Hi there Thursday crafters!
I have for you another contribution on balancing life as a maker, and the things that I’ve come to learn about being a home business owner – especially when it comes to two things that you might not think about when starting up an at home business or becoming a little more serious about your part time craft. The first thing might seem obvious, but I have found that everyone I talk to underestimates it’s power. Stress. In particular, business stress.
This, I think, is a very funny thing. Business stress doesn’t often seem like stress to me when I’m in the thick of it, as when I’m working away on projects and fiddling through the paperwork and emails, I’m not thinking “Oh, how stressful this is, what a life, I hate going to work.” I love what I do, so I’m happy to do the upkeep, and I get a satisfaction from creating the things that I do. So, of course, my work is a joy and a pleasure and a cruise around Relaxation Town, right?
Nooooooope. A big fat nope. I was at a doctor’s visit a while ago, and when she made a comment about how nice and relaxing my life is, since I’m working at home, I came to a realization… I wasn’t entirely sure I was less stressed about my life and my job as when someone else was paying my salary. I almost blurted out that I work so much that I often don’t have time to do any of the things she thinks go on when someone works from home. I wanted to tell her that I struggle through the stresses of even just worrying about how to move things forward or about a particular customer, and then it hit me: So many people don’t understand how stressful owning your own business and especially working from home is. And I got to thinking about how many people are in the same boat with stress levels rising and no way to see them.
Stress with your own business can come from many places from financial, to relationship demands, to dealing with clients, to just the simple act of having ideas for the business always generating in the back of your mind. All of us deal with stress differently, and all of us take stress from different sources, and we also have different thresholds for a breaking point. I have a few pointers for helping to keep you sane while working at home. I have found these to be super helpful in derailing the stress that I wouldn’t necessarily realize is there until it’s too late.
1. Take regular breaks – like a good old 9-5 job. There’s a reason why there are labour laws put in place, and breaks are mandated. Where you might be motivated to work a couple days fully through without taking a break, you’re putting enormous strain on your body and not to mention your mind. When I say take a break, I mean actually do it – don’t do another chore. That’s work. Watch an episode of something on TV, sit outside with a lemonade, read a book, walk to the store. Something to take your mind and body out of the workspace for a quick reset.
2. Spend time with your friends and significant other. Don’t think that just because they’re you’re friends that they’re going to understand that you’re going through a crunch of work and can’t see them – especially if that crunch of work lasts for longer and longer or seems to be ongoing. The same goes for your romantic partner – they want and need to feel important and so schedule time with these people. If it seems that you’re choosing your work above them, you may find that your relationships will drift away.
3. Not to mention, that when you do make the commitment of a social outing, that you give yourself a break and let yourself enjoy what you’re doing. This means, that when you’re engaging in your relationships, be present and fully engaged and enjoying what’s going on. Give yourself permission to ignore your phone, to let your work sit without feeling guilty and to know that your customers will understand an afternoon of fun.
4. Take vacations away from your work. Even if it’s a weekend in another city, or in the country, schedule some time where you are physically unable to work on your craft. This helps to take away the guilt of not working when you should (as you’re physically not there), and it also helps you to be more present and able to enjoy the time with your friends or family. It also allows you to remember why you’re working.
Image brought to you by Kna
5. Give yourself a break on housework. It can be really easy to give yourself a hard time for not making the bed, sweeping, doing the dishes and having a hot meal ready when you’re working form home. What you forget is, yes you’re at home, but you’re working, which should mean not available. Don’t let yourself beat yourself up about not having something done, and make sure that the people in your life know that you’re serious about the work that you’re doing so you can help them be on that same page. Stress from a partner over not doing your part when you’re working from home and should have all the time in the world is not helpful if you’re pulling 40 hour weeks. Remember to keep everything in perspective, including your obligations at home.
I know that these were things that I had to learn and have people help me to see because to be honest, it seems like if you’re working from home, a lot of these things like taking breaks and doing housework and seeing friends should be easier to do. But getting wrapped up in something you love can very easily take away your perspective. Remember that you’re working a job, and you’re going to be your toughest boss. Try to be a fair boss to yourself. Work yourself hard, but be conscious of the things you need to be a happy, healthy and balanced. As what can happen when your life becomes unbalance and out of control?
Thank you, Imgr user for this delightful gif.
That’s right. Explosions. EXPLOSIONS!