I know entrepreneurs who get up three hours early every day to get shit done before the world interferes.
Some schedule things down to the minute.
Some can only do work while in certain environments.
Some are convinced early morning is the ONLY time they have to work on the business. Some swear they get nothing done before 2 pm.
So. Many. Rules.
I am often asked by the same people, “Why is my day so disrupted? I feel like I can never get anything done. I’m doing what all the experts say.”
Here’s my question:
Who are these experts you speak of? And why do you give a shit how they spend their time?
YOU don’t need to follow someone else’s routine or rules in order to be an entrepreneur.
YOU don’t need to arrange your office the way Gary Vee does in order to have a 6-figure business.
YOU don’t need to use trendy new software to keep track of your clients.
YOU only need to show up – in the way only YOU can – when you want to.
Understandably, some people need structure or discipline so they can get in the habit of showing up regularly. What we don’t need is someone else’s structure.
How Tony Robbins parts his curtains in the morning is irrelevant. It’s a stall tactic. Another way to say, ‘Oh, my desk, office, environment, [insert excuse] isn’t ready yet. I can’t do this today.’
You’re just screwing around.
The truth is, the most successful and impactful people in the world get shit done no matter the circumstances. And THAT’S WHY WE LOVE THEM. We adore an underdog. We root for the guy who’s up against it all and determined to overcome. You know why? Because you are him, goofball. You know you can do the same.
Environment is irrelevant. Noise, people, distractions, shitty voice in your head, kids demanding attention, etc., etc. – none of it means permanent derailment. Tend to whatever and get right back to it.
Otherwise, all you’re telling yourself and the world is that it’s just not that important. (And you can complain about how you have no time.)
But don’t take my word for it. Below are thoughts from four infamous men on their own daily routines:
Kurt Vonnegut‘s famous routine included Scotch and swimming: “In an unmoored life like mine, sleep and hunger and work arrange themselves to suit themselves, without consulting me.”
Tim Ferris lives much more freely, as his idea of a schedule is having none. “I don’t have to do anything in this schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.”
Jack Kerouac answered a question about his daily routine this way: “I’m beginning to suspect the full moon. Also I’m hung up on the number nine though I’m told a Piscean like myself should stick to number seven; but I try to do nine touchdowns a day, that is, I stand on my head in the bathroom, on a slipper, and touch the floor nine times with my toe tips, while balanced. This is incidentally more than yoga, it’s an athletic feat, I mean imagine calling me ‘unbalanced’ after that.”
Perhaps the late, great E.B. White said it best: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” (Really. Truly. Honestly. Read that about five times, then write it out on 100 Post-It notes and plaster them all over your house.)
When someone asks about my routine, I quote Ferris Bueller. “You realize if we played by the rules, right now we’d be in gym?”
My advice for nearly all things may have become an aggressively mediocre cliché by now. But I hope you’ll still use it regularly: Fuck the rules. Just show up.
It’s so much easier to enjoy your work and your life when you begin to trust yourself and let go of your made-up expectations. No one cares how you do things, or even if you do them. You need to decide if you care, and how much.
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