There’s a massive misconception that when you’re a business owner you have to be ‘busy’ in order to be successful. You have to be working 14 hour days; constantly glued to your inbox, be available to clients and customers even when you’re on holiday and miss out on occasions with family and friends so that you can truly be a success, so that you can be taken seriously. We’re forced to believe that we should be working around the clock to make something of ourselves by ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ who claim spare time means you’re a failure. It’s been ingrained in our brains for decades, but it’s time to move away from that mindset. How can we look after our businesses if we’re not looking after ourselves? We are our businesses. If we’re not running well, our businesses aren’t either. It’s time to start prioritising rest, balance and contentment over burn out, stress and overwhelm.
As the self-employed self-motivated, I think we sometimes forget that we run the show. We control how we run our business, what we do with our days, what tasks to prioritise and just about everything, really. We don’t have to listen to all of the noise out there is telling us how to be more productive. We don’t have to follow the conventional rules of 9-5 or Monday to Friday (it’s been said by Douglas Coupland that we will look back at nine-to-five employment in a similar way to how we see child labour in the 19th century), nor do we have to burn the midnight oil or work 12 hour days to be worthy of being a business owner. It’s up to us when and how we work, how long for, and what on.
You do not need to ‘hustle’ every day. You don’t need to sacrifice time with loved ones. There is an alternative approach, and that’s within balance, boundaries and white space.
So why am I so hot on ‘busy doesn’t equal success’?
Because I know what it's like to reach the point where your health is in serious jeopardy because you haven’t set yourself limits.
In 2016, on a random Tuesday in April, I was in a hospital bed, attempting to eat my first piece of toast in 42 hours and wondering how the hell I had gotten there.
I had well and truly burned out.
After a crazy few weeks where I was working 14 hour days, spreading myself too thin and travelling up and down the country, it all came to a head when I collapsed in my parent's bathroom. I was ill with a horrible throat infection (I’m very prone to them) but had just been pushing it down and carrying on as I didn’t want to let anyone, or myself, down. The infection had wiped me out and because of the extra stress of travelling, my body just gave up.
When I got to the hospital, it eventually became apparent that I had a depressed fracture at the back of the skull and a broken nose. It was a weird time. I obviously knew what had happened was pretty damn serious and that I was incredibly lucky that it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, but I still couldn’t shake that feeling that I needed to be working.
I was still checking my emails in my hospital bed. I was asking my family to send out orders for me. I just couldn’t handle that all-too-familiar guilt of being off work.
Even when I got out after 3 or 4 days, I got back to work straight away which wasn’t the best idea as I couldn’t concentrate for longer than 30 seconds and was sending some unintentionally hilarious emails to clients in a drugged-up stupor. It wasn’t until the Head Nurse rang me and said ‘if you had a normal 9-5 job, you wouldn’t be at work -- you’d be signed off’ that I realised I was being incredibly stupid and prolonging my recovery.
Before, I believed all of the shouty posts and articles that said you had to 'hustle every day' to be worthy. I thought that if I admitted I was tired, I would be admitting defeat and that I shouldn't be a creative biz owner or a coach if I couldn't work all hours, or give up time with my friends, or not answer my emails within 5 minutes of receiving them. It took fracturing my freakin' skull to realise that was a complete lie.
Now, I have boundaries and systems in place to make sure this, or something similar, will never happen again. I don't take on more work than one person can handle. Work is banned at the weekend (apart from the occasional workshop and talk). I say 'no' more. I put myself first more.
You do not need to run yourself into the ground to prove yourself. You don't need to make yourself ill to get results. You need to look after yourself more than your business, because YOU ARE your business, and it wouldn’t exist or progress if you weren’t at your best. In a way, you're hindering your business if you're not taking time for you.
How can we do this? By setting boundaries, making room for white space, learning to switch off and say no, as well as dealing with overwhelm.
lesson one: boundaries are your best pals
As the self-motivating self-employed, we can find it so hard to distinguish the line between life and work, especially if we are our brands. We feel that guilt of working hard on our businesses, trying to make progress and getting it to a consistent, sustainable state, but letting our relationships and home life fall to the wayside. And then when we do put priority on our home life we feel the guilt of not working on our businesses. It’s just one big cycle of guilt.
The way to get past that guilt, have a clear distinction between life and work, and start living happily in both areas, is to have non-negotiable boundaries.
Now, as I’m sure you’ve picked up (because I've mentioned it on every page so far...), I am a huge advocate for the notion that you don’t have to hustle every single day to be worthy of your definition of success. However, sometimes you'll experience periods of 'hustle'. If there’s a new project coming out, a big event to prep for or if it’s just a manic time. I know that sometimes, every few months, I’ll be glued to my inbox and phone, working past my usual working hours, barely muttering a word if it’s not to do with work. And boy, do I feel the consequences.
Cue burn out talk along the lines of ‘why the hell am I doing this?! I hate it I hate it’ and the burn-out look that consists of hair half-up and greasy, skin shitty and the same clothes each day, dirtied with last night’s dinner down them, plus a general burn out attitude (moany, tired and an absolute JOY for my partner to be around). This will be a blindingly-bright-light bulb-in-the-face reminder that I’ve ignored my boundaries, and that when I’m following them, life is a lot easier.
The key thing to remember through all of this is that although we sometimes need to go hard -- it's not sustainable constantly. It's not healthy to hustle every damn day.
I think we forget that we’re doing the work that 20 people usually do in a business. We’re running all of the marketing, accounts, content, client work, enquiry processes, everything. We’re bound to get overwhelmed. But having boundaries in place year round (even more so in times of busyness and pressure) is paramount in helping you keep some sort of balance and avoiding burn out. It can be spell the difference between living the life you deserve and desire with intention, purpose and passion or living a busy, unfulfilling, unhealthy life that just leaves you feeling shitty and alone.
There is one thing I’ve noticed with clients when it comes to boundaries, however. We don’t like setting them.
Why do we, as women in particular, have so much trouble setting boundaries around our time, money and energy?
- Because we believe we have ‘no choice’.
- Because we want to be ‘nice’ and accommodating.
- Because we want to people to like us.
- Because we think the hustle is what makes a worthy business owner.
How heartbreaking is that? Men don't worry about being accommodating. Men don't worry about whether they're being difficult by laying down their own law. We make ourselves small to be palatable to others. We make ourselves ill to be palatable to others. We don’t see that by having strong boundaries, we’re actually being the most loving and respectful to ourselves and those close. That it will attract a better quality of clients, friends and other people into your life. Having boundaries says ‘I matter’.
Boundaries allow you to have greater control over your schedule, they free you up for tasks that actually have purpose and aren’t just making you busy. They allow you to make time for self-care, so that work doesn’t trump your personal needs -- because we all know we are our businesses and if we’re not healthy and balanced, our business isn’t healthy.
Boundaries also establish authority and respect -- they show others how you want to be respected in your business, and in turn, how you respect them. They respect you by what you tolerate. They also give you the freedom to grow at your own pace. Don’t fall into believing that you must do X, Y, Z and work however long in order to be successful. Give yourself permission to define your own version of success by establishing boundaries according to your contentment and standards. And probably most importantly, boundaries allow you to be present for the people you love. A work-life balance isn’t achieved by neglecting important relationships. It’s achieved by making time for the ones who matter the most. Boundaries give you the ability to be present to nurture your relationships.
When you set appropriate boundaries and stop taking on other people's responsibilities, they're left with no choice but to complete their own tasks, resolve their own problems, and find their own resources. At first, you’ll probably feel guilty about this (more on how to overcome guilt later), but it will help to remember that this means other people will take more responsibility for themselves which will improve their functioning and ability to do for themselves.
Setting boundaries for your work and life can be difficult to begin with. You have to deal with guilt of not being accessible 24/7, of working set hours etc, but the benefits are the most rewarding. If you’re finding that your work and life boundaries are getting blurred, it’s time to think of how you can set realistic boundaries in your life and business. Below are 4 of the most important boundaries you can set for your business, and there’s a chance at the end to create your own.
Boundary 1: Office Hours
When I first started in the world of business, I worked from 8am until 9/10pm (sometimes longer). That’s 14 hours a day with maybe a half an hour for lunch and one episode of How I Met Your Mother. I was available throughout the day and night with customers contacting me as early as 6.30am or as late as 10pm. Writing that down in black and white makes me think there’s no bloody wonder why I burned out the way I did.
Why did I do it? Because I thought if I said ‘I'm not available right now' or just wait until I had opened my eyes and eaten my breakfast, I’d be labelled as ‘difficult’ and ‘not serious’. I thought this was what ~real~ business owners did. I wanted to be seen as going above and beyond.
Setting office hours was the first boundary I set, when I remembered that I was creating my own business because I wanted to live life on my own terms, not at the beck and call of others. So, I decided that for my health and wellbeing (and sanity), I would work between the hours of 8-4. Not a minute before or a minute after. Sometimes less, even. It sounds simple but as a freelancer/small business owner/entrepreneur, it’s not obvious when you start that you’re ‘allowed’ to work less hours than normal. You just assume you need to burn the midnight oil or pull in those 14 hour days to be a real business owner. Having set office hours means I know that I only have those hours in between to get real work done; it decreases procrastination and distractions which means I get a lot more work done in those hours than if I worked 12 hours a day, rather than flitting between different tasks because I ‘have all the time in the world’. Pro tip: don’t be tempted to work beyond your hours, even if you’re on a roll with a project or task. By putting down your pen or shutting your laptop when it’s time to close office, you’re going to feel motivated and spurred on to continue the following day.
Remember back in Module 1 when I asked you what your dream schedule looked like? Go back and have a look at your notes, and then ask yourself these questions.
- Do you want to work evenings or weekends?
No? Don’t do it. Yes? You do you. If you have a side hustle/are working other jobs, it's sometimes necessary to work evenings or weekends but if it causes you stress and exhaustion, that's when it's time to reevaluate.
- What’s the earliest or latest you’re happiest working?
Are you an early riser and don’t mind 5am starts? Or does the thought of waking up before the sun make you want to throw up? Start whenever feels right for you- you don’t have to follow what every other person is doing, remember.
- When do you work best?
Morning, early afternoon, evening? Work around your energy levels like we talked about in the previous module.
When you’ve decided on your office hours, you need to let your customers and clients know. It only needs to be a simple announcement on your newsletter or website, and it’s also worth putting it at the bottom of your email signature. No apologies or over-explaining and no need to beg for understanding. Just give them notice and that's the end of it. Remember, people make time for dentist and doctor appointments. You don't have to be super convenient for everyone.
I know the fear is that you'll lose all your clients, but trust me - that won't happen.
“From 1st April, my office hours will be ___ to ___”.
Now, you need to enforce it.
People will try and push the new boundary, "Can you make an exception for me, pretty please?". Trust me. It will happen within 24 hours of you mentally and emotionally making the decision. I bet you £10. There are people who will try to walk all over you and then complain you're not flat enough. There are people in your life who won't understand why you can't just be there all of the time for them, dropping everything you're doing at the drop of a hat. Those people will fall away. Just let them.
And seriously, the first time you enforce it, you'll feel like the biggest grouch in the world but stick to your guns and you'll feel amazing.
Boundary 2: Take breaks
You do not need to work long days with no breaks to be worthy of being a business owner. Taking breaks often is the one thing you can do to avoid burnout and have healthy boundaries. I mean, you could probably throw out all of the other tips I’ve just given and just take breaks and you’ll be fine. That’s how much of a difference break-taking makes. It sounds simple but so many entrepreneurs skip breaks and that is what is perpetuating the glorification of busy.
Schedule at least 3-4 breaks into your working day. Again, this may not work for you but take it as an example: for every hour you work, take a 15-20 minute break, even if you’re on a roll. That way, you’re taking your eyes away from the screen, giving your brain and body a chance to recharge and getting back to work with a lot more motivation and drive than if you just kept going. One of my most vital boundaries is having a lunchtime hour scheduled in every day (usually 1-2pm). This way, I know that I have an hour where nothing is scheduled and I can grab some food, step away from my desk and just be for a little while.
Remember that your day may look different activity and task-wise but it can still follow a similar routine each day. Have a think now as to when you can take breaks.
Boundary 3: Email, social media, text and call boundaries
Much like office hours, having boundaries around the times you check your email, social media, texts or take calls can make a huge difference to your productivity and balance. You know that feeling you have when you’ve just gone to check a DM and four hours later you’re in a spiral of constant scrolling? Boundaries get rid of that. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a big project that makes you stumble a little bit and you use your inbox as a crutch -- clicking on it when you know you’ve got other things to be doing but those things just seem a bit too much and you end up doing an unnecessary task from there, adding hours onto the finish time of the project. By having limits around when you use your phone or inbox, you’re able to concentrate more on the task at hand and use all of your focus and then have dedicated time for checking. I know that some worry that by having set times you’ll miss something important but you’re not going without for days at a time here, only a few hours.
Also, when you answer your emails or work texts or calls outside of your hours, you run the risk of people getting used to your instant, any-time response and they’ll expect that every time -- even if you’re clear about your office hours in writing (but not in action). Enforcing boundaries is half the battle but it’s so vital to avoid people taking advantage and creating even more overwhelm for yourself.
Using your office hours as a template, let’s create set times for when you check your inbox, Instagram, texts and take calls.
Right now, are you checking your inbox first thing at 9am, and then next thing you know, it’s 4pm and you’ve only done one thing? Yep, that was me a few years back. I’d open up my Gmail, see 60 odd emails and would forget about the tasks I had planned to do that day and instead, would spend the majority of the day tackling those. The key thing to remember here is that you do not owe anyone an instant reply. People can wait. The culture we’re in at the moment, this hyper-connected, instant-reply environment that’s eating away at our time and wellbeing makes us believe we’re obligated to get back to that person in 10 minutes. The moment I realised you don’t owe anyone anything, my inbox didn’t take over my life as much. It’s not selfish, it’s putting the work that will get you closer to your version of success first.
I’d suggest checking your emails twice a day. Once in the morning (or even better, around lunchtime when you’ve gotten some necessary tasks done first) and once before you finish for the day. That way, you’re keeping an eye on what’s happening but you’re not spending hours and hours in there.
Think about how much time you usually need to go through your inbox first thing in the morning- and then take 10 minutes off. We spend so much time flitting between different tasks that it usually takes us a lot longer than it needs to (and that’s when we get bored and distracted). By having a set time to check your inbox, you’re eradicating the chance to get distracted because you know that this is one of your two or three times when you can tackle it.
I recommend, as well as your office hours, having a continuous out-of-office that details your email availability. Here’s an example:
Thank you for your email! I’m currently checking my emails at the beginning and end of the day, so bear with me as I get back to you. If your enquiry is urgent, please re-send your email with the subject 'URGENT' in the subject line.
Have a great day.”
“Thanks for contacting me! The business is enjoying an especially busy time at the moment, and due to the volume of emails I receive, please also note the following:
- If you're a client, ignore this message. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
- If you are interested in becoming a client, I will get back to you within 48 hours to set up a call with me in the coming weeks.
- If you're a brand, agency or journalist I will aim to be back in touch within 3 days. If you are on deadline please reply to this message highlighting urgency and I will respond sooner if possible.”
By being super clear, polite and unapologetic, you’re laying down the law in a respectful way and people aren’t going to walk over that.
Constant scrolling through Instagram doesn’t equal Real Work. I know! Shocking! Yes, it’s important to keep on top of your audience connections, your online approach and marketing BUT you don’t need to be constantly glued to social media to get the best out of it. In fact, I find having limits on it makes you use the time you’re on it more wisely and in turn, you get better results.
Like I mentioned in the previous module, don’t check your phone before you start work, if you can help it. I used to use my phone as a wake-up tool, using the brightness of the screen to peel my tired eyes open but I noticed if I spent half an hour to hour scrolling in bed before I’d so much looked outside, I would end up feeling pretty shitty for the rest of the day. Sometimes it was comparison, other times it was pure overwhelm -- I soon realised it wasn’t the best thing for my mental health. I’ve now learned to try and avoid the pre-pee scroll in the morning and will only check social media after I’ve sat down at my desk. I will usually aim for half an hour at 9.30am, half an hour before lunchtime (12.30pm) and then half an hour before I finish for the day. Within that half an hour, I’ll answer comment/s/DM’s, post images/stories, and explore and connect with the community. Done.
Text and calls
Ever had a pal ‘stop by’ in the middle of the day because they assumed you’d be free (“you work from home, you’re always available!”)? Or does your mum keep ringing to ask how to get ‘the Netflick’ up on her television when you’re in the middle of a client call? Politely and lovingly set a boundary with loved ones that you’re usually unavailable in between your office hours. Sometimes, they just don’t realise that you’ve got shit to be getting on with. Make use of the Do Not Disturb feature if you have an iPhone (if they call over 3 times, it will let you know so you won’t miss any emergencies).
With work calls and texts, make it clear to your clients/customers that you’re not available beyond those hours.
Also, I’d recommend getting the Moment app (if you can stomach it). It monitors your phone usage and at the end of the day, tells you long how you’ve spent on your phone and what apps. Once anyone sees those numbers, they’ll be determined to spend a heck of a less time on their phone!
Now, think of some other challenges you’re having at the moment. Are you spending your days in meetings that could be solved via email? Are you going to lots of events that aren’t making a difference to your business or wellbeing? Are you taking on new clients or customers that aren’t your ideal customers?
Exercise: I now want you to write down to a list of some more non-negotiable boundaries and detail why enforcing them will help you reach your version of success.
Why is this boundary important? How will it help you?
One more important thing to remember: Give yourself grace.
The lines will get crossed. Things will be unbalanced. Sometimes your boundaries will disappear. That’s inevitable, because we’re all human and it’s just how we’re programmed. But realising that this will happen and that it's ok is the first step towards living the life you deserve.
Figuring out where to draw the line comes from practice and patience. Over time you will see where you should draw the line and when you feel like you are overstepping that line. If you find yourself feeling guilty about working when you should be with your pals at the pub, then you need to set a boundary. Make it a rule that you don't work on weekends (that’s my number one.). If you work from home, and feel like you are falling behind and never get any work done because you are always doing something around the house, set a boundary. Determine a schedule for house work, or get some help, that allows for more work time.
The lines are different for everyone, but there are lines somewhere. If the boundaries are blurred in your life, it might be time to step back and evaluate how you spend your time. Work on setting realistic boundaries in your life so that you can start living the life you deserve.
One last thing: it’s ok for your boundaries to grow and evolve. Some may need to be chucked or changed over time -- it’s always a work-in-progress and everyone’s are going to look slightly different.
lesson two: the importance of white space
Incorporating white space into your schedule ensures you’ll have at least a slither of time a day where you have guaranteed time to just be. And yes, I know your first thought then would’ve been ‘but I don't HAVE TIME LOLA!’. Bear with me.
We have time if we make time.
Yes, we have lots to do. We have numerous plates spinning in the air. We have our thumbs in all of the pies. Essentially, we have a lot of shit to do. But, if we’re prioritising all of the things that are actually important (projects and opportunities that actually grow our businesses, bank account and mindset), we won’t be filling our days with unnecessary tasks, therefore, we’ll have time for white space if we make time.
If we want to create an environment that nourishes innovation and imagination, we need to build quiet counterpoints into our daily rhythm. These small moments of white space — where we have time to pause and reflect, go for a walk, or just breathe deeply for a few moments — are what give balance and flow and comprehension to our lives as a larger whole.
- Do I have enough white space in my daily routine? Or do I plow through an over-cluttered schedule day after day?
- Are the things I’m doing moving me closer to my goals, or am I just spinning my wheels?
Think of white space as an important part of your business. Just as important as creating a superb customer service experience. Just as important as doing your accounts. White space allows you to get away from the chaos of the day to reflect and redirect your efforts towards those initiatives that yield the greatest impact. The human brain, like every other muscle in the human body, needs time to recharge and if you keep plugging away at the keyboard all day or attending back-to-back meetings, your brain doesn’t get the rest it needs and soon runs dry—or empty. The essence of scheduling white space is to do something completely out of routine, to create newness in an otherwise predictable schedule so that you can focus on what matters most. It’s also handy if a family emergency or unexpected change of events happen.
So, how can we action white space into our schedules?
We need to actively schedule it in.
Building a few white space blocks directly into your schedule in advance so that no matter what meetings or deadlines come up, you still have time blocked off to take a few moments and think about the big picture — or think about nothing at all. No matter how busy you think you are, you can carve time and space to think out of your workday. Maybe it could be first thing in the morning instead of checking email, or in the afternoon as an alternative to social media.Treat it like an important business meeting. You can’t cancel or reschedule -- it has to get done.
Like I mentioned in the organisational tools section in the previous module, I keep my Google calendar in colour blocks that represent different aspects of my life. White space, where there is nothing scheduled and I know I can just be, is quite simply white space. If I see a lot of colours and hardly any white, I know I need to create more literal white space on my calendar so I will have enough white space – creative, re-energising time – in my days.
But what exactly is white space? Well, that’s up to you. White space looks different to all of us. It can last 5 minutes, or it can be a whole afternoon. The general idea is to zone out and reconnect. To put your phone and laptop away, be unavailable for work activities and focus on you.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sitting quietly and letting your mind wander (how long has it been since you’ve done that?)
- Free drawing with no specific objective (even if you ‘can’t’ draw).
- Going for a walk.
- Doing a mini-workout
- Taking a power nap
- Automatic writing (writing without hesitation)
- People watching
Exercise: In your notebook or on your document, write your own list of things you can do within your white space.
Give it a go. Look at your calendar now and see if you have any literal white space. If not, ask yourself if the tasks, appointments or meetings you’ve got on your calendar are 100% integral to the growth of your brand and you. You know what to do if they’re not.
lesson four: overcoming guilt
When I first heard the word ‘boundaries’, I remember automatically thinking ‘selfish’.
Selfishness is something we’ve always been taught to avoid. We’ve been told it’s an undesirable trait, and that in itself has left us with a complex when it comes to ‘treating ourselves’ or investing in something that could help us grow and progress to the life that we deserve.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that any investment (whether that’s money, time or resources) spent in taking care of ourselves is selfish. That investment is better spent on others, and that you’re too self-involved if you want to focus on you.
It’s why we put aside our dreams to raise families, answer emails and calls about work at all hours of the day (and night), stay in an unsatisfying job that has security and a regular wage packet, it’s why we never take a break, we break our boundaries, are always ‘busy’ and define our self-worth by the things we have/do, rather than the people we are. We feel we have to be in constant service of other people to be a ‘good’ human.
This equals to a lot of burn out, stress and overwhelm, not to mention a heck of a load of guilt -- and that’s ultimately what stops us from achieving balance.
We can all benefit from recognising the ways in which guilt tries to keep us trapped, preventing us from setting limits in our businesses and general lives. This is especially important because guilt will convince us that saying yes in order to please others is a good thing that doesn’t need to be changed. The main intention behind feeling guilty is a good one—to live life in the ‘right’ direction—but sometimes all it really does is damage your wellbeing and keep you from being your own person. People-pleasers are especially affected by feelings of guilt and a need to be needed. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and are compelled to be a good person all the time, which feeds the urge to say yes, even when they really want to say no. Guilt can trick us into thinking we can successfully ignore our needs and take on other people's responsibilities; but after a while, those people will rely on us more and more, weighing us down.
The long and short of it is there’s a difference between “being” guilty of something (when you have actually done something wrong) and “feeling” guilty (when you are just making yourself feel bad because someone else wants you to behave differently). The guilt is usually your inner critic trying to get you to back down and let her rule the kingdom.
What if we flipped that narrative on its head? What if we shifted our mindset around investing in ourselves through money, time or resources and made it about being self-full, rather than selfish?
One way of shifting the old story is to stop thinking ‘time/money spent on me is selfish’ and instead think ‘I must spend on myself in order to give my 100% to others’.
We could start by being in service to ourselves a bit more, rather than always in service to others.
But how can that possibly be? How is any money/time/resources spent on yourself anything but selfish? That money/time/resource could be spent on someone close to you. Or given to charity. Or buying lots of puppies from the rescue centres. And I hear that, it could be. But, the one big reason that makes investing in yourself selfless is: If you aren't taking care of you, there is no way you are 100% giving back to others.
As small business owners, we give our 100% in everything we do. We show up every day, and bring our best work to the table. But if we’re running on fumes all of the time, constantly busy and not allowing ourselves a break, how can we give 100%? If we’re not investing in an accountant/a coach/a VA/any sort of delegation because we think that money should be saved and harvested for our futures/family/emergencies, how are we going to be able to give 100% to our business if we’re spending our days doing tasks that we don’t have to do, or going round in circles because we don’t have any clarity or focus on our business’ journey?
When our brains and bodies are at their wit's end, there is absolutely no way that we can be fully present for the people in our lives, let alone our clients and customers. As I’m sure you’ve heard me say lots of times- we are our businesses, and if we’re not looking after ourselves, our business isn’t being looked after.
Then, I guess the next question is- ‘how do I invest in myself?’
It’s completely up to you!
You can spend as much or as little money or time as it takes. You just can’t spend zero when it comes to time. Obviously.
I’m aware that self-care advice can sometimes come from a very privileged place. We don’t all have the resources to spend money on weekly facials or massages, but that doesn’t mean we can’t invest in ourselves in other ways.
Here’s a list of things I like to invest in, as well as what my clients or members of the OGB community have learned to invest in over time. Some might cost money, some don't. Some may take large amounts of time, others don't. You can decide what works for you and your life.
- Reading books
- Going for a walk
- Having a break with a cuppa and biscuit
- Going on holiday/long weekends away
- Watching films, documentaries and TV shows (i.e spending a good few hours on netflix)
- Sitting in a cafe with a coffee, reading a book or writing in a notebook
- Getting your nails or hair done
- Having a lunch hour outside, and not al desko (i.e at your desk)
- Hiring an accountant to do your tax return/bookkeeping
- Hiring a VA to take charge of your socials
- Hiring a coach to help you find clarity and focus in your business, to help you fall in love with your venture again.
The point is not what investing in yourself looks like. It’s the action of you taking time out of the craziness to refuel, recharge and expand your brain. Take 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or a whole weekend. Whatever it takes.
I can assure you – if you can make self-care a priority, you’ll see your capacity for the care of others grow exponentially, and you’ll laugh at the fact you used to think it was selfish.
Exercise: Now, write down a list of things you can do to be in service for yourself and to invest in you.
recap of module four
Let's complete the following statements:
My non-negotiable boundaries are:
I will make room for white space by:
I will invest in myself by:
Whenever I feel start to feel guilty for prioritising myself and my well being, I will: