Sometimes work and life demands that we push ourselves to the limit, that we run at such a high speed our human engines cross the red line. Yet if we do it too long, we lose effectiveness and eventually burn out.
Redline refers to operating across the line of demarcation on your car’s tachometer. When a tachometer shows engine speed in the red, it means you are running too hard, possibly causing damage to the components themselves or other parts of the engine.
I’ve been redlining it for far too long, due to a variety of reasons and choices.
For example, for the past two and a half years I’ve been writing, traveling and promoting two business books AND this blog, in addition to my normal business activities. In direct conflict with these activities, I value being present for my daughter first. So I end up sacrificing personal time and sleep.
All of these activities produced a great increase in yield, yet a the same time it’s time to ease back on the throttle a bit. The peanut butter only spreads so thin.
So the question is how do you slow down without losing momentum? Since I don’t want to build another consultancy, how do I scale without hiring staff?
Sometimes you sprint, other times you slow to a more measured jog. Here’s how…
Am I going to write another business book anytime soon? No.
Given how busy I am with projects, this would be a disservice to both family and clients. It would also be a disservice to me. The mind needs rest, you can only redline for so long.
Plus I think the expectation of a book a year is not necessary. This blog does a great job of keeping me relevant in the conversation of now.
I took another step to help ease the load this week, hiring a virtual assistant to respond to non client correspondence, schedule, and arrange travel.
Another step will probably happen over the next few months. My Dad may hang his hat up from the newspaper game after 50 years of school and pro news writing and editing. But he still has something left to give.
So expect to see better editing here compliments of Tom Livingston towards the end of the first quarter. That will actually save me a few hours a week, and increase post quality.
Heck, if he can write a decent blog, we may have an Old Guy Writing Tips column here on Thursdays.
Finally, the holiday season represents an ideal time to take a breather. Because most people are so busy chasing the gifts of their family members’ dreams, and wrapping up end of year activities, they tune out.
I’m taking a few days off over Turkey Day weekend, and I am planning a slobber-cation during the Christmas New Year season. I plan on doing three things: Playing with Soleil, working out, and reading pulp fiction.
Ease the throttle back, outsource the parts that I can, enjoy the family, and rest. 2013 will be a great year, but to be fully present, a more measured pace is necessary.
Are you planning on easing back a little this holiday season?