I have written on taking breaks before, but the importance of it deserves a proper Small Business Hour post. I have been neck-deep in work these two months, and honestly, it doesn't feel all that good, even though I'm getting a mighty lot accomplished. I had a short 'break' when the office was going through redecoration, and another one for my first wedding anniversary, but I frankly didn't get much work out of my mind or done during that time. And that's the WORST place to be at. You're not really taking a break, but you're not really productive either.
So, whilst I can't just walk away from my work after those two (relatively long, in business terms) breaks, I wanted to write about finding breaks in between drowning in work, so well, you STOP drowning. "Work" for the average creative small business lady doesn't only mean work for the business, but also means (during this holiday season): Getting the house clean, taking care of children (if any), decorating the place, cooking, planning for the new year, consolidating information for the past year, getting geared up and ready for the next.
It is a long list. I know there's more. But seriously, these are enough to drown anybody.
Taking breathers are important to make sure that your mind is still functioning properly (and not getting jelly or numb after piles and piles of work), that you actually get everything done instead of falling into the face-down-on-the-bed phase, and you are getting quality work done.
Simple Tips for Keeping Yourself Sane (in the middle of the crazy holiday season and playing catch up):
Stepping away for 2 hours (at least) in the MIDDLE of a workday is crucial for me. I'm working into the 11pm-ish hours of the nights now because I'm playing catch-up with a lot of my work, but I take long lunch breaks to step away from everything and do things wholly unrelated to my business or work. I watch Youtube videos, read a book or take a short nap. I have tried going at it regardless of my yawning and tiredness before, and it ain't pretty. The work I churn out quite frankly sucks, I am uninspired and grumpy and I get less work done.
Plan out three doable tasks per day. And yes, that includes "Cleaning the room" or "Doing laundry." You can use the free Weekly Planner here to write down your three tasks so that you keep your head above water, and you know what you want to and will get done for the day instead of just jumping in like a deer in headlights. Sit down before the week starts and get these three tasks a day set up. You might even have extra time to play a little more catch up!
Embrace imperfection. Sometimes we drive ourselves crazy trying to perfect the smallest details or wipe that mantel extra-clean. Hey, clean is clean, alright? I pat myself on the back when I do vacuum and do laundry for the week, even if it was on another day instead of on the one planned and even if I missed a spot or two. It isn't that bad, okay?
Take some shortcuts. Some stuff (like real work!) you can't take shortcuts for. But take the ones you can. I did my tree decorating this year, but I didn't get any more fancy decoration (just a $2 reindeer from Daiso and some candles) except framing up (with existing frames I had at home...) some Holiday prints I designed. You can get them on Etsy here, and they literally took me five minutes to print and mount. Voila, result!
Find guidance. Sometimes you don't have to do it all and learn it all alone and from scratch. I joined the 2014 Planathon by NiceOps (which is over now) and mapped out my new year with specific guidance over 5 days. If you've just been planning to dip your toes into entrepreneurship, or are thinking of restarting your business for the new year, you can take a look at my FREE Think Like An Entrepreneur Workshop designed to guide you through getting a decent business plan and letting your dreams take shape over 5 days, for 2014 (it starts tomorrow!).
Don't let the small things faze you. So your tree isn't the prettiest tree in town, live with it. So you can't bake cookies this year, fine. So you can't get ALL that product done by 2014, it's cool. So your favorite football team just suffered a disgraceful defeat over the weekend, meh, get over it. Sometimes you just have to breathe a little and let it go.
Finish shopping early. Please get your Christmas shopping done by today. You'll thank me for it.
Close shop over Christmas. PLEASE, I BEG YOU TO DO IT!
Enjoy your creative, awesome, small business, gorgeous, amazing life. :)
This post has been more succinct and no-nonsense, I know. Because I need to get more work done, but I want this to get out there as well. Have a wonderful Sunday my dears!