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No Business Without Balance

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on

Week 3 Recap:  This week I checked in with contacts, existing clients, and followed up with a few prospects.  I identified new prospects (although not 3 per day) and I read articles on  I'm looking for more blogs and sites to read, so if you have some favorites I'd love to hear.

What did I learn this week?

I really enjoyed all the comments from last week's blog post.  So many of my fellow self-employed superstars shared how they find balance, so I took some time put together what I gathered.  I considered the question, which daily activities will be important for achieving balance in my work life? and here's what I've come up with.

  1. Get dressed.  Much to my chagrin, getting dressed seems to be a universal must-do for success.  For me this means jeans and a t-shirt—anything but pajamas.  I will say goodbye to my sheep slippers and wear appropriate footwear… probably Uggs.  (They are the next best thing to slippers but are still actual shoes.)  Being outside appropriate is the goal here.  I've chased the mailman down the street wearing pajamas while the neighbors looked on in horror, and I never want to do it again.  
  2. Make time for exercise.  Exercise is so important for the body, mind, and overall well-being.  For me, when I neglect exercise I become a 6-headed gremlin, so exercise isn't just for me, but for those around me.  My exercise will occur Monday –Thursday for an hour.  Walks/Jogs outside on nice days, gym on rainy days.
  3. Eat.  Make time for eating.  I love to have a fresh-squeezed juice in the morning, and my lunch favorite is homemade hummus. These things take more time and effort than eating say, baked beans directly from the can, or a sleeve of cookies, but something inside tells me it's worth it.
  4. Be a morning person.  I would love to sleep all day and stay up all night, but I'd also like to have a life (and friends who aren't bats or owls).  I will spring joyously out of bed at 8am.  I will engage in a positive pre-working activity for 15 minutes.  Do yoga, make tea, jump on my little trampoline, something to get my head on straight.  Check out this article, The 15-Minute Difference, by Ann Bingley Gallops–it makes sense.
  5. Get to work. One commenter, TurtleBlueBird, walks to work every morning.  She leaves her house, goes for a walk (sometimes picking up coffee along way) and then reports to her home-office.  I absolutely love this idea, but I'm not going to do it, because I know it won't happen—not yet anyway.  I'd like to do this in the future.  Right now, I'll keep it simple.  Arrive at work—awake and dressed.
  6. Closing time.  I've hired a small elf to switch the power off at 7pm in my office.  I can either leave by then, or try to do my work in the dark without a computer.
  7. Leave work.  When I leave work, I will thank the elf for allowing me to have a life, congratulate myself for a good day, and close the office door and the mental door behind me.  I will cook dinner again.  I will go out to dinner, talk with my honey, my friends, make plans in the evening, and stop being a hermit.  And this leads to something very important…
  8. Stop feeling guilty!  I have a little demon in my head, and this is what he says:  You didn't do enough today, you should still be working right now, all day every day, all weekend every weekend!  Get a real job you lazy girl.  Look at you, enjoying a nice glass of wine and indulging in mindless television, that's not productive, your clients probably hate you because they'll have to wait until tomorrow, you have some nerve expecting to get 8 hours of sleep per night and still make money this year.  You get the picture. I must kill this guilt demon because I can't live this way.  Any advice, please do share it.
  9. Sleep soundly.  Like Colleen demonstrated in her latest post, bad things happen when you neglect your sleep.  This means that I will not get up at 2am to work.  (No matter what the demon is telling me.)
  10. Checklist.  Have a list of the things I want to accomplish during the day.  So what if I write "take a vitamin" on my list after I've done it– just so I can check it off.  It makes me feel productive. 
  11. Friday freedom days.  I do think one of the benefits of self employment is freedom, and that the creative spirit shouldn't be squelched out by too much structure.  This is why I'm allowing myself Friday freedom.  Get up by 8am, wear something that resembles clothing– and allow myself a little freedom.  I don't have to exercise on Fridays, and I can go to lunch with a friend.  I can spend some time reading a work related book or developing new ideas. On weekends, I'm only going to work when necessary and for no more than a few hours.
  12. Do my best.  Accept that things won't always go exactly as planned.  One commenter, Kelly said, "If you're trying to measure your success by how perfectly you accomplished everything that day, you're doomed."  She's got a point.  I've tried to be perfect, and it's impossible.  I will  change my perspective and learn to measure success (like Colleen says) by the small I did-its!   

If you have any must-dos for success, please share them.  Also, let me know how you're doing with your marketing plan.  I'm off to the gym!  'Till next week. 

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