Owning a small business, truly small, juggling every aspect, is a stressful, demanding, 24-hours a day job. It's not rocket science, but it is an exciting risk to put your hard work out into the universe and being kind to yourself can get swept under the rug. I am especially hard on myself, and have been making a conscious effort to take care of myself. I wanted to share a few tricks that have made my life as a small business owner significantly better.
1. Wait at least 30 minutes after waking up before checking your phone, email, and social media. I know this seems impossible in today's age. I am guilty of waking up in the middle of the night to check my email, in order to keep up, but it's so important to start your morning in a positive way. Even though it doesn't seem like it, everything on the internet CAN wait.
2. Get hydrated! Start your morning with a glass of water! I personally start my morning with a big glass of water, a green juice and a cup of bulletproof coffee (16 ounces of high quality black coffee, blended with 1 tbsp of grass-fed butter and 1 tbsp of coconut oil.) Not only does this give me crazy energy, but it just makes my body feel good.
3. Make a plan and stick to it. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when you work at home/for yourself. Everything seems equally important and when that's the case, nothing gets done. So, make a list and stick to it. If that means listing the fun stuff too, do it! Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to eat a healthy lunch, listen to a podcast you've been meaning to listen to, work on a future project or make new art. The not-so-pressing items are the ones that will get forgotten, so working them into your daily plan will help keep you grounded and on point!
4. Ditch your chair! You will thank me for this later, but getting rid of the stool at my work bench has completely transformed my working style. I have always loved standing up while I work (from my bakery days.) It helps you stand up straighter, keeps you moving and gives you a better perspective on time while you work. You may need to adjust the height of your work table or desk to make it easier to work, but it really does make all the difference.
5. Break the Clock. Congratulations, you own your own business! Now you get to make the rules. Doug and I work better at night, and we get the most done during the late late night hours, which means we usually don't even get into the shop until after supper. If you're having a hard time getting in the groove, then try switching up your schedule. You can break your day into shifts, work a morning shift and then an evening shift if that helps your productivity soar.
6. Be your biggest fan! I know this is crazy, because we are often our biggest critics, but become your biggest fan. Doug and I went to the skatepark yesterday, and I was filming him skate and a kid was hanging around, skating, talking to Doug. Every time this kid tried a trick, he would say "I got this, first try" and he wouldn't get it but he would give himself a little pep-talk, cheer himself on, and when he did get the trick, he would holler and celebrate. We all need to be that kid. Celebrate your victories, and motivate yourself through the hard parts. You've got this! First try, and if not, second try or third try, just keep trying!
7. Surround yourself with growth! Plants, plants and more plants. Put them everywhere. Not only will the oxygen in your space be cleaner, but the growth of your plants will encourage growth in your own journey. Check out this guide if you need help incorporating plants into your workspace.
8. Get dressed before you get to work! I know the biggest perk to working for yourself at home is the ability to not wear pants and still be working, but I can tell you from experience that putting on clothes that make me feel good help my productivity ten-fold. I could wear my pj's and still get a lot done, but I won't feel great about myself if I have an unexpected guest stop by or if I need to take a quick photo holding a product. I do my best to treat myself like I matter, in the grand scheme of things, and getting out of my pj's and getting into the shop feels like a millions bucks.
9. Treat yourself and support other small businesses. Once a month, buy yourself a present from a fellow small business! I really love this mug from Emily Mcdowell or this sweet gemstone wall hanging from Everyday is a Holiday. Not only are you making the effort to do something nice for yourself, you're furthering the sense of community that keeps us all together.
10. Take a nap. Seriously. take a 20 minute break and power nap after a heavy morning or a busy day. I've been listening to the That's so Retrograde podcast on repeat and they blew my mind with the term "maker hangover" and it's so true...after we put something new out, it feels almost like a hangover. Putting yourself or your work out there, on the internet, is brave and scary. You conquered the first hurdle, so curl up on the couch, take a nap, reboot your system, and get back out there!
It's so easy to be mean to yourself, and when your business is all consuming, it happens way more than it should! So, don't forget how amazing you are for following your dreams and making this awesome life for yourself.
"A Brackish Blog, a merging of life and work, from the swamplands of North Florida, where the salt waters meet fresh waters and everything becomes one."