
Giving is better than receiving.
You’ll complain less. You’ll feel happier. And, be wealthier.
Yes, you’re looking to grow your wealth but not without being grateful with what you already have. Building wealth can feel like a black hole to some people because they’ll never have enough. By volunteering your time and helping the less fortunate, you’ll be more grateful.
You’ll also avoid burning out since you’d be helping others who are in a worse position than you are. Although it may seem like you’re giving money or time away, you’ll get back more. Many times the same people will return the favor or someone else will.
What’s important is that you genuinely help others. Then, the positive effects will carry over to you.
Imagine being financially independent 10 years from now.
Or, maybe longer.
Building wealth, enough to “retire” early is one of the hardest things you’ll do. But, if you’re on this journey, congrats because this is one most people never start.
As you’re working on wealth-building activities day by day, remember to enjoy the journey. Focus on your health and make time to have fun along the way. If you do you’ll avoid burning out and reach your financial goals faster.
Try one of these tips and see how it affects your life.
Now go reach your financial goals, but remember to have fun along the way…
Chris writes personal finance and productivity articles for software companies. He gets fresh ideas through continuously investing in himself and interviewing successful entrepreneurs.