For many of us, running a business we’re passionate about, on our own terms, is a dream come true. It’s something we’ve thought long and hard about, shed tears over and put our heart and soul into. It’s a fabulous way of life. If your business is home based, you can make money without even putting any make up on or straightening your hair and you don’t waste valuable time commuting. But when you’re fully absorbed in it, it’s easy to lose track of time, allowing your business to eat into the precious moments you want to spend socialising, with your family, exercising etc.
So how do you stop the business you love from taking over your life?
Set your hours and stick to them. This doesn’t necessarily mean working 9-5. We’re all different and we do our best work at different times of day. Once you know what routine works for you, aim to stick roughly to it. Starting work by a set time each day means the day is less likely to run away from you and you’ll be more productive. I bought myself a sign for my door, which says Ouvert/Open on one side and Ferme/Closed on the other. It’s a bit of fun but turning it over at the beginning and end of the day is also a good prompt to make the mental switch.
Do your work in blocks and keep an eye on the clock. If you’re easily distracted by social media or chores round the house, work on something for a set amount of time, say 90 minutes, then allow yourself a break. Splitting your day into blocks like this helps you plan out how much you can achieve too.
Have a designated area of your house that you work in. This helps you switch off when you leave that area for a break or at the end of the day and there’s less temptation to get sucked into your work when you should be doing something else. If you don’t have a separate office, always clear your work things away at the end of the day – out of sight, out of mind!
Set rules with your partner and family. If your other half or your mum has never run a business, there’s a danger that they will assume working from home means you have all day to chat on the phone, run errands and clean the house. Be clear with them when you’re available and when you’re not. You can schedule a long lunch with them or nip to the shops when it’s nice and quiet but make sure you’re not working long into the night and missing other social events to make up for it.
Set appointments/gym classes/meet friends early in the evening so that you have to finish on time. Not only will it force you to get your butt out of your home office rather than faffing around with ‘just one more task’ you think you need to do, it’s amazing how much more productive you are throughout the day when you’ve got a deadline to work to. Think how productive you are the day before you go on holiday.
Set rules for yourself around when you will and won’t allow yourself to look at your phone, iPad etc. As a rule I try not to look after 9pm at all. Before that in the evenings, I’ll check Facebook and Twitter as these are more social channels for me. I try to resist looking at my emails as this is where the work stuff will hit. It’s rare that something will come in that’s so urgent I must deal with it there and then but I’ll still think about it and it will disturb my relaxation. Much better to leave it alone till the business day starts again tomorrow.
These may sound like very rigid ideas to impose on the business that you love. However, once you have a framework to work within, you can relax and get as engrossed as you want in your work. One of the huge benefits of running your own business is the flexibility to do what you want, when you want. Just make sure that it really is you who is setting the agenda, not your clients or your family.
My main New Year’s resolution is to stop buying clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. I realised that I can’t simply continue amassing large quantities of garments and shoes at the rate I’ve been doing recently. My bank account complains and so does my wardrobe, that seems to be constantly vomiting its contents because it’s so full.
I have decided that to get my new item fix I’d have to trade, make or get given something and that I’m not allowed to spend money on more clothes. In the meantime, I have also determined that I have to cull my wardrobe, to the extent of being able to get rid of my extra rail and get a nice little vanity in its place. Now this is a Herculean task (at least for me), but needs to be done if my sanity is to be maintained…
I have to say that I have been doing very well so far, although it is only March, so not a long time has passed yet. Hopefully I can continue to resist the urge to add more and more junk to my collection as stuff ends up owing you instead of the other way around.
This then got me thinking, where did the shopping addiction come from? Although I never had a credit card and got into trouble with it and in these terms can be considered a mild situation, it still stops me from being able to save more money. Money that could be used to much more useful things in the future, like travelling, or even having a cushy pension. Even if you shop only the sales or buy second hand, it’s still money that adds up at the end of the month. Also the piling up of stuff is a problem and it has become unmanageable, which causes me some stress and anxiety.
It’s a lot more than just filling some void I’d have to do some therapy to discover what it is… I realised that the reason it became such a habit, was because the shopping and sourcing of items became a creative process in itself. That’s right. Am I alone in this? Shopping became addictive because it stimulated my creativity to no end. Seeing something and imagining all the possibilities… so much fun! This is also what makes me good at shopping at flea markets, as visualising what a dress that looks like a rag in a pile of other rags would look like in a different context is what makes the process possible and successful.
So what can I do regarding this? Right now I am shopping my own closet, wearing items I’ve barely worn or haven’t worn in a long time and donating them to charity or swapping them. For now it seems to be working although there is still a lot of work to be done. Once I don’t have to deal with piles and piles of clothes every week I am hoping to have more time and energy to actually learn how to sew properly and steer my creativity in that direction.
How about you? Do you have (or had) the same problem? How do you cope with it?
(Outfit details: Head Band – Gingham fabric from local fabric store, Cambray Skirt- American Apparell via ASOS, Ribbed Crop Top – H&M (via Ebay),Long sleeve Top – Primark, Camera – Fuji Instax, Camera Bag – Ebay, Shoes- Springfield, Neon $ Belt – River Island, via ASOS)