If you had asked me a month or two ago this question, the answer would have been no. However, now that the summer is here and I am working a 40 hour work week with an internship the answer changes. During the school semester, my class and work schedules left me a lot of time to be able to work on my side projects and businesses during the week and I would therefore try not to work too much on them during the weekend Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so that I could have some time to do whatever I wanted to.
As a student it is important to find the balance between work and play and also to be sure you understand that you do not want to overwork yourself. Working constantly for too long will cause a burnout, believe me from experience. The first week of the semester is supposed to be the easiest, however, this past semester, I pushed it to the limits. I spent the first week really trying to finish up a couple client projects to earn some extra money for the start of the semester and with the hopes that I would be able to relax a little bit later on. The hard work turned into late nights and early mornings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ working until 2 or 3 AM and then getting up at 7 or 9 AM to go to class. This continued on for about 2 weeks. The first week of classes usually consists on the professor giving out the syllabus, talking about the class, and the work that will be involved. Some classes will start lectures, but they usually do not get too intense. Most students take this as an opportunity to goof off, catch up with friends, and party Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I spent it working and not sleeping a lot. Half way through the second week I was getting really tired and could barely function. I made it through to that Friday afternoon and after finishing classes and doing some more work, the client projects were done, I had posted some content on Dorm Room Biz, and started to develop some need leads for more work. Then about 4 PM while spending some time with my girlfriend, I just crashed. I literally had a breakdown and just couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anything without taking a solid 2 hour nap. I basically just laid limp on my girlfriends bed and slept as she read a book. Burnouts suck. It was at that point that I realized what I had done to myself over that week and tried to promise myself that I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let it happen again, so much for that.
The next three weeks I spent doing basically the same thing- more business/project related work, less sleep, and more class related work. After the third week I crashed again and decided that that was the end of it. I had been doing a lot of work on the weekends with my eBay business and trying to get ahead as much as possible, but I realized that it was just setting me back. Working on your business hardcore for a constant couple of weeks while trying to attend classes and have a social life will cause you to burnout. So, I realized that I had to change and make things work right and have a better balance. I may not have stopped working until 2 AM, but if I was going to work that late, I took a nap during the day to prepare me for it. I still had to get up early for my classes no matter what, but I went. I also stopped working on the weekends (unless it was school work related) and tried to separate my business from my personal life. It is a tough balance to control and maintain. However, it helped. Being able to focus on something besides work on a weekend was great, but this is a very hard balance for an entrepreneur or a freelancer to find and maintain. Yet I saw a good article on FreelanceSwitch today that gave some tips for helping to keep you from either working on the weekend or maintain a balance so that when you are working the weekend, you had other time to yourself (such as taking a Monday or other day during the week off). Here is the article, check it out and let me know your thoughts.
The ideas covered in the article include:
- Work only weekdays
- Make a weekday your weekend
- Shut the door
All of these ideas will help to you to focus on your work, recharge your internal batteries, and maintain a healthy balance between life and work, because a lot of the time your life becomes you work. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let it completely take you over.