Let me tell you about my Google Calendar. There is a whole rainbow’s worth of colors and then some littering each day. I don’t find being busy as a source of pride but I do have a lot going on. Between The Branding Edit, my personal photography business, and spending time with friends and my partner, I don’t find a lot of time for myself. And when I do have that alone time, I usually spend it trying to find new ways of being productive. I am a bit of a productivity junkie. I always need to be doing something. In December I did it all from bouncing from meetings to photo shoots to going to New York City twice for work. Instead of ending 2017 riding the waves of accomplishment from everything I’ve done, all I got was the flu. I’ve spent 34 years on this earth and I have never gotten the flu until January 1st, 2018.
For all the times I thought I was giving myself a break, I literally had to stop everything and just recover. Even though I’m not proud to be busy all the time, I noticed that a huge part of persona is to be a hard worker. People always comment on how much I’m doing and how inspirational it is to them. Without realizing it, I took those comments to heart and kept pushing myself because I didn’t want to let people down and in turn let myself down. So I kept going and going until I got sick. Now I know overworking yourself doesn’t give you the flu but I do think it was the universe’s way of telling me to stop and take a break.
I was given a doctor’s note that said I could go back to work on January 6th and I decided to honor it even though I work for myself. So how did I do, you may ask? I learned extremely fast that I don’t know how to relax. I cleaned the first two days but I justified it because I didn’t check my email at all. I let my boyfriend cook for me but then I did the dishes. I edited photos for a client but still waited on handling my inbox. I did take some downtime and I actually watched two movies in a row. I have my BA in Film Studies and I hate watching movies so this was a pretty big deal for me. Saturday, my boyfriend and I binge watched Black Mirror. I have to say I see the appeal of doing nothing.
Here we are, a week later, and I’m back to work. The main lesson I’ve learned is taking breaks are essential for the small business owner. As much as we think it is possible, we can’t do it all. I’m lucky enough to have two business partners that were capable of picking up the slack from when I was out for the count and clients of my photography business who totally understood if their photos were delivered a few days late. It’s more than ok to ask for help or to outsource some work. If you’re addicted to your Google Calendar like I am, schedule times to do absolutely nothing and honor that. Put money aside for when those expected personal days pop up. Let me tell you, there is nothing enjoyable about being forced to take a break because you’re sick.