Repeat after me: “I Give Myself Permission……..”
As business owners, we often tend to be driven and passionate about what we do, and we generally have a ‘to-do’ list a mile long at any given time, right? It is easy to fall into the workaholic trap, working into the evenings and on the weekends, either because there is a seemingly-endless list of tasks allegedly needing our attention, or because we are so driven and passionate, and love what we are doing, hence it becomes all-consuming.
But where is our work-life balance in this? It is easy to get so tied up in busy-ness that we lose sight of why we are doing it all in the first place…. Usually we are not out to make lots of money for the sake of the money in and of itself; rather it is to provide us with freedom, opportunities, choices…… and time to spend with our loved ones or undertaking the pursuits that we desire.
When we are self-employed, we tend to feel guilty when we aren’t working, because there is always ‘work to be done’, isn’t there? We forget that when we work for an employer we are given permission to work set hours, have weekends and public holidays off, take sick leave if we are unwell, and annual leave for a chance to recharge and spend time with our families…… But when we are self-employed, although we don’t necessarily work ‘office hours’ and take weekends, public holidays and paid sick leave, it is imperative that we GIVE OURSELVES PERMISSION to take some time out when we need to. We are no help to anyone if we run ourselves into the ground; we are less productive, stressed, irritable, and eventually make ourselves unwell. So be sure to recognise when you have had a busy run, and schedule in some time out for yourself, to enable you to then recommence feeling refreshed and enthusiastic once more.
As business owners, there will never, ever, ever be a time when there is no list of tasks awaiting our attention. That’s just how it is. The trick to not feeling overwhelmed is in learning which things we need to do ourselves, and to delegate, or ditch, the rest. From there, it is critical to choose the tasks on our own to-do list which are the most important, rather than just being “busy”, and prioritise these across your days and weeks, rather than them all on the to-do list that you carry around in your head – and on your shoulders – every single day. This includes time to stop and recharge as needed, as this is just as important as the physical tasks on the list.
Our work-life balance, or lack thereof, which often leads to our sense of overload, overwork and overwhelm, can also be better managed by keeping in mind something that many people are unaware of: where you sit on the introvert-extrovert scale. This may sound odd, but it has a significant impact upon each of us. Let me explain.
Extroverts get their energy from being around people, and find alone-time draining. Introverts are the opposite, needing time alone to recharge and rebalance themselves, and time with other people draining. While we all have aspects of each of these, we each have a pre-disposition more towards one or the other, so of us more markedly than others. To this end, think about where you sit on this scale, and schedule your days and weeks accordingly, factoring in either more or less time on your own, depending upon what your needs are.
So take responsibility for your own well-being. Give yourself permission to stop and recharge when you need to. Schedule in some time off after exceptionally busy periods. Recognise your level of introversion and factor this into your weekly diary in order to maintain your personal balance. And delegate or ditch the tasks that just keep you ‘busy’ and focus on those that add to your productivity.