Monday, 22 June 2009

Build Your Sweat Equity (Whilst Avoiding Burnout)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’re all having to work harder than ever to survive and succeed. I was interviewed by a journalist on this subject this morning; considering how we avoid becoming workaholics as the job market gets tougher.

Of course, it’s a given that in order to be successful you have to excel at all you do; to over-deliver to your boss, your clients and organisation. There are no short cuts and putting your feet up is not an option.

Success is all down to what I call ‘hard graft, or what Gary Vaynerchuk has billed ‘sweat equity’, but whatever you call it, it’s about investing time and effort in your talent to ensure you’re a success. It’s like the local coffee shop owner who gets up early 7 days a week to open-up for their customers; it’s like the time I got up at 4am to get the first Eurostar of the day to Paris to interview Gary V. It’s what you have to do if you’re going to ‘hustle’!

But remember that sweat equity doesn’t have to be about being a slave to the corporation, working 12 hour days at your desk, 5 days a week. Instead it’s about the mental commitment to your job, having the right attitude and approach to all you do. It’s sweating to yield results: coming up with ideas, super-serving clients, leading teams, winning business, whatever.

But Sweat doesn’t mean your life, family or health has to suffer. Planet Juggle is not all-or-nothing territory: it’s about working hard but working smart. That might mean you’re checking emails or doing research at 10 o’clock at night but you can do that at home on your iPhone with a bottle of wine, once you’ve had dinner with your husband or read the bed-time story to your toddler. But when the pressure gets turned up, be prepared to get up at 5 am to attack that to-do list, get on that ‘plane to salvage that client relationship or to prepare for that key meeting.

How do you avoid burnout while you’re building sweat equity? Here’s 5 tips:

1) If you’re going to sweat, first make sure you love what you do. And if you don’t, reframe your work life so you do, because there is nothing worse than sweating over something that you hate.
2) Make sure you find time for ‘play’ when you are working hard, whether a run, the gym or just some fresh air at lunchtime.
3) Step back from the day-to-day once in a while for a reality check. Ask yourself if you are fulfilled, are you getting the results you want? If not, change tack.
4) Get some ‘me time’. Don’t spend all of your commute on the BlackBerry, pick up a novel or listen to a podcast once in a while. Spending every minute of every day obsessed with work will not consistently yield results. You have to stay fresh, so get stimulated from other sources.
5) You may be happy working 24x7 but what about your partner or family? Don’t get so narrow in your focus you forget those important people around you. Ask how they’re doing too.

Happy Juggling…….

No comments: