As many small business owners do, I wear many hats. In my personalized gifts business, I am the creative designer of every order we receive. I am also the laser engraving expert, printer, the IT person for all things systems related, marketing, web designer & image specialist, blogger & social media writer, research & development, financial planner, payroll & taxes, customer service, production & assembly… just to name a few of the things I do.
My husband Mike is the back office guy of the business. He organizes our production job sheet, communicates with our customers for all new and current customer service needs, runs all office management requirements, ordering of supplies and materials, finances, and all logistical aspects from packing and shipping as well as some designing and large format printing.
With our current business structure, if Mike takes a day off, I can cover for all aspects of his job if necessary. However, if I call off, as I am the only designer and technical know-how, I have no back up to cover for my absence. As I am sure you can imagine, this makes it difficult to take a sick day, vacation day or any time off without some major planning. In order to do so, I have to work double time before leaving and again after returning.
But I am not complaining! I love being completely and totally self reliant. Being an entrepreneur has a great freedom and I am forever grateful for the opportunity! However, great freedom and success also comes with great stress, overwork and ultimately burnout.
As we are in our 5th year of business, I have spent many of these past years doing things to keep myself from getting burnt out or to pull myself out of being burnt out. Ultimately, I have found the following 6 things most beneficial to my well-being and sanity and think they can be applied to anyone in need of a work/life balance routine.
6 ways to prevent burnout and maintain your well-being:
- Schedule time off
As someone that works for themselves, taking time off or away from work can be very difficult. This is especially true if you work from home. I suggest scheduling one day off a month to yourself that is technology free (at least work related – you can still watch funny pet videos if you must!). Put it on the calendar and stick to it. Allow yourself this time. Do nothing at all or take a mini vacation day planned with home town adventure. In addition to scheduling one day off per month, I highly suggest allowing and planning for a minimum of 2 weeks off per year taken for vacation. A complete shut down of your business and time away will recharge and revitalize you. When you get back in the swing of things, you will be thankful that you took the time off and are ready to take on the business world!
- Get social
Solo entrepreneurship can be lonely. After months and years of working from home or alone in your office it can really start to affect your emotional well-being. It is vital that you have a good social network and if you do not, try to build a new circle of friends.
One idea to get started: Work at least half of a day at a local coffee shop or co-working space in order to be around people.
If you are like me and your business requires working on location, use this half day as an email day, organize your inbox, write your blog posts, plan your week, or set up and schedule social media. You can make it happen if you schedule it and make it an important part of your week.
- Join an entrepreneur group or mastermind
Joining a group of like-minded people can help you two-fold. On one hand, you can gain the accountability you need to push you forward with business goals and learn ways to achieve these goals. This can help you maintain your focus and prioritize appropriately. On the other hand, by joining the group you are getting social and allowing yourself to meet new individuals, building a social circle with people that you can relate to and likely count on outside of the mastermind.
- Go for a walk, join a fitness class, ride a bike….
Fitness is so important to our well-being. Not only to look and feel good physically, but to increase our happiness and relieve stress. A walk in the morning before starting your day can soothe the mind and help you focus better when you get to work. No time in the morning? Either get up earlier or join a week night fitness class!
- Learn something new
In order to keep our creative juices flowing we need to expand our horizons, right? Learning something new can help keep life interesting and also give us that work/ life balance we crave. While I am all for taking business classes to expand your business potential, this should be focused on personal desires & hobbies. Things like learning a new language, how to dance, paint, landscape your yard, cook, etc are all good ideas to balance out your life.
- Get a good therapist, counselor or life coach.
In today’s society there seems to be a social stigma that getting professional help means failure or weakness. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Having someone that we can gain an outside non-judgmental perspective from is beneficial to personal and professional growth. A therapist, counselor or life coach can help you gain this insight, provide feedback or just let you vent in a safe place in order to alleviate stress. In addition, you will often receive valuable input that you may not have considered on your own.
So now that you know the 6 things I do in order to maintain my work life balance and mental well being, I would love to know how you implement them into your daily routine. Please comment below.