I’ve found that as I now become consumed by making a real go at being a sole proprietor, there are any number of things that fall between the cracks. Much like a mother who has tunnel vision taking care of her children, I have discovered that it is easy to lose track of hours and even days. I’ve been so busy that I forget to take care of myself. Sadly there are times when I have to ask myself if I’ve showered for the day, eaten or gone to the bathroom. I work from home so the temptation is always great to simply roll out of bed and immediately get on the computer. There have been plenty of times where I work so far into the wee morning hours that I completely forget how late it’s gotten. Even as my eyelids become heavy, I push through. Sure, it demonstrates that I have great work ethic, but I so quickly lose sight of what’s important.
No matter what your profession is we can sometimes get overly wrapped up in what we’re doing. For the past two months I found myself working every day and not taking full days off. It’s only after your body starts to rebel that you realize how important even one day off can be. You really need some personal time and some time to decompress. This weekend I discovered that I couldn’t even force myself to work. Even though the more I work the more I earn, something inside me told me that it was just time to stop. How easy it is to suppress our need to simply take a break. Two weeks ago my husband and I took a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. We planned to make it a more regular occurrence. Well, that was two weeks ago.
Over the weekend I allowed myself to take a break from constantly being in front of the computer. I traded that experience for reading as well as being glued to my television screen. I’ve not watched much television in months and the shows that I loved piled up on the DVR. I admit, I used to watch more television than I should, however, I do see where there is a place for it in my life. I’ve now learned that television in moderation can be a really great thing. I’m now limiting myself to one hour of television time each day during the week. For me, that was the one thing I could always turn to in order to relax. For others it may be something as simply as taking a walk, crocheting, reading or singing. I like a regiment so I have created a daily agenda that has allowed me to allocate the time I need to read, do household chores and other tasks. Even if you can’t or don’t want to be as meticulous as I am, take even 30 minutes or an hour each day to do something you enjoy doing. Engaging in that activity will take the edge off of what could’ve been a stress-filled day.
Before you know it, that one little thing will become habit and you won’t have to plan for it, you’ll simply do it. Incrementally you’ll be able to change the things about your habits and time management without being overwhelmed by big and constant change. A few years ago I set the goal for myself to read at least one book per month. In my youth I was in love with reading. As I became older, and I believe an attribute of being a member of Generation X and the Millennials, I was more interested in technology and felt that leisure reading was simply a thing of my past. The thing was, after time I honestly started feeling dumber. I wasn’t engaging my brain in the same way that I used to and my creativity seemed to ebb. But the great thing about reading is that it’s like riding a bike (an activity I really should do again sometime), once you know how, you never quite forget. Sure, it took me some time to get back into the groove, but I learned that I shouldn’t force myself to do it. If I only read 10 minutes one day, then I was glad that I did that much. Over time it grew and I’m excited about reading again and I do it with much more regularity.
Making the time to do the things we feel are important (but aren’t important enough for us to always do them) can take a great deal of time. Whether it’s losing weight, reading more or virtually anything, you will find the time to do if you take small measures and relish the times you actually get them done. Don’t pressure yourself but do listen to the small voice inside that you have managed to drown out with the chaos of daily life. You may discover that making the little time to do what you love will allow you to reconnect with yourself in a way you’d never imagined as well as increase the joy in your life.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 7/23/14 issue of The Union-Recorder.