As an entrepreneur, especially one that is just starting out, this is a constant dilemma.
To some people, the perception of running your own business may seem like you have all the freedom in the world. No one to tell you when to come in to work, when to take your lunch or when to clock out. You have the ability to work on any project you wish to that day or take a day off when you just feel like sleeping in or spending a nice relaxing day at the beach.
This is what I used to think when I would daydream about owning my own business someday. This fantasy quickly turned into a harsh reality when I started working on building up my business full-time. My day-to-day activities were dictated by a never ending to-do list that seemed to multiply every time I cross out a task. With a million and one projects that kept growing each day, sleep, which once was considered a regular pastime, has sadly become a scarce commodity.
I like sleep just as much as the next person. As a young kid, afternoon naps were a part of my daily routine. So it is not surprising that when I became an adult, sleeping for at least 8-9 hours a day was something that I was accustomed to. If I got anything less than my normal eight hours of rest, I would feel drained and unable to fully function throughout the day. But when my hours started to get filled with a list of priorities, along with a full-time day job at a corporate workplace, I saw my eight hours of needed sleep dwindle down to a measly five.
My stamina was tested recently when I was invited byRAWartists, an independent organization that spotlights local up and coming artists and designers, to showcase my wristlets. The event was held at the world famous Key Club on Sunset Blvd. I had less than a month to prepare and put together my first ever fashion show, which I had to incorporate in my already busy and hectic schedule. I had planned an elaborate production that included everything from creating new designs, casting the models, coordinating the show and schedule for the day of and arranging the rehearsals, down to the smallest details like picking out the music selection and timing .
I had three weeks to plan and execute this project. But in reality, I only had a few hours reserved to complete these tasks, as I still have my regular 9-5 day job to tend to along with personal commitments with family and friends. Each day felt like a race against time. And the hours normally spent relaxing or sleeping had been replaced with hours of toiling and preparing for the show. My much beloved sleep suddenly got in the way of accomplishing all the things I needed to do.
As I worked non-stop to complete each item in my "to-do" list, I watched the clock tick away pass my normal bed time. I found myself fantasizing about the ability of not having a need for sleep. Just the thought of having those extra hours each day working on a project, learning new things, or spending time with loved ones was appealing. Can you imagine how much more you could accomplish with eight waking hours per day instead of lying in bed, sleeping?
I had the opportunity one day to see and personally meet Ms. Arianna Huffington herself in one of her speaking events held at Royce Hall in UCLA. She talked about the benefits of sleep and why it is such an important activity that we all must get enough of. She touched on her experiences as an entrepreneur consumed by her work. And like me, sleeping was the last thing on her list as she worked tirelessly everyday on her business. One day out of exhaustion, she collapsed and banged her head on the way down, resulting with a broken cheek bone and stitches under her eyebrow. This unfortunate event was her wake-up call to place sleep back as her priority. Ever since then she has been an advocate for sleep, encouraging everyone to place more importance on this often taken for granted necessity.
But as I try to balance my personal and business life, sleep as of right now is definitely taking the back burner. As much as I want to get back to my old routine of getting at least eight hours of sleep per day, my current responsibilities as an entrepreneur still determines how much sleep I get.