‘Work hard, play hard’, some say.
And ‘you gotta work hard to get what you want’. And although I am not allergic to working hard, this week I was reminded why working yourself into the ground is not sustainable, plain stupid, and won’t get you anywhere but knocked out of action. I worked seven days non-stop last week. Late nights, little sleep. The result? Got a fever on Monday, and have been feeling sick most of this week. This is a post about why working hard is not the holy grail to a successful business and why maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital for your business. When the body says ‘no’, all action stops.
Maintaining a great work-life balance
I must admit, a crazy week like that is unusual for me. Normally, I have a healthy work-life balance. I have a few coaching days a week, then a few mornings of working as a tour guide on a bicycle in Valencia, and one day of me-time, which I usually spend painting. It’s brilliant. But sometimes, when you have fingers in too many pies, and you have said ‘yes’ to yet another thing (any fellow HD Manifesting Generators in the house?), you run out of juice.
The big wake-up call
What happens when you end up with an unhealthy work-life balance? In my case, I stop eating regular meals, and I stop sleeping enough hours. Basically, I give my immune system a hammering. I push myself even more to finish all the tasks, and ignore the inner voice that is telling me to stop and look after myself (because I feel I can’t let people down!). When I ignore my gut instinct and listen to my hungry ego instead, I always regret it. The inner voice is there to protect us, and is ALWAYS right. Don’t ignore it.
So just to remind you of a few things, if you find yourself listening to much to your hungry ego instead of your gut instinct:
It is OK to say NO to things you don’t feel excited about (anymore).
You are allowed to change your mind when things get on top of you.
You do not need to feel guilty when you have nothing more to give.
It is OK to make your boundaries clear, and even better when you set them early.
Earning money is one thing, but without a healthy brain and body, you are no use to the world, and your business will fail. Truth.
Saying no, even to the things you love doing
So I got back to some people in my network who invited me to be part of projects and events, after I checked in with myself: do I actually want to do this? Or do I say yes to please others, or out of FOMO? Do I have energy right now to take on another project? What is the worst thing that can happen if I decline? What is the best thing that will happen if I decline?
Canceling commitments can feel like such a relief.
I have many clients (and my lovely American clients top them all), who work crazy long hours, don’t take any time off, and think that is ‘just what you need to do to succeed‘ and they wear it as a badge of honour. They tell me they work till 2am in the morning to finish their admin. Or that they don’t even stop for lunch because they had ‘appointments back to back’. Be honest, is that why you started your own business? Didn’t you want freedom?
If your body hasn’t said ‘no’ already, it soon will at this rate.
Making conscious changes and choices
But Nina, if I say No to stuff, I’m not going to earn enough money to pay my bills! Here’s my response to that: ‘Do you want to feel happy, in control and full of energy, ? Or exhausted and burnt out?’
Here are some suggestions to improve your time management:
- If you want more time in your week, up your prices.
Focus on attracting the right clients, rather than more clients. That way you don’t need as many, but earn the same or more. This might sound scary, but you will be surprised how well it works.
2. Are you struggling to keep on top of your admin? Outsource it.
Or invest in a better system (I just did, by purchasing an annual membership to coaching platform Paperbell*, and I am no longer drowning in a sea of documents and invoices! I LOVE it.). You need help. No business owner can do it all by themselves. It might cost you a little bit right now, but it will pay off. You look and feel more professional instantly. I earned my investment back within a week.
3. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
If you are like me, and you do many different things, give yourself permission to slow down. We don’t have to shine in five different places, all at once. I crammed in ALL of my jobs and passions in two weeks, and it is just insane. Exhibited paintings at an art exhibition, I played a concert with my band, I signed multiple new coaching clients, and I worked as a tour guide in Valencia this month, which is one of the busiest times of year in tourism. I love all of it, but I am not a machine. I am also a mother and a wife. Guess what, or rather who, got least of my attention.
We have time. Slowly, steadily, sustainably, joyfully. We only have one body.
*This is an affiliate link (because I love this system so much, and I would like to promote it to other coaches who might be drowning in admin too!). I will get a small commission for every paying new member coming through me.