Is it time to break up with your creative business? Do you run your own small business, creative business or blog and find it overwhelming some days (most days)? Too much to do, the lists, ideas and thoughts just keep piling up. How do you keep up with life while running a business? Sometimes I feel like the proverbial hampster on the spinning wheel. Racing, racing, racing but not seeming to get ahead no matter how hard I try. Anyone else with me? Today as I am currently on a short term break up with my creative business I thought I’d share a few tips on how you can keep your sanity (or try to) while running yours. Then you can decide if it is time to break up with your creative business too.
Now when I say “break up” I don’t mean for forever or for a long time, unless that is where your heart is leading you. Think of it as a short period to disconnect from your business. When I was in college I heard of instructors taking sabbaticals where they took time off to travel, create more art, write a book, take classes and experience things that brought them joy, fulfilled them and reenergized them. Those of us that run small businesses, especially creative businesses, often don’t give ourselves the time we need to step away and have a break from the day to day functions. We’re either running our business ourselves, have a small group of people (often family or friends) or have a business partner to help. If you are lucky enough, you have at least one other person who can step in and cover for you to allow yourself a break, even if for a small one. I was finding it was time for a break or I was going to break. As a creative my mind is always working on something, my current business and other projects or art I want to create. It can be exhausting! My wish is that all of us small business owners are able to take a break when we need, especially before we hit the burn out stage.
Signs that you might need to break up from your creative small business:
- working all of the time
- have no boundaries between work and personal time
- not taking a break (or two) during the day
- feeling scattered and pulled in many directions
- finding it hard to focus on one task at a time
- not eating or drinking regularly
- finding it hard to sleep, restless even when resting
- feel like it is taking too long to accomplish things
- not giving yourself personal time
If you answered YES to any, a combo or all of the above then know you are NOT alone. It might be time for you to take a little break from your business. Well how can I take a break you might be thinking??!! Below I will share a few things I’ve started implementing (or need to!) into the way I am functioning and living as a creative small business owner.
Below are some are simple things you can do each day to make sure you are giving yourself a break along with some larger “break up” goals. It is OK if you have to work up to some of them. A few are goals I am still striving for. If you can start implementing some of the small things it can only lead to feeling better, being more focused and refreshed for yourself AND your business! Then you can get ready to start implementing some of the bigger breaks or planning on when you might be able to make some of them happen!
Things you can do to take a break from your creative business:
- make lunch the night before so it’s already ready for you (harder than it should be for me)
- make sure you are getting up and moving around every hour especially if you’ve been at the computer
- drink plenty of fluids (duh, harder than it sounds again for me)
- get some fresh air during the day, even if for 10 minutes
- schedule in 30 minutes to an hour for yourself EACH DAY, dedicated YOU time (I love from 7- 8pm)
- get outside in nature, go for a walk, sit in a park, read a magazine or book
- keep a journal of all of your business ideas so you can get them out of your head
- disconnect from social media a 1-2 hours before you go to bed
- make lunch or dinner dates with other creative business owners, a support system of like minds is so helpful
- get a small business bestie, someone you can check in regularly with and be a support system for each other
- site see in your own town (especially if you work from home)
- plan a weekend to travel to areas in your state you haven’t explored before
- work on a hobby that is not related to your business
- take a class in something you are interested in whether it be for personal or business growth
- attend creative or business workshops
- take a week off from your business (if you can)
Now I will be honest, I struggle with many on the list above. Part of that is why I am writing this post. It is so I can see all of this in writing for myself and hope that it might help someone else out there too. Life has its challenges and when you have so much on your plate (like we all do), it can get overwhelming especially if you are a creative business owner. Sometimes we need a reminder of small steps we can take to improve our daily lives as we work on our businesses. It may also give us a goal to reach for with seeing some of the larger breaks on the list.
Time is one of the biggest struggles that we face as creative small business owners. There is never enough of it, and that is something we can’t change. We can however, stop and smell the flowers once in a while! This is one of the things I’ve been working on from the list. Getting outside, enjoying nature and the flowers in my garden during the day. I was fortunate to cut and photograph some of the peonies from my garden when they were at their best. This brings me peace and gets me out of my head, even if for only for a short time. At one point I had 8 vases of peonies in the house. In the office, bathroom, multiples vases on the kitchen island and anywhere I could fit them. That hour of peace cutting and photographing them turned into more peaceful breaks as I would stop and take a minute to daydream by looking at them throughout the day, especially the one in the office. Bringing a little bit of the outside in can help how you feel.
So the moral of my ramble, don’t forget to do something for yourself EACH DAY, even if it is small. It is ok to break up with your creative business, it will still be there when you return, and you will be better for taking care of yourself! I can’t wait to work up to a creative sabbatical! I have ideas for cookbooks and the creative barn studio and event space I hope to have one day. So, the big question, is it time for YOU to break up with your creative small business? What would be the first thing you do for yourself? I would love to know. Leave a comment below on what you’d do first or if you have tips to share on how you make time for yourself away from your business.
Until next time, cheers!
All photos on my blog are taken by me unless otherwise stated. Photos are copyright of Esther Holden, 2016 All Rights Reserved.