One of the biggest challenges of working on a startup is creating a daily routine that is sustainable, and managing your expectations in the long term. An easy trap to fall into is saying to yourself “I’m going to be unhappy for a while until I’ll make it” and then burn out quickly, not able to proceed.
While it’s of course true that you need to work hard, I think that you should also think throughly what you are spending your time on. Sometimes this attitude of “sacrifice” is a way of procrastination and avoidance. It’s easier to set a goal and bury yourself in hard work that you are comfortable with because you know how to do well, than it is to face the things you may not want to do but have to. You prefer to avoid and postpone the tasks that are hard for you because they are out of your comfort zone.
I think a lot of startup founders do that by setting unrealistic goals for themselves and then burn out. Instead of only focusing on the goal, it’s good to also think about how you would like each of your days to look like in the long term? What roles and tasks will you need to be doing daily when your company is successful? Assuming, of course, that you are willing to work hard and be productive and your choice is between different kinds of hard, dedicated work. Which type of hard work would it be? Is it sustainable to work the way you do now for the long term and expect results?
Whether it’s cold calling new prospects, spending time learning how to market your product even though you’re not good at it at all or even working out every day so you’ll be able to live a maintainable lifestyle. Whatever it is, you cannot postpone it to some later date, you must start now. Even if you suck at it and you don’t like doing it, I suggest you allocate some time to it daily. After all, the only way to get good at something is to do it a lot, so you better start asap.
I think that by finding a daily routine that has a balance between the things you are comfortable working on and the skills you want to acquire but still don’t have, you’ll be able to go on for the long term and actually get to results faster. You must mix in the things that will require you to step out of your comfort zone but are crucial for your success.
After all, living life in a state of a constant anticipation for something to happen in order for you to be happy and satisfied in life, usually results in disappointment. And the things that you are not doing now and postponing for later are critical to have that sustainable routine.
I’m writing this from a personal experience of working on my company. I’m comfortable with programming and that’s what I prefer to do. I spent many hours writing code and building products while saying to myself that I have to keep working hard until I achieve my goal. However, what I really did is bury my head in writing code instead of also setting time aside for marketing, writing and working with others. I felt like I’m not satisfied with the way I live my life because I know that I’m only delaying all the other things I need to do.
What are you postponing for later when you’ll “make it” and will have more time?