Monday morning ever
find you low on enthusiasm? Here you are self employed, generally a good
thing but some days you feel the weight of all the decisions on your shoulders.
Having your own business entails enormous responsibility, strength and
focus. One of the glories of being self employed is you are in charge
and making your own decisions, not having to answer to someone else. One
of the draw backs of owning a business is how all consuming a business
can be. For example, it can be hard to know when to quit at the end of
the day. When you worked for someone else it was easier to leave the office
at 5 o’clock, then it is to leave the garage or den or office you
work in now.
Burn out is a major
concern for the self employed. As a therapist it is not uncommon for me
to hear clients say they are running out of steam and enthusiasm when
it comes to their business, especially when they are working alone at
home. For many, a little support and camaraderie will to wonders to reinvigorate
their spirit and get them back on track.
Recently, I caught
my first episode of The Nanny on television. A British woman comes into
the home of a family in need of parenting help. In this family both parents
were involved in the family business and neither one could set clear boundaries
and priorities. The two young boys were out of control. The two year old
was expert at not going to sleep and his exhausted parents were up for
hours locked in battle with him and losing sleep. When the mother was
supposed to be at home with the children the phone was constantly ringing,
often times it was her husband needing information. It does not take an
expert to see the disaster course the family was on.
When you no longer
can eat on the dining room table, when you realize at the end of the day
you haven’t taken time for a break, it is time to refocus your energy
and your priorities. Ask yourself: At what cost am I running this business?
Could it cost me my marriage? Are my children screaming for attention?
When was the last time I took a day off? I don’t remember what a
weekend is anymore! If you resonate with any of these statements may be
a sign that you are in need of support.
1. If you have a business
plan, review your goals. If you don’t have a plan, make one, detailing
a simple idea of what you want to accomplish and on what time line. Are
my goals reasonable, have I given myself enough time to meet my goals?
Am I on schedule or even ahead of schedule? As a therapist I know one
of the core elements of depression is setting unattainable or unrealistic
expectations. Break down your plans into simple steps and go one step
at a time. If you have a difficult time identifying goals, a coach or
therapist can help.
2. Are you working
alone? Do you feel isolated or lonely? Consider joining a support group
or business network. The opportunity to speak with others is very valuable.
You are not the only one going through these struggles, learn from others.
No need to reinvent the wheel, others may have figured out solutions to
the same problem you are facing.
3. Schedule your day
so you will have breaks and meals. And keep to your schedule, know when
you start your day, what you would like to accomplish and when you will
close down for the day. If you are the business or a key player, your
health and well being are of vital importance to the success of your business.
4. When the day is
over, don’t answer the phone, don’t read the fax or e-mail
that just came in. Relax, enjoy and feel good about the day. If your were
unable to scratch off all the items on your list today, forgive yourself,
make tomorrows list and close the door(even if it is the door in your
5. If you
work at home consider renting a small office space to help establish a
separation between home and work, separate phone numbers and even mailing
address or P.O.Box will further clarify business from home.
LCSW is a therapist in Portland. In addition to counseling individuals
and couples, Laney will be starting a support group for entrepreneurs.
For more information call (503) 781- 3900 or email@example.com
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