Remember that old joke about the guy complaining to his co-workers because he gets the same boring sandwich every day? Someone asks why he doesn't just ask his wife to prepare something different, and much to their surprise, he responds "I make my own lunch!"
If you're self-employed and not taking time for yourself, then guess who's to blame? Hint: It's the guy with two thumbs and an acute case of burnout. You can find him staring back at you in the mirror. He's not a happy dude.
It's a 24/7 world and if you are the engine behind your burgeoning enterprise, the motor is running all day. You need to take the time to change the oil, rotate the tires and have that shiny thing-a-ma-bob tightened every once in awhile, or you'll end up stuck in a ditch in no time. Try a few of these:
Book it, Dano! - In my world, if it's not on the calendar, it doesn't exist. Don't get caught in the "maybe next month" cycle because next month never comes. Plan a vacation and put down a deposit; that makes it real. Even with the most hectic schedule , knowing that, in the not so distant future, you've got a week at some tropical getaway will make the grind much more tolerable.
72 Hours of Sanity - There are five or six three day weekends when most businesses are shutdown anyway, so why not you? I admittedly get caught in the trap of using the extra day to play catch-up, but that's no fun, is it? In order to make the best of this short respite, try to plan something that's just an hour or two away so you don't blow precious you-time on the road...that's more stressful than work!
Sneak in a "Quickie" - Even an early exit mid-week can lower the stress level, so long as you shut down your mind, your laptop and your smartphone. Catch a minor league baseball game, play a round of golf, or go feed the ducks and then hit a wine-tasting. I like to throw a few snacks and some water in a backpack and just head out into the desert to explore with my big, dumb dog. I bring my phone in case of emergency, but it's shut off to avoid the buzz-kill.
Commit to a Dalliance - The best thing I've done in a long time was to sign up for a monthly massage membership at a local spa. It's a "use it or lose it" deal, so I'm forced (poor me!) to get at least one hour long massage a month. I've found that scheduling it on a Friday afternoon gives me the most bang for my buck...the neck muscle knots are pretty kinked up by then.
Focus on the Family - I attend my son's football practices three days a week, with games on Saturday, but with the exception of game day, my participation largely consists of me sitting in my fold up chair working from my iPad, with an occasional nod of approval to the boy. Again, it's about scheduling. Whether it's a pre-determined family game night, or dinner out a couple times a month, put it on the schedule and then stick to the plan! This goes double for your spouse or significant other. It's lonely at the top, especially if you look down to find the wreckage of neglected relationships staring back up at you.
Take a "Mini" - If you spend hours each day strapped to an office chair, break it up with a trip to the coffee shop or even a walk around the block. Ten minutes every two or three hours will leave you with a fresher mind, and a rounder butt!
Being the boss of your own gig is tough enough without driving yourself to the brink of a stress induced depression. Allow yourself to enjoy some of the perks of not having to work for the "man". As long as you get your work done, you are entitled to have a life, and a fun one at that! Let someone else make your sandwich, preferably on a sandy beach accompanied by something cold and fruity, with an umbrella sticking out!
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Chris Prickett is a successful entrepreneur who specializes in defying conventional thinking. He’s built and sold two companies and made many mistakes along the way. He started a Phoenix, Ariz.s, real estate business in 2007, during the worst market in modern history, and business is booming.