First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the huge value that you deliver through your blog and your newsletter. I often use your advices, striving to become better and more self-disciplined.
I am a junior engineer working within the automotive industry. This is a demanding job and I work at least 45 hours a week. As I want to become independant (i.e. being able to work on my own projects from any place in the world) as soon as possible, I am starting to create my first business (I'm currently researching a niche market).
I have GTD'ed my schedule and eliminated most of worthless activities such as video games, TV shows and compulsive internet browsing.
But still, I am finding it really hard to secure at least two hours a day to work on my project since apart from my day job, it takes me a lot of time to exercice on a daily basis, socialize, read a bit, sleep 7h30 per night and deal with the daily chores...
So my question:
- Would you have some ideas that I could implement right now to improve my character and habits in that direction?
I love what you're doing man - excellent stuff. Seems to me like you've gotten a lot of the hard stuff out of the way. Breaking addictions and getting generally organized might even be harder than the actual production - so you're doing great stuff already.
Recommended habits going forwards:
Wake up at 4:30AM, work for 2-3 hours before work, go to bed really early. If possible. This is somewhat hard to do, but it means you'll be not tired when working on your own stuff. If you can do this on weekdays, and put in 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday, then you can easily get in 15-20 hours per week on your side project, which is enough. Totally doable.
Cut your expenses as low as they can without screwing up your productive ability and bank as much cash as you can. Pay off debt first, then bank cash. This means you'll be able to break free sooner from full time work... for instance, if one of your projects starts making $500/month, that might not be enough to quit your job. But $500 plus $5000 in the bank might give you 6-12 months after quitting to grow your business... the savings makes a big difference. Lowering expenses benefits you twice - you bank more cash, and you need less cash to keep going. This is very easy if you're single, trickier if you have a family but still doable.
You only get 24 hours per day, so by definition, if you're doing your side projects, you're not doing something else. I won't call it a "sacrifice" - it's not, really, because it leads to the best life overall - but spending time on side projects will mean less time into other things. That's just the nature of it, and you need to accept that. If you acknowledge it up front, you probably feel less resentful that you don't get as much time with your friends, or time on the beach, or whatever. Of course, if you make one of your projects a success, then you get tons more time and freedom later and it's well worth it... just acknowledge up-front that you're making the trade. Sooner or later you'll feel frustrated "why do I work so much while everyone else is screwing off and having fun?" - and you'll already have your answer. "Because I'm building, and it's going to be worth it." Acknowledging upfront helps.
Great email, thanks for reading and thanks for dropping me a line. If anyone here has experiences with working full time and getting a side project off the ground, let's hear them in the comments.
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