This is going to be a difficult for some of you but I swear it is absolutely necessary.
Don't work all the time!
I've been there you know. When I first started I worked all the time: days, evening, weekends. I wanted to make my business a success but in all the organising, getting the right website, marketing strategy, networking, portfolio and so on I neglected the main component of my business - me. I ended up tired, grouchy, stressed and ill. My family were less than impressed.
Now, I am not going to tell you how to work, when to work or even how to relax. I am going to tell you what I do now and then you can decide the best way to work & play for YOU.
Firstly, because I know this is the important bit, your work.
It's your business. If you don't work then odds are it will fail. However, the trick is to work effectively. When is your optimum time to work? Mine is the morning. I know if I get into the office as soon as the kids have gone to school (if not before) then I will get much more done and will make better decisions. By about 2pm I start to flag so I tend to save the less demanding work for later in the afternoon. I never work in the evenings unless there is no other option. I know not to work past tea time because my mind gets overloaded and I find sleeping more difficult if I haven't relaxed for a few hours before bed.
You may be different, in fact you probably are, so the main thing to think about is when you work your best and plan your day accordingly.
So, you have the work sorted. Now playtime.
You have to take time off. There is no ifs, ands or buts - you have to take time off. The best way to do this, and I wish I'd done this from the start, is to set boundaries with your work. Do not fall into the trap that you are always available to your clients. I would answer emails at evenings and weekends which set up the expectations with my clients that they could always contact me then and that I would respond.
Eventually I realised this was not good for me and therefore my business. I now do not respond to emails at evenings or weekends unless it is absolutely necessary. After all, if I worked in an office then the phone and email would go unanswered until normal working hours.
Evenings and weekends are mine. I may work if I feel like it but only on fun stuff. I generally read, spend time with my family, socialize or write. Or just veg in front of the TV to totally turn my mind off.
It may not be evenings and weekends for you, but whenever you choose your playtime to be then use it insensibly. Have fun. Re-energize so you can be at your best when you are at work.
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