Ahh, the entrepreneurial itch.
For over 2 years, I've struggled to find a word or phrase to describe this odd, yet overwhelming feeling until I realised that I wasn't the only one in the world who suffered from it.
It turned out that hundreds of thousands (if not more) of entrepreneurs around the world equally suffered from this feeling I now know to be the entrepreneurial itch.
While some may not understand what it means, a lot of you may know that restless feeling you have, the thought at the front of your mind when you're not working.
No matter how hard you try, that feeling doesn't go away, even when you're looking to take a break or be with those that you love.
The time I try to spend with friends, family, and loved ones is consumed by the foggy feeling of not doing enough to reach my pinnacle.
It can take away from the time you have with those that you cherish most.
It can make you feel like you're not actively involved with those same individuals.
When it's time to rest, you struggle to find peace because the thought engulfs all corners of your mind.
What is the entrepreneurial itch?
Have you ever wanted to take a break from work, spend time with friends, family, or loved ones?
Maybe you're just chilling at home, or you've gone for a day out to the cinema or the restaurant, but you're struggling to live in the moment and be present.
Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, laughing, smiling, talking, but you feel like you're not involved in what's going on around you.
Your mind, no matter how hard you try to fight it, has wandered astray, pulling you back to the one thing you've tried to escape all along.
Not long ago, I decided to take the first *real* break I've had after almost 2 years.
I decided to give myself around 4-5 days off where I can do anything I wanted and not worry about work.
It was an amazing feeling just letting go, however, that restless feeling that something is just waiting for me haunted me.
That feeling that I have left something behind that I must eventually go back to, the feeling that I'm wasting my time and there's a lot of work to be done was exhausting.
Although the idea of entrepreneurship thrills me, sometimes I think whether life would be better, perhaps even easier, without this itch.
Simply put, the entrepreneurial itch is the constant thought of business and the feeling that you're not doing enough to contribute to your life or the life of those around you.
So now that we understand what this feeling is, how do we get rid of it? Or better yet, how do we scratch the entrepreneurial itch?
Let's discuss that now.
Create a work schedule
Many entrepreneurs I know work 7 days a week, however, this doesn't mean 24 hours a day.
For entrepreneurs, there's no rest to this madness - our eyes are set on a goal that we must achieve, and it's admirable from the outside looking in.
However, at some point, the input (the amount of work that we're putting in) only has so much output (the results from the work we put in).
Many of you might understand this concept to be diminishing returns.
See, we're all human after all. We need rest just as much as the other person.
To work every day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep is unhealthy and inefficient.
You might hear a lot of entrepreneurs almost brag about working 16 hour days, sleep for 4 hours, or less, however, it's important to acknowledge the fact that those hours are most likely wasted.
It's a lot better to work 10 hour days when you're fully aware and rested rather than 16 hour days where you've only spent 4 hours sleeping.
Your mind is a lot more responsive and in the zone when it's fully rested and coming off a good night's sleep.
However, this is only the start to creating a good work schedule.
As entrepreneurs, it's difficult to separate work life from your personal life - they're usually both intertwined because you're in charge of both ends of the spectrum.
That's why creating a schedule is extremely effective - all my life consisted of at the start of the year was sleep and work.
The only time I would get a bit of rest was when I was having breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
I'd watch a YouTube video at most, even then, it would be a business-related video.
This was not a healthy way to live my life, I started to almost feel autonomous.
Today, I have a much more open schedule.
See, life is not just about work - entrepreneurs often end up falling prey to the one thing they try to escape from.
They become slaves to the one thing they thought would cast them free, forever.
Giving myself extra time to enjoy myself when I eat, and at the end of the day, watching some shows with my girlfriend, all make a massive difference mentally.
Now that we better understand how our days could be structured to help us relieve ourselves of this mental burden, what about family or friends time?
How do I find time to spend with those that I love?
It's important to give yourself time off, however, there's a delicate balance that we must maintain.
Giving ourselves too much freedom may be just enough to unhinge us and throw us completely off-track.
That's something we don't want to do. It's difficult to give an exact blueprint here because everyone is different and so it's up to you to find your equilibrium.
I suggest starting with 1 day per week (or two weeks).
Choose one day out of every week that you'll dedicate to spending time with family, friends, and loved ones.
This day will be completely free of work, and you'll try your best to spend it without thinking about business and work as a whole.
It will be hard, however, give it your best shot.
Rest assured knowing that you have not caused the end of the world by letting yourself off the hook for once.
Separate your work environment
Humans are creatures of habit.
Every day, we wake up and repeat the things we did yesterday.
When you really think about it, life is just a big loop.
We wake up, we go to the bathroom, we have breakfast, we do work, we have dinner, maybe some more work, time off, sleep.
This will look completely different for everyone, however, those are all things that almost everyone does on a daily basis.
On top of this, everything we do normally has its own location.
For example, when we sleep, we sleep in our bedrooms.
When we brush our teeth or shower, we do so in the bathroom (not like we have many options there).
When we eat, we usually sit at the table.
When we're gaming or watching TV, it's in the living room.
When we work, it's at an office.
When I first became an entrepreneur, I had all of this mixed up.
See, I slept in my room, I gamed in my room, I worked in my room, and I even ate in my room.
My room was the hub for everything - it was where anything and everything in my life took place, it was my safe haven.
The problem is that when we let these things overlap, it can be difficult to mentally understand what it is we're looking to do.
For example, when I was doing work in my room, it was difficult for my mind to focus solely on work when there's a giant TV screen staring me in my eyes.
Add the fact that I have a PS4 right next to me and a warm and comfy bed behind me, it was almost impossible to focus all my attention on the work at hand.
My mind was all over the place, I didn't know what I really wanted to do.
Do I want to sleep?
Do I want to eat?
Do I want to game?
Or do I want to sit down and do work?
Although I knew I needed to work, my mind couldn't focus on just work because I wanted to do other things.
This might be just the issue you have.
When your place of rest doubles down as your office, your mind is already used to the fact that this is where you conduct business.
Therefore, when it's time to settle down and rest, it can be extremely hard to do so because your mind knows that this is a place for work, not rest.
Let's say that you're spending time with family or friends. You're trying to watch a movie together, but it's very difficult to focus on the moment when your mind is consumed by the work that awaits you.
It might just be because you're in an environment where you're used to working, not watching movies, and spending time with others.
One of the easiest things you can do is simply migrate where you work - I went from working in my room and eating in my room, to sleeping and watching TV in my room.
Now all my work is done downstairs while eating happens on the table.
This makes it much easier to communicate to my mind what it is I really want to do.
Find a hobby
One of the easiest ways for me to take my mind off work and scratch my entrepreneurial itch is by doing something I love to do.
Previously, I had thought that gaming was something I loved to do, however, it seemed as though this was nothing more than a coping mechanism - a way to escape a reality I despised.
Today, I've discovered that what I truly love to do is make those around me laugh, speak to friends or family, and more importantly, play basketball.
Basketball was a hobby I picked up a few years ago, and it's stuck with me since then.
Not only does basketball keep me healthy, but it also helps me take my mind off of work and spend time with people I like to be around.
Everyone might have a different hobby, it doesn't need to be a sport.
Start to think about and even brainstorm things that you like to do.
Think about the ones that specifically help you take your mind off of business and work.
If you can't think of something, then this is a perfect time to start building some new hobbies.
Think about something you've always wanted to try or things you want to do.
Another thing I'd love to do (and a personal goal I have) is to learn to solve a Rubix cube.
These could be the start of a new hobby.
Another thing I'd love to do, which is both work-related and not work-related, is learning to code.
Software is inevitably the future we're heading into and understanding how it works, and better yet, how to put together a string of letters, numbers, words, and phrases to make something work is very interesting.
Taking all of these ideas we've compiled into consideration, we can start to adjust the schedule we've created earlier.
Maybe we spend an hour or two every day doing something that we love.
Remember, there is a balance that we must uphold in order to benefit from this at the end of the day.
For some people, a few hours every day is a lot of time.
How about allocating a set amount of hours per week that we can then exercise throughout the week?
This might be a better, freestyle strategy to kickstart the process of itching our entrepreneurial scratch.
Everyone has a hobby or something they love to do.
Think back to your childhood days if nothing immediately springs to mind - you'll be surprised by the treasure you uncover.
If there's nothing there, then keep thinking and exploring, it's only a matter of time until you discover your hobby.
Remove all distractions
What if I tell you that the thing that makes our lives collectively better, is also the thing that is holding us back?
Technology has come a very long way over the past few decades.
Not long ago, there were no mobile phones that can contact anyone in a matter of seconds.
There were no phones that could find anything you're looking for in moments.
There was nothing that could connect us to almost half of the world's population instantly like social media does.
Today, there are a plethora of devices to choose from: mobile phones, tablets, computers, consoles, laptops, etc.
Access to these devices is so widespread that even children at the age of 10 or younger no longer want toys to play with, but mobile devices where they can connect to others in virtual worlds.
Technology has truly revolutionized the way we do almost everything in our daily lives.
The way we commute, the way we communicate, the way we work, the way we find entertainment.
This is both a blessing and a curse, see, what if this ever-evolving gift that we have is also the biggest distraction we've ever seen?
On average people spend between 5-6 hours per day on their mobile devices, with around half of that on social media.
In an average workday, over 3 hours are spent checking emails and in the inbox.
See, even when you're not working, there are all these distractions that subconsciously trigger your entrepreneurial itch when you don't want them to.
It only gets harder and harder to avoid our phones and social media as time goes by, making it harder to avoid these triggers.
Whenever you're looking to take a break from your work, the best course of action is to eliminate your phones, or devices in general.
When I was taking my break, my phone was still something I used a lot.
I was still receiving work-related emails, work-related messages, calls, and so much more.
Simply hiding your phone away, somewhere out of reach can reduce your usage drastically, and as a result, reduce the triggers you have.
That's how you can scratch your entrepreneurial itch.
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