Maybe you’re a blogger. In fact, if you’re reading this blog post, then there’s a pretty good chance that you either have a blog yourself or you run some other sort of online business, either as your main gig or as a side hustle. Maybe you’re more involved in affiliate marketing and arbitrage, or maybe you’ve got a YouTube channel or a podcast. The specifics may be different, but the core mindset and approach that you take to work will be very similar.
In particular, you’re probably not bound to a traditional 9-to-5 kind of schedule. You probably don’t commute to an outside office on a regular basis either. In this way, you are “master of your own domain.” And you always want to achieve more, so you keep pushing yourself to do more. But, can you take that too far, even if it’s just “one more thing”?
“Only Work When You Want To”
Here’s a work-from-home or solopreneur myth that we need to bust. People from the outside looking in will say that it must be nice that you “only have to work when you want to” or some variation of that. Let’s be perfectly clear. For 99% of the population, if we only had to work when we wanted to, we’d probably never work at all. And that’s even if we love what we do.
It’s still a business. There’s still work to be done. There will ALWAYS be work to be done. To that end, it’s not so much about only working when you want to, but rather having the freedom to decide when you want to work. But here’s where we find the double-edged sword.
Whenever you find yourself with a moment to spare, you may feel compelled or obligated to do something productive. Because you CAN be productive at any time. And that includes trying to sneak in that “one more thing” at the end of the night. I’ll just write this one last blog post. Or edit this one last photo for Instagram.
Because You Feel Like You Have To
Love what you do and you never have to work a day in your life. Sadly, also a lie. At least for the overwhelming majority of people. Even if you love what you do, you’re not going to love every moment of it. And there will always be some things that you just don’t enjoy doing. I don’t know anyone who gets excited about doing their taxes.
It’s true that if you find something that you’re really passionate about, you can develop a drive to work on it constantly. But the culture of hustle is also overrated. We might put these passionate workaholics up on a pedestal to be revered, but do you really want to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week? Sometimes, you might feel like you have to, especially when you’re still building up your business.
So, you’re tempted to do “one more thing” before ending your day, because it means (at least you think it means) that you’ll have one fewer thing you’ll have to do tomorrow.
Lure of Short-Term Gain
I know I’ve caught myself in this trap more times than I care to count. It’s already getting late, and I’ve always been a night owl already, so what’s the harm of doing one more thing before calling it a night? If anything, it’s a big win, because it means I’m getting more done and I’m moving the needle, right?
Well, not necessarily.
We have to think about this “doing one more thing” before bed in the same way that we think about short-term and long-term goals. Or that short-term, immediate boost of endorphins because we’re feeling extra accomplished and productive, right? But here’s the thing. When you decide to burn the candle at both ends, thinking that you’re putting in good work, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
Mixed metaphor aside, when you put in that extra work late at night, you may gain a small win, but you could hamper or impair your productivity for the following day. If we think about this in a purely non-scientific way and throw some numbers around, it’s like gaining 5 points today but losing 10 points tomorrow.
Net Gain or Net Loss?
The short-term gain results in an overall net loss. Because you did that “one more thing,” you might go to bed a bit later. Because you were looking at a computer screen right before you went to bed, you may have a harder time falling asleep and you may have poorer quality sleep too. You might end up waking up later the next morning, and it might take you longer to get up to speed. Even when you do, you might still feel groggy and not at your best.
I get it. I totally understand the lure or inclination to get in a bit more work, because you want to achieve big things. That’s perfectly logical and it sounds like it should be commendable. But, if you’re thinking in terms of your long-term success and happiness, it’s probably better to embrace the mindset of anti-hustle instead. In other words, work smarter, not harder (or longer).