How Learning to Chill Out This Summer Improved my Business

Dude… Chill out.

Good morning from my office in Midtown Manhattan – An office that I’ve spent much less time in this summer than ever before.

Back in June, I decided to create an experiment. I wanted to see what would happen if I “chilled out” for some of the summer. If I didn’t go into the office every day, if I didn’t hustle as hard as I normally do, and if I took a larger amount of “me time” as opposed to “work work work” time that I’m used to.

I won’t lie, I was scared of the results. But as it turns out, there was no need to be. Chilling out turned out to be the best thing I could have ever done for myself. The key was to do it properly.

The Four rules of chilling out… (Or, how to learn to breathe and not lose your hustle to anyone else…)

Rule 1: “Chilling out” doesn’t mean “not caring.”
One of the major things I changed about this summer was not spending my entire day working. Sometimes I’d hang out with my daughter (I became really good at being the “class dad” for her summer camp.) But this didn’t mean I was ignoring my professional hustle. Quite the opposite. Because I already get up super-early, I could spend an hour before she woke up answering emails, sending out invoices, and conferring with my assistant about anything that needed to be handled for the day. Once that was done, I’d check my phone twice, maybe three times a day – Only when my daughter was occupied with something else, and only for the briefest of minutes. End result? I was still able to “work,” but with a lot less “work” involved.

Rule 2: “Chilling out” doesn’t mean letting other aspects of your life fall by the wayside.
Because I wasn’t going into the office all the time, I quickly realized that I could use that as an excuse to not get my daily workouts in. This was a huge mistake, and one I corrected within the first week. Even if I wasn’t going into the office, I still needed that dopamine hit that came with my early morning exercise. So I made sure to still get up at the same time and still start my day by working out. Just because you’re relaxing a bit more during the summer doesn’t mean you can let yourself go physically. I found that the best way for me to chill out was to keep up certain routines, while letting others go.

Rule 3: On the days you do go into the office, work hard.
I went into the office about two days a week for the past two months. But those two days were nonstop work. I’d get in around 7:30am, sit down, and immediately start writing, producing, creating… All the things I normally do – I’d do probably five days worth of content creation in two days. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish when you’re truly head down for six straight hours. When you’re chill, you’re chill. When you’re working, there’s no chill.

Rule 4: Do NOT compare yourself to anyone else.
A big part of my chilling out plan this summer was to reboot my brain, to spend more time with my daughter, and to make sure I was in the best possible place come the fall. Because of that,  I knew I might not be tackling certain projects until September. The key to being OK with that was to make sure I wasn’t looking at my fellow entrepreneurs and being concerned that I wasn’t doing as much as them. I was on my own path, just like you’re on your own path. Remember: The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. To put it another way, focus on your own lawn and stop worrying about whether your neighbor’s grass is greener.

As the summer winds down, I can tell you that I’m in a great place, and super excited about what’s to come for the remainder of the year. Hopefully these ideas can help you get to the same place.

 

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Jess says:

    Brilliant, Peter. Glad to hear you took some “you” time. Thanks for sharing your results for success.
    “Remember: The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” Wear Sunscreen is one of my favorite speeches/songs. I listen to it frequently!

  • vickie Smith says:

    So awesome! Our kids will ony be with us a short time.. They are the most worthwhile investment! I hustled more and sacrificed some time with my kids than I should have.. then figured it out…. Now to get better at working hard and not getting distracted 🙂 Thought I’d get more done in the summers but switching to more done during the school year.

  • I love this. I have also found that taking more “chill” and “me” time puts me in a better place to work, overall. In fact, any time I’m struggling to stay focused more than usual at work, I’m learning it means I haven’t been giving myself enough chill time to counteract the hustle. Thanks for the great reminder!

  • Brad Wilson says:

    That’s interesting. Your comments about working 2 days a week and not seeing a decrease in productivity reminded me of this article: https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/19/news/economy/new-zealand-four-day-work-week-perpetual-guardian/index.html

  • As all of your blogs are, this is awesome Peter. Efficiency is key and so many of us get caught up in little to-do lists and long emails and social media. Idea is to work smart, take care of ourselves and truly spend time doing what we love and with those we appreciate most. Big hug to you! – Eli

  • Cooper Koch says:

    I used to joke that the benefits of self employment were lost on me because I felt so guilty about not “working” standard hours. Finally, I did what you did and said “this is my new normal”…and nothing bad happened. Quite the contrary, my life feels so much more MINE without damaging my business. Like you, my office time feels higher quality rather than just making time go by.

  • Sarah Cummings says:

    So motivating! I appreciate that you figure out how to have set aside greater opportunity to chill. What’s more, the outcome? You end up more joyful with your children.

  • It’s funny because I did the same thing this summer. I am a realtor and usually summers are the busiest time of the year. I did my family summer calendar in the spring and I was overwhelmed with all the things we had planned and then I added much more as the summer cruised along. We ended up remodeling a house that we own which is two hours away so we were gone ever weekend this summer. I also added in a road trip to Redding, California to help the victims of the devastating Carr Fire. I did a fundraiser on FB and raised $3300 that I was able to use to buy necessities for families that had lost their homes. It was an amazing experience and I really hope that I can go back down and help with the rebuilding phase in a couple of months. We also went to New York for a week and that was a total blast. Today was the first day I had seen a lot of friends at a business social and it was so amazing to get back into the normal groove again. I may have missed out on some business but I feel like it was worth it to be able to take the time to do the things that I wanted and needed to do. I am very thankful for taking a break and I am so excited to get back into the normal local volunteering and functions that come with the holidays.

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