Balancing Small Biz & Life

If you’re a small or one-person business like me, or are curious about some time management tips, balancing running a small business and life (and a full-time job!) is tough. This year marks 5 years of L&K, which I still can’t believe, and I think I’m just starting to get the hang of it. 

Like all things, moderation is so important. 

I’m very susceptible to burnout. I’m someone who is either all in or all out which gets me in trouble. If I’m in a creative headspace I make so much progress but if I’m not, I want nothing to do with L&K, and both of those are not sustainable. So here are a few things I’ve learned that have helped me live at a 6 or 7 rather than at a 1 or a 10. 

 

1. Commit to set working hours

Something I’ve learned fairly recently is having set time for my small business. I’m not going to glorify the 5-9pm hustle because I need time after work to rest, eat, and recalibrate before shifting into my own work. Headspace and intent is so important, ya know? So I have set hours after dinner from about 7-9:30 dedicated to L&K. 

Having a set time helps me know what’s coming in the day and helps me mentally prepare. And there’s something about treating my own business like someone else’s business that helps my mindset. Which leads me to number 2.

 

2. Create a realistic list of what you want to accomplish in that time

Every business has a million things on their to-do list but in any given amount of time what can you actually accomplish? Something I learned from a friend is to have a ‘master list’ of all the things you would like to do throughout the week. Then each day reference that list and make a ‘mini’ version for what you want to do, or can do, on that given day. That mini list can morph throughout each day but but it breaks it down into smaller - and less overwhelming! - chunks. 

While I like to think I’m efficient when given a list if it’s too long/too many tasks I get overwhelmed. So breaking it down already gives me a head start. Do you think this would work for you?

 

3.Have set ‘weekends’

The conversation around rest has morphed over the last couple of years and I think we’ve finally learned our lesson. We need rest, we can’t pour from an empty cup as they say. It’s so tempting to want to hustle all the time but that brings us back around to burnout which isn’t healthy for any of us. 

Since my set hours are during the week I have kept my weekends as weekends. And recently I have tried to implement spending as much of that weekend out of my house. Going for a walk, getting a cup of coffee, going to an art exhibit, visiting a plant shop, thrifting, or visiting my favorite used book store are some of the things I did last weekend. I was inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the week ahead. I did make time to just sit on the couch and watch a few episodes of something too. And there’s nothing wrong with a good scrolling on your phone session. I said it!

What are the things that inspire you? What can you do this weekend to ‘fill your cup?’

 

4.TAKE REAL BREAKS

Even with set weekends and set hours, real breaks (like more than 3 days) are necessary!! You have to have time where access to the computer isn’t even possible. The urge to work is always there. What that post that floated around on Instagram for a while? “How can I make this rest more productive?” No, no no. Plan a trip, plan a getaway, and like I mentioned in #3 recharge and experience new things. The biggest thing I’ve learned about time away is it gives me time to think about things, big and small, and brings clarity to them. When you’re “in it” all the time making constant decisions is tiring and you can lose focus of what you really want. Time away and true perspective is so worth it.

 

Photo from my most recent trip home.

 

5. Last, it’s more than okay to grow slowly/don’t compare your growth to someone else’s.

This is a trap I fell into more frequently than I would like to admit but here we are. Your business has it’s own set of circumstances, you have your own set of circumstances and both of those are different from everyone else’s. I went through Proof to Products Paper Camp course the same time as another business and since we completed that course their business has hit so many milestones I want. And I let myself beat my self up for it - my work is just as good, why isn’t my business at the same level as theirs?

But I have to remember, they do their business full-time. They don’t have a full-time job still. They’re circumstances are completely different than mine. It’s not a fair comparison. 

When I look back on these 5 years, I’m so proud of how far this paper journey has come. Is there far more I want to do? Yeah. But I’ve come a long way. I want to continue to get better at recognizing and celebrating the little milestones - because they’re important too!

 

I could go on and on but these are the 5 that stick out in my mind. This paper journey has introduced me to so many wonderful people and allowed me to become a part of two wonderful communities - PTP and the small business community as a whole. 

I couldn’t do this without you, you wonderful supporters you! So thank you. And here’s to another wonderful 5 years.

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