Life would be boring if you were sane all the time however when you are your own boss a sane, sensible mind is required often! Too often unfortunately! It is difficult to maintain a calm, controlled persona when a vast majority of the world have a rose-tinted view on self employed life...
"Wow it must be so nice to choose which days you work"
"All that free time must be great"
"I would love to stay at home and not go to work too, must be relaxing"
I'm sure we've ALL heard these before and with them comes the surge of annoyance and a delightful mental visual of said persons head in a blender! Despite the worlds view Self employment is no simple Sunday Bike ride but there are ways to make it more easy peasy Lemon squeezy...
Taking a dip into LemonLands 'Organisation Ocean' is positively delightful (by the way now would be a good time to familiarise yourself with the map of LemonLand from the first ever blog otherwise the previous statement may come across as doolally). The art of list making, labelled folders and of course a colour-coded calendar sings sweetly to my mind. Naturally we've all been told to be organised at some point in our lives but I know some find it incredibly hard and just not suitable for their personality or vice versa others take it too far. That was me roughly a year ago; I would have a timetable for each day blocked out with every task, I'd plan my meals and their times for the whole week... everything was regimented and an obsession. I had my "Boss" head on but it was screwed on far too tight and had gotten cross-threaded. The trick is to find a balance that suits you; everybody has tasks in their personal and work life that they would rather not do but that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Nobody loves every aspect of their life, otherwise how boring would that be?! The mundane tasks help to reflect against the glorious fun, creative ones that we love, so we need them. I still make my lists but they're just not as structured. On days when I'm not physically out on a job they involve admin tasks with some housework thrown in the mix breaking it up a little and obviously don't forget to tick off every task you complete!! I can't be the only who gets a warm fuzzy feeling when you see those ticks add up.
Enough with the boring bits, now onto the fun. All the views within this blog are coming from my point of view - someone in a creative line of work - so this may not have any relevance for those not involved in the arts. Recently every morning I have taken at least 30 minutes out for myself to do something I enjoy to either read, draw or colour. Now these activities don't exactly tie in with my career but OH MY GOODNESS what a difference it has made. So many people have the mindset of 'Work first, then play' but if you start your day actually enjoying it rather than dragging your feet through the mud just imagine what you could accomplish!
PAMPER YOUR STAFF
In the self employed world there is no such thing as a Christmas bonus, you earn what you work for and you're pretty much on your own; you have to play the boss, the office clown, the secretary, the tea lady... it can be quite exhausting. My point is that no one is going to give you that kick up the butt you need, shout at you when emails aren't spelt correctly or sent on time but also nobody will give you that pat on the back either. Of course I hope you all have supportive friends and family but the highest praise will always come from your boss - YOU! Happy staff creates a good working environment afterall so treat yourself regularly even if it's something small, if it makes you smile it's worth it; a face mask or slice of cake, a lie-in or early night, fresh flowers, a cinema trip or day out shopping whatever you fancy. The same goes for your working environment; if you occasionally have to work from home ensure you have an area that suits your needs that you actually enjoy sitting in - NO that is not in front of the TV by the way!
This is not a blog about bashing down your dreams - ABSOLUTELY NOT! I have dreams of one day performing the perfect Penchée on the back of a Unicorn whilst drinking Tea in the middle of an Enchanted Forest - I'm in no position to judge and trample peoples wildest dreams. I'm advising you to be realistic about your day ahead, that doesn't mean it won't be a great day just don't start a day thinking you'll be a millionaire by the end of it. Don't lie we've all been guilty of it!
You may work on your own the majority of the time but do not isolate yourself. Pot, kettle, black I know!!! Honestly I have been trying to do this one myself. The fact you as a self employed person are reading this blog, written by a fellow self employed being just proves that you are not completely on your own. I have been lucky enough over the past year to have discovered a few fellow creative fairies who I can talk to about anything from work to cats to Tiaras and tea. Those of you who live with a partner, friend or with family will have more than likely had them return home at some point yabbering on about their work day, why should you be any different? You don't have even have to talk to a human being, it could be a Pet, an object, written down in a book or your car - I have had countless of one sided conversations with my car, some of them pretty groundbreaking if I say so myself. The important thing is not to bottle things up whether its a rant, something troubling you or something positive, share it.
Okay another one that I struggle with but I am trying! Our work is our life but that doesn't mean it should control us 24/7. Yes be driven and hardworking but learn to switch off, everything is so instant these days; people want replies immediately, everything needs to happen right away nobody has the time to breathe anymore. Just try watching a film without having your phone next to you, go for a walk and leave your phone at home, even switch your email notification off atleast once a week or even better, TURN YOUR PHONE OFF! Separating your work life from your personal life is necessary - nobody should love your job more than you and if you end up beating yourself into the ground with work work work you will end up hating it and then you're going to be pretty screwed.
I'm hoping you all already knew this and are still sane whilst enjoying your work but if not I hope these little pieces of advice can help you on your fabulous journey.
Lots of Lemon Love