March 30, 2017 by firstname.lastname@example.org
I have three jobs. None of them involve me leaving the house or speaking to another human being.
I’m a freelance writer, an author, and then there’s my main hustle–full-time caregiver to my sixteen month old twins. Work/life balance–is that a thing some people have? What’s it like? Perhaps I had it once upon a time. Not anymore. My days look like this: wake up and work before my girls are up, work when they’re down for naps, put them to bed and then–guess what?– work some more.
Burnout is an ever-present danger. If you’re like me and your life right now is all about the hustle, here are five tips to keep you from hitting the skids:
1. Network With Others In Your Field
Maybe you admire the work of another solopreneur/blogger/author. Why not reach out to her and tell her so? Chances are, she’s plugging away solo at her work day in and day out, just like you. What a day-brightener to receive a note from someone in the field telling her that what she’s doing is important and inspiring.
Working three jobs at home means I’m pretty desperate for connection. That means I’m not shy about reaching out to virtual strangers about some aspect of my work. But it’s not just about building warm fuzzies–networking has given me a leg up in business. I’ve gotten gigs by, essentially, saying “hello” online. In fiction writing, I’ve met some great critique partners who’ve offered valuable feedback that’s made my work stronger.
Doing solopreneur work is (by definition) lonely at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way ALL the time. Reach out to someone and say hello. You’ll most likely meet a friend.
2. Incentivize Your Goals
“I’ll write 500 words and then watch an episode of ________ on Netflix.” “I’ll pitch to five clients and then eat some really yummy ________.” “I’ll finish this blog post and then I’ll give _______ a call.”
What little tricks do you play on yourself to your juices flowing?
There are so many things competing for my attention each day (i.e., Twitter). Accomplishing anything involves denying myself some little treat, working my tail off to accomplish the hour or day’s goals, and then: reward. Set small goals for the day, and don’t forget to REWARD yourself when you meet them. Which brings me to #3.
3. Celebrate the Big Milestones
When’s the last time you really splurged when you accomplished something major? Maybe you finished the first draft of your novel. That’s BIG! Good for you! Maybe you landed your dream client, or you consistently hit your income goal three months in a row. AWESOME!
Now how did you celebrate?
I’ll admit; I’m not great at this. I’m one to accomplish a major goal, say “okay,” then get right back to work on something else. Why do I do this? Maybe I’m afraid I’ve done something “wrong.” Maybe I think I’ll lose momentum if I slow down and I’ll never pick the work back up again.
Maybe I’m just not being kind enough to myself.
Imagine your best friend just told you how she’d been working on her novel for the last three months and she finished the first draft. You’d want to celebrate her, right? Tell her how awesome she is, get her a little something special–at least take her out for a drink?
Working at home means we often have to be our own best friends. (Not that we should try to stay in our silos: see number 1.) Pat yourself on the back; reflect on what this milestone means; buy that outfit you’ve been eyeing for awhile. If we don’t celebrate our milestones, no one else will do it for us.
4. Plan Your Downtime
When you don’t have a traditional Monday–Friday job, you don’t have a traditional weekend. If you’re anything like me, that means you often don’t have a weekend at all.
Couple extra hours on Sunday–time to hit the job boards. Saturday afternoon while the girls are napping–brainstorming-blog-posts-time. Few extra minutes? I’m over at Creative Commons and Canva, sourcing my next blog image.
There are a million things to do when you’re running your own business. It’s tempting to be doing any number of those things at ALL times. That’s why it’s so important to plan your downtime.
A downtime plan could look something like this: “On Sunday, I won’t do any work at all. I’ll wake up, have coffee in bed. Then I’ll go grocery shopping and meet up with my friend for lunch. I’ll take a long walk in the afternoon, watch that Oscar-winning movie I missed in the evening, and go to bed by 10.”
One of the hardest things for work-at-homers to learn is to set boundaries so that work doesn’t overflow into every other area of life. For me, that means having a plan–even planning my “fun.”
5. Take Lots of Naps
Do I really need to explain this one?
They say we teach what we need to learn. So there you have it: my five best tips for avoiding work-at-home burnout, which I’m telling you so that I can remind myself.
Fellow WAH-ers, I want to know: what are your best tips for keeping the fires burning?