As soon as I saw this quote, it made me laugh – for me, it’s totally true! Running your own business means that so much of yourself is put into it. All your time, energy, enthusiasm. Recently, I’ve been trying to have a better work-life-balance. I’ve been obsessed with my business in the past – like constantly checking emails, orders, reviews etc., all day long. Of course, putting lots of time and effort into your business is great and if you have a passion for it, that will be reflected in the work you do or the products you make. But it can be a little exhausting to put 200% of your energy into the small things all the time (being online all day for example).
Since moving Ruby Wren into it’s own room, it’s allowed me to open the door to start work, and close the door when I’m finished. I think that division between home and work has really benefitted me. I’ve even had weekends recently where I didn’t even step into the office, which is a first for me! I think giving Ruby Wren a designated space has allowed me to shut off from business things more during the evening and weekends. My phone still has my emails, order admin, and all my reviews and stats loaded in my browser, so it’s not a total shut-off, but I’m trying to not check those as obsessively during my down-time.
I think it’s really good to spend some time away from things, a digital detox or taking real breaks away from work. It gives your mind time to rest and think clearly without the ‘noise’ of email checking, review refreshing and social media. It feels like the time I spend on work has more value and more meaning and that I’m working much more efficiently. I feel like I’m not burning myself out like I have been. Of course, it may also be that having the puppies, working on the house, etc, means I have more on my plate now than I did and my attention is split between other important things.
I saw a blog from the wonderful Jenny Hyde recently about the importance of taking lunch breaks and it really resonated with me. Taking time for yourself, away from work, internet distractions and to-do lists, is really a good for you. I’m prone to working until something’s finished. When I was working on the new website recently, I got up, did my usual ‘work things’ like orders, emails and dropping the mail off at the sorting office, and then worked until I went to bed on the new website. I’m pretty sure, even when I did go to bed, I was planning the website design in my head and working out tomorrow’s jobs. While sometime’s it’s great to have a new exciting project that you want to devote all your time to, when the running of your business is the biggest part of your daily life, there needs to be time for rest and rejuvenation, so you can better use your time and regain enthusiasm for the work you do.
A few of my tips for a better work-life-balance:
- Take regular breaks (read Jenny’s post here)
- Set yourself a time limit and stick to it – even a time table works great so you can assign parts of the day to certain tasks.
- Turn off the computer when you’ve finished work
- Spend time outside, go for a walk
- Rediscover an old hobby or start a new one to make your time away from work as enjoyable as work time.
- Eat proper meals and sit down at a table to eat them (no sandwiches at the computer!)
- Make time for exercise (I find exercise is great for clearing your mind and making you feel good!).
- A long hot bath is a great way to unwind and relax.
- And, most importantly, don’t feel guilty about the time you spend not working!