I am run a micro business and I do nearly everything in my business. I am slowly but surely getting some help with the business; in the last twelve months I have outsourced my bookkeeping, taken on a virtual assistant and get help with my social media. But I still struggle with delegating tasks, so I wear most of the hats in my business and it’s full on.
I often think that sole traders and micro business owners are like super heroes. They do everything. They are amazing at working in the business; and then they put in these super human hours and work on the business. I have so much respect and admiration for small business owners.
But we are not invincible. And I learnt that the hard way this year when I agreed to help manage a great and successful project that was not part of my core business.
I agreed to take on this project in February and the project got properly underway in June and was at its most frenetic in September. I am pleased to say that the project was hugely successful and it brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. So it wasn’t a bad thing, it’s just that it took me time away from my main game from June to October. And I was completely exhausted by the end of the project.
It was one of those times when I got distracted by shiny objects and flattering comments. I thought I was super human, that I could manage to take on even more work and responsibility. I thought I could do everything.
But I know that I didn’t manage this project as well as I could have because I was constantly juggling my other responsibilities – such as running my own business and spending time with my family.
By once again saying yes and agreeing to undertake work that was a distraction to my main game, I put at risk my goals and aspirations.
But what was even worse is that it affected my sense of well being and it impacted on my health. I have spent the last three years practicing self care. I now have a number of non-negotiables in my life such as running/walking every day, making sure I take a day off each week, going to bed early and eating nutritious and healthy foods.
By taking on this non-essential project, I put all of that risk and by the end of September was starting to feel terrible. I became tired and stressed out again. In the last six weeks of the project I barely ran or walked at all. My diet suffered because I have so little time to prepare food. My stress levels were up and despite being exhausted I couldn’t sleep. Suddenly my non-negotiables became negotiable again.
But at the end of the day I have no-one to blame but myself. I should never have said yes.
I love to work. There is no doubt that l am a workaholic. But even workaholics have their limits and I just reached mine.
The good news is – I’ve learnt my lesson. I won’t do that again. My non-negotiables are firmly back in place and I am able to sleep again.
None of us our super human. We have to look after ourselves. No-one can do it for us. We have to set our own boundaries, our non-negotiables for good health. We have to protect ourselves from ourselves. And we know that all superheroes have their kryptonite.