It made sense.

Way back in the day — gosh, it was twenty years ago — I worked for a fitness entrepreneur/trainer who had an indelible impact on my life.

One of the most pivotal things I learned from Todd is how he managed his calendar. He called it color-coding. 

There were three colors…

Green was “go time.” As in, it’s time to put the peddle to the mettle and make that green (money). For him, this meant putting in a lot of hours with his clients, writing articles, and traveling to teach seminars. Green time could last a few weeks.

Yellow meant slow down. This is when he backed off on the hustle and bustle so he could work on admin stuff. After a yellow period, he would either go back into the green or go red.

Red meant red light. STOP. Take the wife and kids on a vacation. Recovery time. If I remember correctly, red intervals were quarterly. 

This was so different from what I’d been doing in my own business. My calendar was essentially evergreen. It was go-go-go. And I was burnt out because of it.

It was like I was in a competition where the winner was the nincompoop who worked the most hours and got the least sleep. In hindsight, I can see that the long hours gave me a sense of self-worth. I mean, without such insane productivity, who was I?

I think most people struggle with this. Their lights are always green. Just the thought of slowing down makes them feel like they’ll fall behind. Stopping and taking a much-needed break makes them feel guilty.

But here’s the thing. When you’re working yourself into a state of burnout, the work you’re doing is typically really bad work. If your plan is to “go hard” for a few years and then rest when you’re done, well, that’s a really bad plan. If you think you’re cool because you’re at the office until 2am every night, you’re not really that cool. I assume you’re miserable.

I actually have a theory about this: most people won’t slow down or take a break because when they’re not in a state of chronic busyness they’d be left to their own thoughts. That scares the hell out them. So, green light.

If you feel like you’re knee-deep in the rat race, perpetually stuck in the green, trying to finish in one year what should take 3-5, then today’s episode is for you.

Brené Brown discusses the importance of embracing the greens … while also making time for yellows and reds.

Source: The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage