The word for our family for this year is “hustle,” because we are working hard to get out of debt as fast as we can. We could have also chosen words such as determination, endurance, or perseverance, because our road to debt freedom is a marathon not a sprint.
The first quarter of the year is over. The excitement has worn off and the initial burst of adrenaline is over, but we need to keep moving and hustling. Daniel and I needed to find a comfortable, but fast pace that we can maintain the rest of the year. We have tried working until we drop, but that method requires a long recovery time.
How can we work all the time and keep going?
These 5 steps are helping Daniel and I maintain a quality of life while working many hours a day. When I hear stories of people who paid off a lot of debt quickly and worked all the time I want to know how they did it and still kept their family going. This is how we balance family and working.
1. Create a schedule at the start of the week with dedicated blocks of time
Be realistic when you create a schedule, because you still need sleep. We know that we aren’t early risers, so we don’t schedule anything before 7:00 a.m., but we are okay with filling up the schedule until 11:00 p.m. or midnight. The schedule isn’t set in stone, but we are able to set our expectations for the week and guard our time from outside influences.
2. Stick to your priorities
Determine your non-negotiables and do your best to stick to them. For Daniel that is completing his hours for his day job. For me that is homeschooling our kids and making sure our youngest gets a nap. I know if these things happen, then we are having a good day even if the extras didn’t happen.
3. Let a few normal, everyday tasks slide temporarily
Huge projects eat up your working hours and your energy, so it is okay if not everything gets done. It’s like a chef who orders out every night while writing a cookbook. Last year when I had a lot more free time I was able to keep the house scrubbed. Now I am happy when it is picked up and swept. I used to cook elaborate meals, but now I am content to provide food to keep us going. If you are married, then both spouses need to understand that this a by-product of working hard.
4. Enjoy the work
Don’t fall in love with the results of your work, instead fall in love with the work. It would be really bad to hate the extra work which brings in the extra money, but the work is building your dream. Jon Acuff says in “Quitter,” that you should “fall in like” with your day job. If you like or better yet love your work, then it is going to make spending all those hours much easier to complete. I often tell people that I love the work I am doing, because it is so much fun.
5. Fill yourself with motivation
Read our Bible, listen to podcasts, read blogs, read books, or listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show. Fill your heart with knowledge and encouragement to press on, because no one else is going to cheer your on. Your friends might nod and smile when you talk about getting out of debt, but they aren’t there late at night to tell you to keep working. Almost everything is screaming at you to stop working so hard, but the reality is that you can’t. You have a dream and you want to keep hustling to cross the finish line.
How do you work all the time and keep going? Do you follow the same schedule every week or does it change often?