Do You Run Your Business or Does Your Business Run You?

As I reflected on my business mentality this year, I realized that in past years I have let my business run me. I was available for it all the time. I felt like my nervous system was a slave to the ebbs and flows of business. My ability to say “no” to its demands and to unplug had dwindled.

So I decided to turn it around. It started with decluttering (see August post “Break Up With Business Clutter and Find More Joy), which meant classes, marketing, and professional growth items ended up on the chopping block. I didn’t entirely cut these activities out of my life, but I scaled back to a reasonable amount. As I developed the muscle to filter to balance, I began to add in things that move me toward more joy both inside and outside of my business. 

The result is a calmer, more focused, joyful me, and all of this reminds me that as I seek joy, the Universe supports me. Here are some practices you might want to try to create more balance in your business. 

Expand on Phone-Free Days. If you have successfully tried a phone-free day and loved it, try expanding it to all personal technology. This past week I chose to turn off my phone and leave incoming texts, calls, and emails for later, and I went to a movie. It was a warm Indian summer night, so I decided to take a long walk home through the neighborhoods and hills of San Francisco. I gazed at the stars, people, and houses. I ran into two friends and had a lovely connection. Had I had my head in my phone, I would have missed out on all of this! 

Start a Social Media Diet. My client Jen noticed that social media was a time and focus killer. “It started with checking my business Facebook page, but then I would end up on People magazine’s site!” While it’s important to be aware of your business’s online presence, constant checking can drain creativity. Jen put herself on a social media diet. Now she only checks first thing in the morning, at the start of her lunch break, and at the end of the day. Jen moved through her fear of missing out and found that she “got real work done in a timely, stress-free manner and felt more connected in the process.” Exactly!

Stop Being a Slave to Deadlines. It took me a long time to learn and embrace that other people’s emergencies are not mine (unless my profession is an ER nurse or EMT, of course). When I make other people’s deadlines mine, I end up running myself ragged with work, and my personal life falls by the wayside. Instead, I do what I can to support my clients and let the rest of it go. Sometimes the best thing I can do—for everyone—is suggest that the goal can be accomplished more effectively when self-imposed deadlines are released and the process flows naturally. 

Plan a Real Vacation. You are your own boss. Give your self permission to go on a vacation! One of solopreneurs’ biggest fears is that if we unplug, our businesses will go dormant. Consider this: When you do something that nurtures and refuels you, you bring that energy back to your work and ultimately increase creative productivity. So make it a priority to spend quality time with family and friends, clear a day to do nothing, or take a whole week to play! Resist the urge to bring electronics, iPads, and phones on your time off. When you let yourself fully unplug, you’ll be surprised what kind of inspiration comes in. 

I knew that I needed take a break from attachments I had developed in my business, and I am happy to report that I have more white space in my calendar and in my life. This week that space filled with the sounds of a bird in my cherry tree, which drew my attention to the cat lazing in the garden sun, which reminded me to breathe, relax, and enjoy this day.

Have you been letting your business run you? How are you finding joy today in your business and in your life? I hope you’ll share your tips in the Comments.
Have you been letting your business run you? How are you finding joy today in your business and in your life? I hope you’ll share your tips in the Comments.

Suzanne Katanic

Mudita Inc, Homestead St., San Francisco, CA 94114, United States