Last year was a whirlwind of work I am grateful for, considering most people struggled to find work. I was very aware of how fortunate I was to work, I worked on average 16 to 18 hour days – 6 to 7 days a week, to ensure all my clients were happy. But even as I made everyone happy, I was suffering.
I had a very bad crash, I burnt out almost three to four times and by the time we were inching into December, I had nothing left in me but a general dread for work or even the sight of a client’s name flashing on the screen of my cellphone.
I thought the lesson had been learnt in 2020; I needed to develop a mutually beneficial work pattern. Build a good work-life balance; keeping my creativity at an all-time high and my delivery time within a manageable deadline for clients.
But in February 2021, I crashed so hard again after just a few weeks of working in the year, I said enough was enough. I knew something had to give.
1. Change the business model
As the clientele grew it made no sense to operate as a solo band, I needed to figure out a sustainable business model that kept me sane, creative and balanced. Which I finally have and I am in the mid-stages of piloting it. Within the next two to three months I should be able to start to hire a team as well.
2. Protect my weekends
I am like a mixed martial arts fighter for my weekends. Any attempt to push me to work on a weekend is received with a verbal whack! No one takes my weekends! No one.
3. Work Hours
I have limited my work hours from 9 am to 6 pm. No calls or email responses after this time. I genuinely need to rest after the kind of workdays I have. Being able to clock out of work, even if I work at home allows my brain to relax and regenerate.
I realised meetings are part of work, but there are just too many meetings on top of the training I run with clients weekly. This also eats into actual working time as I steadily move towards building a team. So I have decided to model my week; two days weekly are a mixture of training and meeting days with a cap on the number I can do weekly. This means when I hit the weekly quota of meetings and training in my bookings it moves to the next week to manage my sanity.
Two days weekly will be solely for client work, powering up, on the actual delivery of the support they need. Finally, I have one day that allows me to think and strategise for my business. I am giving this model an initial month to see how it plays out, if it works, I think I have a short term solution to manage the workload.
What do you do to manage and balance your sanity, creativity, rest and workload? I would love to hear from you, do feel free to share.