When it comes to building a successful business, most people are willing to put in the grind and hustle—literally pouring every ounce of energy into the business they’re trying to grow. It’s understandable because we live in a world where ‘hard work pays off,’ right?
Sure, the hustle and grind is important, but it’s not the only factor to success, nor is it the most important. One of the things we say to clients all the time is, “Rhythm beats speed. Rhythm beats speed. Rhythm beats speed.” This is a classic Tortoise VS Hare principle, and the main point is, steady consistency will always beat the fast “overnight” success play. Here’s another example from real life.
“You will achieve more by doing a little bit, consistently, than by doing a lot, inconsistently.”
A few months ago I purchased my dream car, a white Tesla P90D.
In “Ludicrous” mode, the car will accelerate from zero to 60 in 2.7 seconds. That’s crazy-fast! However, this takes a toll. The energy consumption in “Ludicrous” mode is nearly twice what it is in standard drive mode. If you drove it in this mode nonstop, you’d get maybe 100 miles out of the battery instead of the 285 – 300 miles advertised. Do that too often, and you end up stranded on the side of the road without a charge.
The same principle is true for your business.
Repeatedly investing all of your available energy or “bandwidth” into growing your business is essentially the human form of “Ludicrous mode.” You might accelerate things, going the equivalent of zero to 60—in your business—in a just couple seconds, but you can count on burning out just as rapidly as you accelerated.
You can’t sustain ludicrous mode. Like a Tesla, you’ll run out of battery.
Your business success is more about finding a rhythm in your workflow and making sure you’re doing things that actually push forward your vision. Here are three ways to ensure your business sustains productivity that won’t burn you out.
1. Work from Your Rest, Don’t Rest from Your Work.
Giving yourself room to unwind is essential because the biggest threat to your business isn’t failure, it’s burnout. Last year there was a point in our business where I realized I just didn’t care much about growth. This is a very dangerous place to be. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever come back from burnout. It is important to make sure your battery isn’t running on empty.
Rather than working in a perpetual low-battery mode, where the smallest setback can throw you into the depths of despair, take the time to recharge often so that you can work from a full charge. This doesn’t just protect you from burnout, it ensures your ideas are fresh and you can prioritize appropriately in your business.
2. Don’t Stretch it, Protect it.
Bandwidth is your most important renewable energy source. People always talk about time management as if it’s the most important skill in business. It’s not. Your ability to manage your bandwidth is more important than your ability to manage your time. Plenty of people manage time well and make less than they’d like. Bandwidth is your non-depleted mental energy. It’s a resource and an asset that cannot be taken for granted.
The quicker and further you stretch that bandwidth, the harder it will be to maintain your level of output over time. It’s impossible to function in ludicrous mode for extensive periods of time because the effects it has on your bandwidth are debilitating. Another common misconception about bandwidth is thinking that if you stretch it for two days, you can just rest for two days and get it back. This isn’t the case. In many ways, it’s like sleep. When you go without it and stretch it too far, there’s a disproportionate cost to getting caught back up.
If you find yourself staring mindlessly at your computer screen, wondering what you’re even supposed to be doing with your life, you know you’ve hit your limit. Sometimes all you need is to take a step back, get some fresh air, and recharge.
3. Prioritize & Revitalize
Converting productivity into success is all about having effective systems, and having a strategic method for investing your energy. Notice I didn’t say “spending” your energy. There’s no return attached to an expenditure. And investment, however, pays back dividends. This is how you must think about your energy and your bandwidth.
On an average week, we’ll hit the ground hard on Monday with the plans and goals in place for what the rest of the week needs to look like. We wake up early, get into the office early, and plow through. We know we can’t sustain it for long, so we have built in rest periods throughout the week. On Wednesdays we’ll come in late, and every Friday we take a half day after lunch. It’s critical that you can create a system like this to protect yourself on a week-to-week basis.
The idea is to sprint the first half of the week and sustain that all-in momentum. Then, by about Thursday, it’s time to start pumping the brakes, preparing for a recharge. Prioritizing both your tasks and your energy is key to slowing your efforts and having the ability to step away by the end of the week.
Find a rhythm in your business and maintain a healthy level of work by protecting your bandwidth, utilizing your resources, and taking the time to recharge. Apply these principles to your business right out of the gate, and you’ll have a foolproof plan that will sustain productivity and prevent ludicrous mode from draining too much out of you and your business. Here are some great extra thoughts on this that I think you’ll enjoy: