Archives for May 10, 2012

Why Overworking Yourself Never Works

How important is your time to you? Especially those of you that run a business, or even a blog?

Up until a few months ago, I knew how to manage my time with what I thought was important. Not with what was really important.

80 hour weeks were a standard for me. The rule, not the exception. Even with an assistant and my husband helping me when he could, it was the way my life worked. I usually took breaks for meals, and occasionally on weekends, but more often than not, I’d be here. Writing posts. Answering emails. Updating the shop. Leaving comments. Tweeting. Answering more emails. Updating Facebook. The list went on, and on, and on. I always had something to do so why not do it?

And then life caught up with me.

I started the internal countdown to when we moved, when we would go down to Florida before the move, and when I would be done with school. I focused on downsizing since we wouldn’t have a basement in Florida. I started exercising again so I could be in my best shape when we moved. I started eating better as a result of exercising. And the nicer the weather got, the busier my mind got.

I felt like I was in a funk because of how my attitude had changed. How the things I was so accustomed to doing were no longer appealing to me. How I no longer wanted to work those 80 hours. But the reality was that I wasn’t in a funk – my priorities had just shifted. It was never because my blog or my business became less important to me. It was because I realized my time was more valuable than I thought it was. I knew something had to give.

Just because my business and blog weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be . . . didn’t mean I needed to spend twice as much time on them. More often than not, it was counter-productive. I’d dread working in the mornings because just minutes before I crawled into bed the night before, I was responding to emails or writing another post. So I cut myself some slack. I decided that if my blog grew slower, or I missed out on a sale or two in the shop, because I was taking so much needed time for myself and my family, it was fine by me.

In the end, I didn’t give up much. I just stopped doing certain things as much.

But what I gained was SO much more.  I have time dedicated to unplugging and spending time with my family as well as alone time every single night. Exercising, meals away from technology, time with our pets, relaxation time, time dedicated to getting ready for the move, and so much more. It feels like I gained extra days in a week by spending less time in my inbox or taking a mini-break from creating new prints for the shop. And I love it! I’ve never been so focused on doing what’s right for me which has allowed me to bring the best parts of me back to the business.

For the longest time I was convinced that in order to succeed, I needed to overwork myself until I got to where I wanted to be. But now I know that’s not true at all. Because whenever I get to that magical place where life gets boring because nothing else needs to be done, I’m not going to care where I’m at. Instead I’m going to care about the journey that got me there and if it was worth it.

So take time for yourself. Push off those emails a day, ignore the post that you need to write but can’t seem to find the right words for, ignore Twitter and Facebook, and live a little. Even if that living consists of watching trashing reality tv and eating an entire thing of oreos, you deserve a break.  Everything you’re working so hard for will be there when you return and you’ll have so much more happiness in it when you’ve been able to walk away from it, even if only for 15 minutes.