I’ve learned the hard way that slowing down can make you succeed faster. I am the kind of person who believes in hard work and who hustles hard to achieve things in life. But, a very important lesson on success I’ve learned over the years (the hard way) is that working more will not necessary get us further: the secret is about working smart and working just enough: not too less (if so, we will not achieve the want or it will take too many years to make it happen) or too much (if so, we will burn out and our goals will suffer greatly!).
I’m a workaholic! My work is the thing I’m obsessing over and I was that kind of a person since I can remember myself in the early age. Back in Medical College, I used to study ten or more hours per day and I (almost) did not have a “life” other than those medical books I was digging into and… it resulted in burning out, depression and wracking my health. It took me almost a year to recover, two hours of daily yoga practice, transforming my diet and six months of psychotherapy…plus decision to drop out of the Medical College, as I decided it was not worth it. Woo!
I’ve learned the hard way that overdoing can actually make our worst nightmare come true: to make us so stressed and burned out that one day we can find ourselves not having any more energy to pursue our goal, which will force us to quit on it.
I enrolled in Journalism College afterwards and made a promise and commitment to myself that I will study and enjoy the journey of passing the exams and learning, but will not repeat the same mistake one more time. I studied hard, but not too hard and I was still one of the best students in my generation.
I started earning money by writing before even getting the college diploma in hands but after two years of freelance writing, I decided to pursue my dream job and become a life coach. Once I started building my life coaching practice there was so much to be done: I had to create my website, work pro bono with clients and work with my mentor life coach, to get the needed experience, and start writing in English (which is not my native language), while at the same time I was still writing articles in my native language to earn my income. I was sitting in front of my laptop from morning to evening, Monday to Sunday, month after month. I love my job and writing is my passion, but…
It took me time to realise that I’m again “overdoing” it and that I need to stand in the ring face to face with my workaholic nature and give it a knock out! I decided that I will make Saturday a day off. No work, no writing, no social media. Saturday is the day when I plug out, meditate, rest, read inspiring books, spend time alone or in nature. Saturday is MyDay! I also started to go out more often, read more books, and have more fun. As we shifted into a new home with a private swimming pool, in January last year, I started swimming two hours every day, which I enjoyed immensely.
Although I was expecting that reducing my working hours will affect my income and the speed of my success in a negative way, exactly the opposite thing happened! I started getting the best creative and business ideas on Saturday! Once my mind would get calm and relaxed, I would be getting all these amazing ideas which I never have thought of before. Implementing those ideas actually helped me achieve so many of my small and big successes over the last two years! Going out and visiting places, reading books and watching movies I like… was filling me with joy and positive energy so much that could do the same amount of work (somehow?!) in less time, as I was energetic and bursting out with creative ideas!
Slowing down can help us succeed faster!
In March this year, I started implementing the advice of my business coach and made my major focus was to work smarter, not harder! Once I started working smarter: implementing the powerful strategies to succeed faster and greater instead of overworking, my working hours reduced drastically! I even took Sunday off and made it to to be #SundayFunDay. I also took six weeks off in April (that meant no writing, no coaching sessions with clients, no taking on new coaching clients!) so that I can enjoy my travel to Dubai, Bosnia and Netherlands to the fullest!
Last month I had a toast to my most successful month so far and I’ve hit the highest income per month in my earning history! After not working at all for six weeks and reducing my working hours, I’ve had the most successful month ever! This experience blew my mind as I got to realise (again!) that overworking and overdoing are not the right path towards success. Yes, we must work hard, but we also need to slow down occasionally! We need to recharge just like we recharge our laptops and I-Phones. We need to work hard, but also play hard! We need to work hard, but not too hard! We need to work smarter, not harder.
This week I had planned to write a new blog post and three new articles, for personal growth publications that I’m writing for. But, I had a writer’s block! I decided in the morning to take the day off (even if I love working on Mondays) and to go to the lake alone, with my favourite book. I enjoyed the nature, spending time in water and reading… and suddenly I got so many creative ideas for writing! This blog post I wrote inspired today on the lake… and there will be so many more coming soon. Hard work pays off (always!), but taking a needed brake and slowing down pays off even greater (in the long run!). Think of the ways how slowing down can help you to achieve more and what strategy or tools you can apply in your current job or business to work smarter, not harder?