I’m honestly, writing this blog post as a lesson for myself. It is something that I am constantly striving to achieve (somewhat unsuccessfully).
When you love what you do, it can really take over your life but everyone needs a break. Over recent years there has been a huge shift in attitudes to work. There seems to be no cut off time and no structured work hours. This may work for some but I feel the line is easily blurred between work life and home life.
My life has been super crazy over the last few months. I have new trainers who are working with me now and many more coming on board soon plus I have recently been delving into the world of product development (that is a whole other blog post – but coming shortly) and sometimes I feel it is impossible to switch off!
So I decided to sit down and write myself a list of ‘rules’ that will, not only help me achieve what I want, but hopefully will give you some ideas to achieve the same.
- Have a cut off time!
Oh this one is the hardest for me! There are so many platforms for clients to contact us on these days. Website, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp. I am a massive advocate of using social medial to assist your business, but I have also realised (perhaps a little late) how important it is to set boundaries! No one should expect a reply at 10 pm at night! If you let your clients think it is OK to call or text you, then they will. If you set firm boundaries around when you are available, it will help you relax when you are ‘off the clock’ and avoid feel burned out.
So what if you have an open door policy and you want to make the shift? You should notify your clients in a professional manner with your schedule changes and enforcing that this will improve your ability to meet their needs more effectively. I guarantee if I have ever forgotten to order a kit, or book a course – its because I have answered a message out of my working hours, when I’ve been out, or not had my diary next to me, and its slipped my mind. This is not professional and causes us more stress. In the long term you will be more organised and less mistakes will happen.
- Turn off technology
Take control of your smart phone, not your phone controlling you! When you want to spend time with your loved ones, turn the phone off. They are such a distraction and so easy to waste valuable time on!
- Time Management
Work smarter not harder! Try to create a schedule and stick to it. I love my ‘to do’ lists! They really help keep me on track when I have lots of tasks to organise. Seeing the list written down and then crossed off makes me more relaxed and less stressed. If you have a big list, order it in priorities.
- Try not to get distracted by Social Media (another failing I have).
Set a timer and try and get as much done in a 30 minute window – I always find that helps me get down to it, rather than fluffing about with other stuff. We all know how easy it is to waste 20 minutes scrolling through mindless posts on Facebook!!
- Schedule important personal activities
You need time for yourself too. It could be coffee with a friend, date night, play dates with your kids, a Pilates or Yoga class. Sometimes just that first cup of coffee in the morning before you start work just to give yourself a mind reset and prepared yourself for the day ahead.
- Make sure you eat lunch
A huge one in our industry! How many of us skip lunch and work all day living on coffee and sugary snacks! Meal planning and making yourself a healthy lunch the night before can be helpful. A vegetable soup that can easily be re-heated, a nice fresh salad with some fruit! Something that can store well in a container and is easy to bring to work.
You owe it to yourself and it is vital for your energy and wellbeing.
- Take a holiday
It is so hard when you are self employed, especially when you are starting out your business, but if you are working flat out building your business, you can burn out very quickly. It doesn’t have to be a 2 week vacation (ideal of course), but a long weekend can be a great way to re-charge your batteries. Sometimes just a day off can leave you feeling re-freshed and re-focused.
- Learn to say no!
You cannot please everyone. You cannot be available to everyone all the time. Clients can place huge demands on us, along with friends, family and staff. Putting yourself first every now and again is not selfish!
- Don’t try to be perfect
Being a working mum can be hugely stressful. You can totally feel like you are being pulled in so many directions. Learn to delegate! Get your partner, kids on board to help you with the household chores and don’t beat yourself up if things are not ‘perfect’! Give yourself a break!
- Make the changes!
Try to implement some of the ideas above. Or make your own rules! Put yourself first once in a while and treat yourself as you would hope a boss would treat you. Not only will be you a happier and less stressed person, but you will enjoy your job more! Being self employed is so rewarding, we sometimes just need to be a better boss to ourselves!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have any great ideas on how to achieve the work/life balance I would love to hear them!!