The past few weeks have been supercharged with activity - a big Demo Day presentation, exciting customer meetings, an interview, and an intense but amazing workshop run by two Venture Capital gurus putting us entrepreneurs through a painful (and much needed) grilling. About a week ago, I noticed that my brain was quickly overloading to the point where I just had to stop. But I couldn’t just stop. The vortex of momentum just kept going, and this kept my mind going; thinking about top priorities, learning something new every day, planning the next days and weeks against our 90-day SMART goals, and adding continuously to that never-ending to-do list (and ticking things off too)…
How could I stop when there is so much to do, and when each completed action (like a great customer meeting) compounded that sense of momentum and fueled further action. Maybe it was partially pure adrenaline too, because building a startup is so extremely exciting and fulfilling.
I was torn because on one side the momentum of activity was invigorating, but at the same time I knew that if I didn’t stop and recharge, the quality of my efforts would decrease.
Then one day last week I finally did stop. It wasn’t a choice. I just fell asleep and didn’t move for more than twelve hours. When I did awake, I made the conscious choice to ‘not do anything’ for another day. Of course it wasn’t quite true, because I did do things like follow up on emails and close out several open items, but comparatively speaking, I was taking a break.
And what a difference that made. In just two days, I was recharged, having taken long walks, read a book called Venture Deals (ok, that was work related too), and I felt ready to increase that momentum and activity in building a business.
It has been a long time since I experienced that level of mental exhaustion, and it reminded me of how important it is to manage one’s energy level. It’s a question of balancing that vortex of momentum that encourages continuous activity, while still keeping the big picture vision and at the same time keeping the focus. That’s a lot to balance at once, and I realized that that as a leader, you need to take care of yourself so you can take care of others and your business. Taking that break was the key to regaining that balance between the big picture, momentum and focus.
- What do you do when caught in the vortex of activity?
- What strategies do you use to manage your energy?
- What has worked for you to both keep the big picture and your focus?