Do you ever feel confused as an Entrepreneur? Your creative mind on ALL the time, and sometimes thinking not, “Where do I start?” but more, “Where do I end?” When we love what we do, it really is like playing. I have a #SavvySocialTip that reads like this…”If work is a playground I am playing today and you should, too.” Because I do love the various aspects to my work and my entrepreneurial brain. When do you stop. turn off, and call it a day, or night? People often assume because you work for yourself your busy all the time. I have to admit I get little down trodden when someone prefaces a conversation with, “I know you are busy, but I need just a minute of your time.” Who said I was super busy? Who said I did not have time for you? Okay, it’s no secret I do have a lot of energy. I take no vitamins or drugs for this kind of energy. Unless you count sleep and food because those both fuel me. If you look in on my Facebook or other social platforms you might see me in LA one week and New York the next, but that scheduled has slowed way down. Even then I had time for family, friends and new business. Here is the number one question I get asked by busy entrepreneurs…are you ready? “How do I turn off my day and end it all?” I have a very balanced life. I have orchestrated this life. And I have established some very good boundaries. Because here is my reality. I LOVE LOVE LOVE working and I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing the many things I do. Here are FIVE ideas on how to turn it off, and not be so so so busy.
ONE-Unplug all those cords next to your nightstand. NO, really! I am being serious. You can not function well without a good night’s sleep. Studies are coming out left and right about that light, blue light, tablet and phone lights that ignite your brain and make sleep harder. It might be time to go back to magazines and books before bed. I personally had to have my electronics left in the home office, an entire floor away from my slumber. In the earlier years I could suck four hours into social networks. It only felt like 30 minutes. Okay, so reality check. My boyfriend was trying to get a hold of me late one night. He actually drove over to my house to make sure I was okay. Bless his soul. I told him this, “I turn it all off because if there was an emergency in the middle of the night, wouldn’t be nice to know I was well rested to handle it.” He was not amused, but a very healthy boundary was established. Having boundaries for yourself, for your down time, your rest. You owe it to yourself.
TWO-Establish YOUR OWN boundaries with clients, people and even your pets. I had a season of every Tuesday and Thursday that I was “off”. I played city league tennis. I scheduled doctor appointments, I had volunteer time in my kid’s schools and I made lunch dates and coffee dates with friends. If a client emailed or called saying they needed to speak with me right away. I would simply get back with, “I am available at this time tomorrow, or that time the day after.” On these two days I did not break away from my peeps to hang on a phone. I do work around digital media, so my kids know on my work days, that I may have to break away. On my off days, no way. It gave me time to prepare for the call, giving my clients my best. And did not take me away from the down time I had to do the away from work things I enjoyed. Today that day is Monday. Monday for over five years has been that down day for me. Haha I am writing this on a Monday, because this is my personal time and I love writing. In an hour I am taking my boys hiking as it’s their day off from school. My kids are older now. I am no longer needed in the classrooms, or have a host of doctors appointments. Those once two full days are now just one. Make that time for yourself. You deserve to be well, to be balanced and believe me you will find peace.
THREE-Write out your daily work schedule- As an entrepreneur it’s pretty easy to fill your day with all kinds of tasks, only to end your day thinking, “what on earth did I accomplish today?”
Let’s face it. There are many things that will never make that daily list. I write down ALL that I need to get done. I know there are fancy day-timers, and fancy phone apps. This girl is still old school. Paper and pen in a book. This seems like basic stuff. Kind of like duh!! Isn’t that what everyone does? I met a very successful business man who was all over the place with yellow sticky notes. I could not get him to stop using those sticky notes, but when he started sticking them in a daily notebook his world became more organized. If he did not complete a task on one of those sticky notes he could transfer it to the next day. I simply put a big fat ZERO next to what needs to go into the next day. All in a days work. Simple enough, but when I finish my important things to do that day. I am done. I tell myself I am done and I can end my work day.
FOUR-Have an ongoing list of things you would LOVE to do while away from work. Again paper and pen. This list goes in the same book as work related stuff goes. Only this is not a daily list, this is what I am looking forward to doing this week, that is away from work. It is important to make plans for your time, your self and you enjoyment. It does not take much thought or work to simply plan. Remember this post is about ideas on how to turn off your work day. Not everyone has a time clock they are watching that tells them this. Entrepreneurs left and right on blood shot and bumbling to find balance. Having those things inbetween and away from work is important. You can look back over the weeks and remember what you enjoyed, and what you are still wanting to knock off on that list of what bring me balance and enjoyment.
Five-Understand that more more money does not make you happy. As an entrepreneur it’s easy to pick up as much work as you and your team can manage and at times not manage. I admit I was once sitting at my dinner table, making loads of money and crying because I was just so tired. Honestly it was what brought me, at the ripe age of 29, to evaluate this running your own business thing. Being an entrepreneur is not a steady reliable paycheck. It’s always getting ahead, and keeping things moving and always positioning some slower days. It’s hard work and we never want to know that we missed a really good opportunity because we were playing and enjoying life away from work. But I made that choice. I hired a manager. I delegated more, and my sales were compromised. Even my accountant brought to my attention the down turn of sales when I was away. I had to stop caring about more sales, what my accountant said, and evaluate things like. My car is paid for. I am meeting all financial obligations. I may not add another zero to my sales, but money was not going to own me.
I loved my work as that young entrepreneur. I still love working. I also love that I have time and energy to be present as a mom. Present as a friend, and most important I am taking care of myself. There are seasons of more and less in all we do. Having a schedule for yourself and knowing what you must accomplish daily, weekly and monthly as well as a fun list are important to knowing how to turn it all off. As I look over this post, I think this is silly. I should delete the entire thing. People already know this stuff. Today, more than ever an entrepreneur is born every day. Every day struggling to find that simple balance. Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived. It will all be there in the morning. You truly deserve to serve yourself well in learning how to off your work day.
Be sure to fin me @elizabethtraub and let me know you were here.