There are so many positives of being self-employed -- you get to make your own schedule, have complete creative freedom, and turn your passion into a job! Being self-employed is something that I would never change, but it has taught me so much about work balance.
If you are a small business owner or want to start a small business -- I hope this post can help you in separating your work life versus your personal life. There has to be a divide in order to achieve more relaxation and less burnout. PSA: I am not nearly perfect in dividing the two quite yet, I am still learning and growing each day. But here is how I have learned to leave work at work:
1. Set working hours for yourself.
When you are your own boss, you are creating your own schedule. It can be so easy to push work off, "do it tomorrow", or get overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. On the other hand, on the days where you are feeling highly motivated or creative -- it can be really hard to stop.
My favorite influencer on this entire planet actually put the thoughts I wanted to communicate into words during once of her latest podcast episodes on being self-employed, she said: "When you quit your 9-5, you start a 24/7".
With that being said, it can be really hard to set boundaries. But you have to for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It won't come naturally and it won't come easy, but I promise it will change the entire way you operate your business.
For me, this looks like scheduling a few hours a week to work from home to do computer work. For example: responding to emails, content planning, financials, and anything else that can be done without being in my physical office. The other hours are spent in the HQ working open shop, packaging orders, unboxing merchandise, and anything that I cannot do once I get home.
There will be days where hours spill over into your personal time, that's okay. There may be weeks where you only work during your scheduled hours, that's okay too. Don't be too hard on yourself -- do what feels best, and try to find a divide when you need it!
2. Find an identity outside of your business.
Typically when you are self-employed, you have turned a hobby or a passion into a business. Another quote from Emma *if you can't tell I'm a die hard fan*: "Instead of just doing what your boss tells you and then going home and disconnecting from the whole thing -- your job is more heavily ingrained in your being".
If you are self-employed, try to find other hobbies that don't entail your business. Ask yourself what other things you like that don't include working on your business -- if you don't have an answer [I was in the same boat], do some searching and experimenting.
For me, yoga has become a new hobby. While I am practicing yoga, I can completely detach myself from work. I am not "Shop Nelly" when I go to yoga, I am just Kirsten. This has completely recharged my energy when I get to the headquarters -- because I start the day off doing something that challenges me, disconnects me from work, and refreshens my mind.
3. Leave work at work.
This is easier said than done and actually intertwines with the last two points. Wherever your office is for your business -- whether it is in your home, in a physical location, or in a co-working space... know that when you close the door at the end of the work day you will not be accessing anything inside of it until you return the next working day.
This got easier for me once we moved into the headquarters, but could have also been a boundary to set when we were operating out of our home -- I just didn't know how crucial the divide was at the time.
In addition to that, unplug from your socials at the same time when you are done with work for the day. I turn off my notifications for my email, Shopify, and social media when I leave the office. If we receive an email, DM, or order after operating hours -- it will be work for tomorrow. After all, the work will still be there when you arrive the following business day -- don't feel like you have to be accessible 100% of the time [unless it is an emergency]. Which brings me to my last point!
4. You deserve rest.
Everybody needs it. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur identity that society has given us is to essentially be a workhorse. There's this false notion that if you aren't grinding 24/7, you aren't successful and neither is your business. I learned the hard way that you don't have to spread yourself thin to make a successful business -- your business will be best when your mental space is best. Get rest, reset, and make boundaries for yourself when you need it.
If you would like to listen to the podcast episode that I referenced in this blog post, here is the link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/anything-goes-with-emma-chamberlain/id1458568923?i=1000548464079