A few weeks ago (or was it months?) I shared a poll to help decide what blog theme you would most like me to share next, and winning the overall majority was ‘wellbeing as a small business owner’.
We don’t leave secure jobs because we’ve dreamed of working longer hours, giving up our weekends, and nurturing a never ending to-do-list (hello, emailing myself reminders at 11pm when I’m trying to go to sleep!).
There are of course days when I work long hours and check emails when I should be away from work – that’s only natural as a passionate business owner – but I’ve learnt a few things along the way to turn small business life into a sustainable and enjoyable existence.
How I prioritise my wellbeing as a small business owner:
We are creatures of habit and, whether we like to admit it or not, we thrive off having a routine. It gives us some purpose and frees up mental space. Set your alarm every day, even if you don’t have to start ‘work’ at any particular time, the early start helps you get into a good routine and gives you time to not feel rushed. Plus, you’ll still get to enjoy the luxury of a lie-in on your days off!
- FRESH AIR
Make time for a lunchtime stroll, especially on the days when you feel you don’t have the time. Take your dog to the park before your work day starts, walk around the block to ‘commute’ to work, or go for a jog to clear your mind after a long day of brain work.
- NO MORE 9-5
This has been the hardest thing for me to break away from; The idea that we must be productively working (or at least at our desks) Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm, except on bank holidays. This absolutely is NOT the case. So long as you are available when your clients need to contact you, you meet your deadlines, keep your business thriving, and complete your to-do lists, it really doesn’t matter when you work. There is no need to feel guilty for not being at your desk at 3pm on a Wednesday, especially if you are needed elsewhere (School run or yoga class?). Even if you just feel like doing some housework or reading a book by the fire, that’s allowed – just ask your boss! (Oh, wait, that’s YOU!).
The same goes for working outside of traditional hours – if you’re a morning person and prefer working between 7am–9am, then go for it. Feel like you’ve fallen behind on your projects this week? Then use your free Saturday morning to catch up if it can’t wait until the following week.
In your old job it was ok to clock-watch and shut down your computer at dead on 5pm. So why is it so hard to do this when you’re on a computer at home? I don’t have the answer, and it’s something I struggle with. I do try to have a cut off time at the end of the day (6pm) where if I haven’t completed my days work by then, it can be added to tomorrow’s job list. Try making plans for early evening as a way to make sure you have to finish your work. Being overworked only has negative effects on your productivity, quality of work and mood.
Looking after yourself both mentally and physically is an essential component to small business success, and I hope these tips will help you on your way.
Get in touch if you’d like to talk more about self employed life!
Or perhaps you’d like to take a look at my portfolio and see exactly what it is that I love doing.
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