“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”
When you run your own business, it’s all too easy to end up working all of the time. Believe me, I’ve been there working on a weekend, telling myself “whatever you get done now, is one less thing you’ll have to do this week”. But that’s a vicious cycle, which leaves zero time to relax and recouperate, and most importantly in a creative business, no time to be inspired. I often feel guilty when I’m not doing something related to work, which isn’t exactly healthy is it? A few weeks ago, that ended up with me reaching burnout point… feeling completely overwhelmed, overworked, flooded with a winter cold, and forced to take some days off.
So I’m making a few promises to myself on what I’m going to be doing from this point forward to reduce the chances of burnout happening again. Hopefully they resonate with you too?
Make time for joy.
What do you love? What feeds your soul? For me, this is music. Listening to music, and playing the piano helps me to detach from the busy-ness of business, and switch off from the outside world. What is it that does that for you? Make it part of your daily schedule.
Have more fun.
Plan out your social life. Make plans to meet a friend for lunch or dinner, or even for a quick drink. Anything that gets you out of the office and stops you from working, or even thinking about work.
Introduce boundaries, and stick to them.
Recently, I’ve been trying to focus all business communication through email… rather than having messages spread over WhatsApp, Instagram, texts, Facebook… it’s a lot to handle! Focusing your communication through one channel will allow you to be more efficient and consistent in your approach. I’ve started only checking emails twice a day which has really helped me to stick to my plan for the day, rather than my inbox dictating what needs to be done.
Reduce screen time.
Turn off annoying notifications, or any notifications for apps that you don’t need to see popping up every two minutes. A lot of apps use notifications to keep luring you back to the app, in order to generate more advertising revenue. Do you really need to see every Instagram notification or email popping up on your phone as it comes through, which then distracts you from your current task and thinking about what you’re going to reply? Probably not.
Take a deep breath and feel ready to do your best work after a short pause in your day. Even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day, help yourself become more centred and calm.
Sleep deprivation does not create a happy, productive or creative me. A minimum of 7 hours usually does the trick. Set up Do Not Disturb on your phone between specific hours so that you don’t end up checking what’s causing your phone to vibrate every 2 minutes.
Be more productive.
Try different workflows, try new ways of working, get out of your routine a little bit, set some working hours. See what works best for you.
Say no to them. Say yes to you.
A wise lady told me this recently. “Saying no to them is saying yes to you”… amazing! And it takes away that guilt of saying no too.
Make room to breathe.
Go out for a walk, make a cup of tea or coffee, gaze out the window, daydream for a little while… those short moments away from your desk often result in some of the best ideas!
Make time for you.
Because in reality, only you can do that. No one will do it for you.
Have some fun! Prioritise you.