Ever wonder how people with crazy schedules stay cool through it all?
Yeah, there are times in my day where I wonder the same thing. In fact, not a day goes by where in some form I don’t think (or stress) about this.
But I’ve come a long way since I quit my day job and became an entrepreneur years ago, and I’d like to share with you how I stay cool in these crazy, fast-paced days.
Disclaimer: This post is about staying cool, and not about being cool. Big difference.
1. The 5-Email Rule
I’m sure many of you experience what many people call a slow death. Email.
I know this is true, because every day that goes by I see someone on Twitter or Facebook talking about how many emails they have in their inbox, or share how great they feel since their inbox is at zero.
I take email seriously, and it’s one of the highest priorities on my list.
So I’ve created this 5-Email Rule in my life, where I never leave more than 5 unanswered emails in my inbox at any given moment.
Part of the reason I do this is that I’m somewhat neurotic and can’t handle the stress of emails piling up. The other part is that I really like to take each email I get personally, and I can’t do that when I’m facing pages of unanswered ones.
2. I Work 10-14 Hour Days
You might think this is crazy, but fortunately for me I’ve been blessed with the ability to be a night owl and an early bird. In other words, I can function on 6 hours of sleep, so I’m up until midnight and awake at 6:00 AM.
Since I work from home, I have the luxury to come and go as I please. That means I can be strategic with my time online and can pull 10-14 hour days but not have it affect quality time with my family.
So my daily routine is usually to wake up around 5 or 6:00 in the morning, get in a run and then spend some time with the family before Shelly takes Zach to school.
Then I’ll work a majority of my hours while he’s gone, and am ready by 4:00 to play when he comes home. Throw in some time for dinner, TV and relaxation before I hit the ground running once again around 9 or 10:00 at night for a few more hours.
It’s all about efficiency and being strategic with your time.
3. I Became a Manager and not a Doer
While this one has taken me a long time to grasp, it’s finally beginning to pay off. I’m a hands on type of guy, so for me to relinquish control is a very tough thing.
Fortunately for me, at Copyblogger Media we’re blessed by having an incredible amount of talented people working for us.
And the great thing is that most of these people are better at doing something than I am. For instance, it makes no sense for me to try to come up with a killer design when we have Rafal Tomal – who is one of the best designers in the world.
So I’ve learned that by delegating, I can cross things off the to-do list without having to do them myself. What a great realization that was.
4. I Go Dark on Social Media
You might find this one hard to believe, primarily because I can be seen tweeting at any given hour of the day. (see 10-14 hour days above.)
But there are times, where I need to get things done and shut down Tweetdeck and the Facebook tab in my browsers.
I’m sure this doesn’t have to be said, but for me social media is a huge distraction, and one that often I find myself needing a break from.
Try going dark once in a while, you just might get something done.
5. I Have a Hobby
You might wonder how I manage to have a hobby when I work 10-14 hour days. Well as I mentioned above, I fit that hobby in first thing – so that I can get it out of the way and it won’t “loom” on me throughout the day.
Aside from running daily, Shelly and I frequently travel for races. At least 3-4 times a year we’ll fly somewhere to run a longer, endurance event.
This year we’ve gone to Phoenix, Green Bay and Washington DC (October) for races, and next year we already signed up to run the Big Sur Marathon in California.
Running and traveling are things we love to do, and fortunately I can work around those and get some work done while we’re away.
6. I Have an Addiction
All vehicles require energy, and my body is different. It is proudly powered by a daily dose of grande one-pump hazelnut lattes with extra foam from Starbucks.
It’s really turned into an ongoing internet joke, where people know me as the Starbucks guy. Case in point below:
@bgardner You seriously need to go work for Starbucks. Or they should be paying us promotional consideration.
— Brian Clark (@copyblogger) July 14, 2012
I don’t know if it’s true addiction, or that I’ve become immune to it because I can literally drink a latte at 10:00 at night and fall asleep shortly thereafter.
Nonetheless, it helps me get through the day and gives you something to talk about.
7. I Listen to Music
This one might seem somewhat obvious, but for me listening to music while I was is extremely therapeutic. I somewhat consider music a hobby, so it’s also a great way to experience a hobby while I’m working.
Normally I listen to easy tunes, which keeps the stress levels down. On normal days I’ll have Sarah McLachlan, Colbie Caillat and Tori Amos playing on iTunes. When I want a pick-me-up, that choice is easily the Dave Matthews Band.
8. Rinse and Repeat
I’m sure there are a few things I am missing and could have added to this list. But these are the things that I focus on throughout the day.
This is a window in my everyday world, and hopefully this will provide you some incentive to look inward and see how you can become the “Joe Cool” of your life.
It’s really refreshing to be able to work hard, but also to enjoy life. Some folks don’t do either, which is really a sad thing.
So how’s it going in your world? How’s your stress levels, and what helps you get through the day?
Discuss below in the comments. I look forward to talking about this!