Do the Laundry: Why Mundane Life Tasks Are Important When Building a Startup

You wake up. Grab everything still scattered on your desk from last night and cram it in a bag. You’re probably wearing running shoes with your dress socks. You may or may not have remembered to brush your teeth or eat breakfast.

With that, you’re off. On to the next 14 hour day. Again. And again.

You’ll try to get as much done as possible. You don’t know when you’ll get home again and your roommate is ready to move out on you because you’re never home during normal hours to give him friendship.

Today could include writing copy, sales, talking with that new pilot that’s already having second guesses about working with such a new company, pitching, or hiring. Or maybe firing.

Every day you wake up nauseous from a mix fear and passion. You’re operating at the edge of your physical abilities and constantly far beyond your mental abilities. You’re floating in the world of making promises with delivery due in two days for things you haven’t even started to build yet.

In all of this, what’s keeping you grounded?

When building a startup, one of the best things you can do is take half of a day and just do the menial tasks that “normal” people do. Give your mind the time to calm down. Go back to something safe and automatic. Come back to earth for a bit.

When you’re at the edge of sanity everyday, it’s actually ok to spend a few hours feeling comfortable. Do the laundry, go for a walk. Come back, take a full shower for once. Clean your dishes. Throw away all of the coffee cups still sitting on your desk.

It’s in these actions, during the times you slow down, that your mind will connect things it couldn’t when you were pushing hard. During my startup journey thus far, these are the times that something has clicked and suddenly everything has made sense.

It is okay to still think about business. Stimulate your mind with simple tasks and let it connect ideas and solutions for you.

Action:

  1. Schedule 4 hours this coming weekend to do “nothing”.
  2. Hide your phone and computer in a closet.
  3. Do the laundry. Go for a jog. Head to the farmers market, grab some local food and cook yourself a nice dinner. Do anything that doesn’t add to your business.

Hint: “Do anything” doesn’t mean “do everything”. Pick one thing to slow down and enjoy.

 

Originally Published on Medium