Letting My Inner Child Call the Shots Occasionally
This has been the week that wasn’t in so many ways. Plans went awry, electronics coughed up junk, and even my body repeatedly told me, in the unique vernacular of a toddler: “I don’t wanna!”.
In the past, I’d have been ranting and raving, struggling to catch up, filling my hours with half-assed efforts, and feeling lousy about everything I did. I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or finally acquiring a modicum of patience, but I take a less frantic approach to days and weeks that seem to take on a mind of their own.
In all fairness, I’m also better prepared for them since I have at least 2, and often 3 weeks of blog posts in the queue, and am usually ahead of schedule on projects for my clients. Maybe it’s simply holdouts from my days of working in an office where interruptions were the norm, and having something new and urgent tossed in my lap was commonplace. I learned to leave space in my schedule for the unexpected, and it’s a habit I see no reason to break, especially now that I work for myself.
Self-Care is More About Allowing Than Doing
Many people these days are talking about self-care. Suggestions are offered on how busy business owners should make time to keep their own engine primed, so to speak. The ideas cover the gamut from physical activity, to healthy eating, to taking breaks.
If you ask me, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. If it’s hungry, feed it; preferably something healthy and nutritious, but if it occasionally asks for a treat, by all means be willing to break your dietary restrictions temporarily to indulge it.
When you feel stiff or out of sorts, get up and move. I’ve recently rediscovered how much a simple, 20-minute walk in the morning can re-set your day and your metabolism. Even if you do nothing more than get up from your desk to visit the bathroom or fix a meal for the rest of the day, that 20 minutes of movement and fresh air get your day off on the right foot (pun intended).
Above all, if you feel tired, or out of sorts, don’t allow guilt to creep in and spoil the nap, meditation, or down time in front of the TV. You work hard, and you take care of yourself physically. Your mind needs breaks too.
Finding Our Level of Peak Performance
Science has proven that we are far more effective and efficient when we’re operating at the top of our game. That means sufficient rest, exercise, and nutrition. But Corporate America counters those arguments, telling us to get the job done no matter what. As a result, you have offices full of people who are functioning at 10% or less because they can’t seem to shake the latest cold or virus.
If they could stay home and get over it completely without harassment from employer and co-workers, everyone in the place would stay healthier. Think about what circulates in those office air conditioners. You wouldn’t eat food with crap like that in it. Why do you willingly breathe the air?
Yes, I’m frustrated I didn’t get as much done this week as I’d planned, nor get to the gym my usual 3 times. But I did walk every day but one, and got what must have been much-needed rest, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. As I no longer keep a lot of junk food in the house, I couldn’t eat badly if I’d tried. My idea of cheating on my diet these days is Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, Yasso 100-calorie yogurt bars, and Harvest lentil bean snacks.
Did you know it’s harder to happily binge on healthier snacks? I didn’t either until I sat with a bag of lentil snacks, ate a few, and put the bag away—because I’d satisfied the craving! The truth is, you set your mind to “healthier” and your body follows. When you overwork, eat crap, and otherwise tell your bod you don’t care, it craves love and attention in the form of things we mistakenly define as comfort food. In other words, grease, sugar, salt, and carbs.
Using Setbacks as a Reminder to Take a Step Back
Unfortunately, you get stuck in a self-perpetuating downward spiral in which your health suffers, and you accomplish less with more effort. Tell me something. Who does that on purpose?
I’ve learned when life offers setbacks, regardless of the source, the best thing to do is take a step back, relax, and give myself permission to get nothing accomplished if that’s what it takes to let the situation pass peacefully. Recognize I truly do have things under control and that there’s no meter running on the amount of stuff I’m supposed to get done in a given amount of time.
Even if there was, my normal work habits put me ahead of the game anyway. I suspect yours do too, but you may have gotten stuck in a self-destructive loop of overachieving. It may be as simple as working smarter, not harder, a lesson that took me a long time to master.
Working Smarter, Not Harder
Here are a few things I’ve put in place in the last few years which give me down time whenever I need it:
- For clients I bill monthly, as soon as the work is done, I create the invoice and set up the email with delayed delivery. (Most email programs can do this).
- Give myself more time than I know I need to complete a project to allow for delays both human and electronic.
- Use the scheduling option on my blog and website to write my copy in advance.
- Set up sharing on my website and blog to automatically publish to social media.
- Pre-schedule a month’s worth of posts on sites other than my own.
- Put all projects on Trello with due dates so I know exactly when things need to be completed.
- Check Trello daily.
- Put all regular daily activities on Google calendar with reminders.
Many of these might seem to you like no-brainers, but think of the stress you avoid when you don’t miss appointments; when you see what you have coming up, and how long you have to meet the deadline; when you see white space on your calendar you can use to accommodate the unexpected.
Leaving Space to Let Go
This week, I “lost” the better part of 2 days. I didn’t write any blog posts, or get work for clients done, or make progress on my marketing. Instead, I had time to take the breaks I needed, look honestly at what I’d done this week, and recognize it was more than I thought, and give some attention to my daughter when she needed to vent. All without stress or guilt!
I no longer beat myself up when plans go awry. Instead, I congratulate myself for having the space in my schedule to ride out the waves which bring production to a temporary standstill. In other words, I’ve found my balance.
Need Some Help Creating Space?
Are you feeling overwhelmed with too many things you have to do and not enough time? Did you know you don’t have to do it all? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business and life space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!
Finding Gratitude in Everything
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the pace I set myself. It varies with energy level, mood, and circumstances, and is rarely stress-driven any more.
- I am grateful for my life outside the regular world.
- I am grateful for choices I made which, on the surface may still seem ill-advised, but which have given me a far better quality of life.
- I am grateful for options. Each day can be the same as the one before, but it can also be quite different. Either way, it’s my choice.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, projects, energy, choices, fresh air, sunshine, kitty love, family, peace, health, harmony, freedom, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats, and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward