Sometimes you hit a wall. Or drop to the floor. Or crumble, tumble, collapse.
Sometimes things just suck.
In the past few months, I (Andrea) have been posting about the gifting of good habits. I’ve been positive. Upbeat. Focused.
Today, I struggle. Today, I’m not. I’m negative. I’m cynical. I’m disheartened. I’m ready to quit everything and spend my day working out and scrubbing the kitchen floor while 80s music plays on my Echo.
And even though I don’t want to, I have to write this blog. And I have to gift a good habit for the month of May.
And then I remembered a quote I came across while doing some work for a client. It’s from the book, The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”
So if the song has gone out of your heart, gift yourself some time to find it again. Every day. Because you deserve it. You deserve to take the time to care for yourself.
It’s time for us to start dancing again, to take care of ourselves so that we can be great for others.
For me, that question is very easy to answer. I'm never happier than when I'm surrounded by the ones that I love. It's the most amazing feeling in the world to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything. When I'm with my family, nothing else matters. I am at peace.
I also find happiness in my work. I know that sometimes I complain, but I have to admit that I have a pretty amazing work life. I get to work from home with a phenomenal group of counselors at Eddins Counseling Group, and I am co-owner of this kick booty company called Coffee Talk Consulting. I never dreamed that I would be co-owner of anything so this is pretty great for me.
I just want you to understand how very important it is to be happy in all aspects of your life. Enjoy your family and friends. You'll argue, sure, but you'll get over it. Love what you do for a career. Money is important, but it's much more important to be happy with what you do. And always remember while you're pursuing happiness, to take time to just be happy.
I spent a lot of years looking for something to make me happy without ever stopping to actually be happy. I've learned to slow down and just enjoy the happiness that has found me. It took me awhile to get here, but I'm here now and I hope you'll join me.
Leave us a comment and let us know where you've found your happiness.
Planning for vacation is a wonderful thing. At least it is for me. I get really excited just thinking about those days off that are coming up. I get caught up on work, let clients know I'm going to be off and take care of any other arrangements so I can just sit back and enjoy my time of no work. But, what happens when I'm sick or an emergency comes up and I have to take an unplanned day off? Where does that leave me and my clients?
I (Frankie) hate pretty much anything that isn't planned. I mean, I can be spontaneous sometimes, but mostly I just want a solid plan. So, when I get sick or an emergency comes up and I have to take an unplanned day off work, it really throws me for a loop and when I get to return to work, whether that is the next day or a week later, everything is a mess. I despise a mess. I can't work in a mess. Even though I work from home, everything has a place and everything is in its place. Clutter and disorganization are not my friends.
So, what do you do to keep things running smoothly when you have to take an unplanned day off? You plan for an unplanned day off. Huh? Yeah, let me 'splain. After a couple times getting sick or an emergency coming up and having to take off work unplanned, I learned a few things. I learned that if I don’t do some preemptive planning for these situations, not only will work be a mess when I come back, but so will I. I'll be so anxious about getting things caught up that I won't be able to get anything done! So, I've started doing little things to help me be a little better prepared if I have to take an unplanned day off work.
Do a little extra each day. I know some of us have a hard time getting done what we're supposed to get done every day much less doing extra work. But, let me tell you that a little extra work today will put you in a much better place if you have to take an unexpected day off tomorrow.
If you blog, keep a few ahead. This one is big for me. I write a blog for CTC every Thursday. If I keep a few written in advance I don't have to worry if something happens Wednesday night because my blog is already written and scheduled.
Make a plan with your boss and/or clients. Go ahead and talk with your boss/clients about how you will handle unexpected time off. Having a plan in place for situations like this takes the pressure off you and your clients because neither of you are scrambling around wondering what you're going to do. If you have a boss, it's really important to discuss a backup plan with them in case you're unexpectedly off work so they know the most important work will still get done.
Those are just a few things you can do to help plan for an unplanned day off. If you have more suggestions on planning for unplanned days off, let us know in the comments.
You’ve finally decided (or perhaps your doctor has told you to take a break!) that’s it’s time to get away. It’s time to not think about your business and your office and your clients. It’s time to not check your email. It’s time to not answer the phone. It’s time to enjoy some of the fruits of your labor!
How do you leave? Won’t everything fall apart without you? How does the business keep on going?
When I first started with Your Gal Friday, I worked, and worked. I did whatever I could, as much as I could, any time I could. There were no breaks. (Unless you count sleeping as a break!) One day my husband and I decided our son was old enough to start travelling, so we could start taking vacation.
For him it was easy. Put in the time off on the calendar. Voila. He didn’t have to think about it. But for me? I was the owner of a business. And a worker. I was doing a ton of stuff. I had a team - but...how could I leave my business in their hands?
The first time I left for vacation, I must have checked all of my emails a million times. We’d be driving in the car and I was answering questions. I was still working. The second time, about 100,000. Last year, I’m not sure. Maybe once. Just to say hi. :)
It was all very terrifying. But I needed to go. For my own well-being. I needed to vacate. And you do, too. So here are four tips you MUST do when planning a vacation.
BEFORE YOU GO
Inform Your Clients
Once you know the dates of your vacation, send an email out to all of your clients letting them know when you’ll be gone. I recommend doing this a couple of months beforehand. And then one month before you leave. And then a couple of days before you leave.
Let Your Clients Know the Plan
It’s great to let them know you’re going to be out of the office, but that’s not good enough. You need to make them understand that they are still going to be cared for while you’re gone. What I typically say is something like this:
While I’m out, all regular weekly work will continue to be done by the team. If you have any emergency work, please email X (whomever is in charge) and she’ll be happy to help as she is going to be “me” for the week I’m out. :)
This tells them that they’re not going to be alone. They have a point of contact while you’re out. All is well.
Train Your Team
If your team already does all the same things you do - great. You’re ahead of the game. But, if you do some exclusive work for a client, you’re going to need to train someone to do that work while you’re gone. Start early. Start slowly. Do not dump three years worth of knowledge on someone the day before you leave.
You might not be able to train them in everything, so pick key tasks. And, the week before you leave, have them do all of them. Why? Because you’re there. You can supervise. You can answer questions. And they don’t feel overwhelmed and left adrift in a sea of confusing work.
BUT I DON’T HAVE A TEAM. IT’S JUST ME.
That’s okay. You’ll still do the first two steps. You’ll still inform your clients. You’ll still give them a plan of attack. But that plan will be different. You’re going to tell them that they need to have any requests in to you by a certain date prior to vacation, because you’re going to accelerate your work schedule. You are going to power through possibly doing twice as much work in half the time. But this just means you’ll be ahead for your clients and you can leave without having anything left in your To Do pile.
An alternative to slamming yourself is to ask a fellow freelancer/entrepreneur to help while you’re away. You have to be confident in your relationship with that person. You can’t feel like they’re going to steal your business. (Oh, she makes better cupcakes than me. I can’t give my clients her contact info!) Look, chances are, your clients aren’t going to have any requests while you’re gone. Because you told them you were leaving, so they aren’t going to want to contact you. So relax!
AFTER YOU GO
Leave everything behind. Leave your desk behind. Leave your email behind. Leave your phone behind. Leave your cupcakes, your cleaning supplies, your spreadsheets, your blogs, your everything. BEHIND. The whole idea of vacation is to VACATE. Why the hell are you bringing your work with you?
The first time won’t be easy. I remember the first time I left Frankie in charge. It was frazzling. Because YGF is my baby. And how DARE I leave my baby alone with someone who isn’t me? But you know what? It turns out Frankie was a damn good mother to YGF. It didn’t burn down. My clients didn’t leave. I didn’t get hate mail. Everything moved along well. Just as it should. Trust that the people you work with actually do good work. (After all, YOU hired them. Is your judgement bad?) :)
When I leave for vacations now, I say, text me if you need me, but I probably won’t have phone service. And that’s that. I don’t do anything with my electronic devices except take pictures for Facebook and play games in the car.
So, go. Take a vacation. You’ll enjoy yourself. You’ll feel better, and then you’ll come back and be better for your business and your clients.
I really didn't. I (Frankie) didn't write anything for today's post. I'm kind of sorry, but I'm kind of not. I had to take Tuesday off because I was down with the sickness. When you work from home or for yourself, taking a day off is kind of a big deal. Andrea talked a little about it yesterday in her #tipoftheday and she's going to talk more about it tomorrow, but today I just want to say that when you work from home or for yourself and you have to take an unplanned day off, it really messes things up.
I came "back" to work yesterday and was totally slammed. I didn't have time to think, much less write a post for today. I still didn't feel 100% either so I was moving slower than normal. My house is a mess, laundry needs to be done, I had to work out and fix supper. It was just too much. So, today I'm still behind on work and housework and I have everything that is due today piled on the same plate as yesterday's work. Whew!
I didn't want to shirk my Coffee Talk responsibilities completely though, so I did hop on to write a little something. I also wanted to tell you guys to make sure you read Andrea's post tomorrow on how you take a vacation (or day off) when you work from home.
I know sometimes things are unexpected and you can't plan for them, but maybe she'll put some tips in on how you do things on a daily basis to plan for unplanned days off…or maybe that will be my next blog. Either way, I'll be reading her vacation planning blog tomorrow and taking notes. I hope you do too.
I guess I better get to work now so I can try to catch things up before the weekend.
Drop us a comment to let us know how you plan for unplanned days off.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.