Self-employment can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The trouble is it’s difficult to control demands on your time. Easy mobile access to email and fear of missing out on opportunities make work 24/7 and can get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Recently I came across an excellent article by Jon Spade called How to Beat the Self Employment Blues. Based on an interview with coach Barbara Winter, Spade offers practical tips on how to survive the self-employment emotional rollercoaster.
Taking breaks is important
One of the tips in the article is to allow yourself to take a break. And, inspired by Winter and Spade, I decided that this week I would take Wednesday off. I worked late the previous evening clearing my diary in preparation for some guilt-free relaxation. By bedtime, I was calm, relaxed and looking forward to the day ahead.
Within five minutes of waking, however, my email started to ping. First, there were notifications of a brute force attack on one of the websites I manage — nothing too severe but enough of a nuisance to get me out of bed and logging on so as to reassure myself that everything was okay. Then there were queries about a conference I’m organising, a message from a client looking for a quote for follow up work, a query from my accountant and a couple of requests for information from people who had visited my website.
The trouble with email, of course, is that once you look, you get sucked in. Soon I was engrossed in reading and replying to messages.
By 2.30 pm I realised I’d been working at my desk since 8.00 am without breakfast, lunch or a break.
So much for taking the day off.
By 6.00 pm, I’d had a shower and a sandwich and was ready to head out to networking event organised by the Wicklow Network of Entrepreneurial Women.
Meeting other self-employed people — another tip in the Spade article — is a great source of good advice and encouragement, particularly if you work from home like I do.
On the evening in question, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of County Wicklow businesswomen, among them:
- Linda who runs a hairdressing school in Shillelagh offering a variety of classes including the ITEC Hairdressing and Barbering Diploma.
- Suzie who runs www.toysandgames.ie selling quality wooden toys, arts and craft sets, puzzles, games, soft toys and books for children of all ages.
- Beatrice who runs Wicklow Scenic Walks providing guided walks with a bilingual guide who speaks French and English.
It was a friendly and informative event and finished up just before 10.00 pm.
By 11.00 pm, I was home and in bed, head buzzing with new ideas, phone on the charger. It had been a 14-hour day — but a good one. I’m still planning to take a day off. Soon …