This is yet another tough entry to pen down, and I foresee it will be just another 1 of the countless tough entries I will be penning down on this entrepreneur journey.
So while waiting for my website to recover from “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” — yes this very website you are looking at right now, which by the way is definitely not up after a minute. I refreshed it like 3 times… So after the 3rd time, here I am refusing to let that quiet voice in me rain on my parade.
What do I mean by that?
For the past week, 9 days to be exact, I have been cleaning up my other website — The Write Motive and meeting people. Then I realised what an overachiever I try to be.
An overachiever I try to be.
Because I don’t think I am an overachiever, yet.
Why? Because Dictionary.com defines overachieve as
- to perform, especially academically, above the potential indicated by tests of one’s mental ability or aptitude.
- to perform better or achieve more than expected, especially by others.
Nah. I don’t fit either of the above definition.
Then I decided to google “overachiever” and bam, this article showed up 17 Signs You’re An Overachiever and I clicked through.
But before I drown myself in the 17 signs, it dawned on me what actually went on the past 9 days, after I wrote Starting My Journey With A Thank You Gary Vaynerchuk.
Maybe I am not an overachiever but just overloaded.
So 11 days ago, that’s 2 days before I wrote Starting My Journey With A Thank You Gary Vaynerchuk (Just go read it if you haven’t), I decided to scale back on my activities and work on my priorities.
That led me to planning my schedule for the week and I did it with
1. An excel sheet
Titled 2018 with columns of my priorities from the most important starting from the 1st column on the left and gradually to the least important as the columns progress to the right.
As you can see in the example below, but it’s definitely a more watered down in terms of the tasks.
So in my version, I realised I packed my schedule with tasks to meet the exact 40 hours I set aside for myself. And if you’re wondering, only 40 hours?! Well that’s coz I set aside 8 hours for meetings and any last minute appointments.
I even scheduled my meal breaks and half an hour breaks to rest my poor eyes and fingers.
Synced across my Macbook Pro & iPhone so that I know what’s on my schedule on-the-go.
Everything went pretty smoothly for the 1st 3 days, I felt happy and accomplished because I completed everything I scheduled. For once, I felt like I got this and my life is finally on track!
And then I started experiencing hiccups.
After a meeting at 6pm and a seminar at 7pm that ended at around 9.30pm, I got my ass home around 10.30pm. Great! I got home on time because the next scheduled task is at 11pm.
Then it happened.
I got so sleepy and couldn’t focus in front of my laptop. I started to feel terrible because no way am I going to go downhill after 3 kickass days!
So in the end, sleepiness got the better of me and I went to bed.
Because I went to bed earlier, I made myself wake up earlier the next day to catch up on what I didn’t manage to complete. So I started working at 9am the next day. Lo and behold, the task took longer than what the time I scheduled for its completion. To make matters worse, I realised there are other tasks I left out!
And I had 2 appointments to go for — I was late for both.
I was 30 minutes late for the 1st one, which of course had to overrun, and then was late for 30 minutes for the other one.
After the 2 appointments, I got around to getting work done and after an emotionally-intense morning, I was already on edge. But thankfully the task that I schedule for 2 hours after the appointments only took 30 minutes! Which gave me the extra time to get what I totally forgot done.
Then I decided to take a reality check with the 2 hiccups. Are they really hiccups or did I set myself up to fail? In other words, why am I trying to be an overachiever when what I want is to perform?
Ok this is the time we talk about 17 Signs You’re An Overachiever
The good news is… not all signs resonate with me. Maybe 5…
Sign 2 says “You live your life in a state of perpetual relief.” and the first sentence reads “Overachievers are far more focused on avoiding failure than they are at achieving a good outcome — a key differentiator between an overachiever and a high performer.”
Yikes! And that’s why I should stop trying to become an overachiever! And I am not even doing it on purpose to become one. Because really, what I am doing is overloading myself unnecessarily instead of achieving anything productive.
“3. You secretly think you’re not good enough.”
Then it says, “While some people will “self-sabotage” when they feel inadequate, overachievers stake their identities on performance in order to conquer self-doubt.”
Guess what, I don’t just secretly think, I actually feel so. And I do self-sabotage… Doubting my abilities is one of my biggest challenges, and definitely one that I will overcome on this journey. And while I’m at there, bye bye self-sabotage because I am putting myself out there so my pals can kick my ass.
“7. You’re very future-focused.”
What’s wrong with that? I keep my eyes on the prize — sometimes. In fact, I keep my eyes on what I don’t want to happen…
“Because overachievers are constantly trying to avoid bad outcomes, they are heavily focused on the future — and as a result, often neglect the present.”
Refocusing in action — keep my eyes on the prize with my feet moving in the present towards the prize. Am I making sense?
“8. You feel anxious a lot.”
And this hits me hard because not only am I anxious, I am constantly worried about what’s gonna happen next, and what will happen and what will not happen and then the mind takes off with a life on its own until I rein it back like a determined rider on a wild horse.
I must say, I am really thankful that I learned meditation and understanding that if everything comes from me, I can not only change my future, but I can design and create my desired future.
But instead of focusing so much on my future, I realised, it’s ok to focus on myself. It’s ok for self-love. It’s ok for self-care.
It’s not being selfish or self-centred. But if I can’t take care of me, and free the self up, how do I take care of we?
“10. You’re a perfectionist.”
Happy to report, I am less “OCD” than before, and I actually feel happier!
I’m not saying I decided to screw it all, but to learn to let go. Meaning, instead of working for a perfect product — like how I wanted this website to be perfect so I can launch it — I ended up with uncountable redos and that’s like 2 years ago.
So 11 days ago, I finally put my foot down and decided to adopt a “perfecting” approaching. Start with a beta version, and slowly improve it along the way. So not everything is ready on the website as I work on this post… The Internet Lifestyle Academy is still not ready, but hey it’s ok, I am working towards it.
Let’s Face it — I’m Not An Overachiever, Just Overloaded
Of course I was overloaded. I mean, what was I expecting when I started working at 10am, and got home at 10.30pm and try to continue working?
While working on my priorities and scheduling my tasks to maximise time used is a good start for my journey, I need to remember that I am also human.
Working 12 hours a day on schedule may make me feel like I am being productive and getting stuff done, but compromising my health and sleep means this is not going to be sustainable.
Besides filling my calendar up with activities doesn’t mean I am being productive. In fact, having a packed and rigid schedule in just like the case of the 2 hiccups may even be counter-productive.
And it does get you thinking about “work-life balance” and how people think it bullshit. It’s bullshit because they see balance and 50%-50% that never changes. But now I see it… balance means things are in flux and you need to be flexible yet structured amidst the flux to maintain the optimal zone where you function best. Too far left and you fall into work overwhelm, while too far right and you fall into lazy zone.
And the best way to balance on a see-saw? Work with someone who also have similar challenges. Have an accountability partner and help each other out!
That said, looking for an accountability partner. Anyone? PM me.
And… the website is finally back up.