Another post on work-life balance, or lack thereof, is overdue! As many of you know, I'm in the midst of a medical leave, thanks to the effects of long term stress (but who doesn't have long term stress?) on the lupus that I've lived with for years and years, and the diabetes that I've lived with only recently. I've lived a VERY different life for the last two + weeks, and thought I'd share a few insights with you all.
- No matter how much you take off your plate, your time will nearly immediately swell with things to fill the void. I've been very busy with my business, and not necessarily with filling orders. It's other things, like marketing and new accounts and redesigning patterns and etc. These are things that really needed to get done, but I jut haven't had the time to do them. It's also the invites from friends who say, "Now that you don't have anything to do, how about (going to lunch/dinner/the mall/whatever?" I so wish I had nothing to do. :) But I do love being able to catch up with friends.
- The magic work/time phenomenon still exists. There's a workplace phenomenon that I've always found to be true. The time that it takes to complete a task or project will expand to fit all available time. If someone has an unstructured eight hours, that person will take eight hours to complete a 20-30 minute task. This isn't true of everyone! And it's not true 100% of the time. But it does tend to be true when you're trying something new (so you may be unsure of yourself), or you're not feeling very self motivated (happens to us all now and then), or it's a task or project that just keeps kicking your behind. And it just starts a cycle that has to be quickly broken of kvetching, taking too long to complete things, beating yourself up for the taking too long, requiring a treat to feel better, followed by reading your favorite blogs or websites, followed by a TV break, etc., etc. You see the problem there? I wasn't catching on at first, but the lightbulb went on one day early on, and thank goodness, I'm able to catch myself now, before it's too late!
- You can only do so much in a 24 hour day, given the laws of space and time.
No one has perfected a machine to give you more than 24 hours in a day, and you need a chunk of those hours for (a) sleeping, (b) eating, (c) etc. Since my little business is me, myself and I, I can't take on more than I can handle. Believe me, this is incredibly difficult for me to accept. I always take on more than I can handle, and then I manage to handle it. I'm in the midst of trying to complete the too many things I took on during the last two weeks! While my business is me, myself and I, taking on more than one person with limited time can actually accomplish ends up being counter productive. Tasks and projects take longer to complete. I'm at increased risk of forgetting something. I spend more time managing "the list," rather than doing the work. BUT ... if you run a super small business, you most likely want to grow! You probably want more wholesale accounts, new direct customers, more opportunities. Where's the balance between sustainable growth and too much? I don't have an answer for that, but what I, myself, am doing is taking on a couple of new accounts, working on getting them set up/fulfilling the orders, making them part of the routine. Then a couple more accounts, lather, rinse, repeat. I'd LOVE to hear what you all do to get work done in limited time without overwhelming yourself! Or if you do overwhelm yourself, how do you handle the overwhelment (is that a word?)?.