Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears Present

The Boss of You

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Lessons in self-care

November 13th, 2009 by Lauren · 2 Comments

I hope it will come as no surprise when I say that we don’t always live up to the standards we put forth in our book. We’re human, after all, and although we believe passionately in creating and celebrating new models for success, not every day at Raised Eyebrow is a banner Boss of You day. Some days get away from us; there are times when balance escapes us; and of late there have been more than a few occasions when I’ve found myself feeling more than a little hypocritical that I wrote a whole chapter on how entrepreneurs need to treat themselves like valued employees, while I’ve been tiring myself out, pulling evening and weekend shifts in an attempt to keep from being swept under by my workload.

This isn’t a “poor me” post, though. Rather, it’s intended as a note to myself for future reference, and I hope some of you may also find it useful.

Last weekend, during one of my aforementioned extracurricular work sprints, I got a message from Emira suggesting that I take a day off this week to make up for some of the overtime I’ve put in recently. I might never have come up with that idea myself, so I’m grateful to her for putting it to me. My particular brand of workaholism leads me to lose all perspective about what’s really urgent and important — I find that at a certain point, everything feels urgent and I have trouble seeing an end to the to-do list.

But I knew when she called me that she could see I needed a break, and I took it. Better yet, Wednesday was a holiday, and I took today (Thursday) off as well, so I had two days off in a row, midweek.

It has been a revelation.

Not since my last vacation have I felt so centered and clearheaded. I spent most of yesterday dozing away the sleep deficit I’ve been building up (along with the nagging sniffle & cough that have been lurking around me), but this morning I woke up with an energy and a sense of purpose I haven’t felt in several months.

Here’s why this is important: I know that tomorrow when I go to the office, I’ll make better decisions than I would have made two days ago. I’ll be more patient with clients, colleagues and myself; I’ll have a clearer sense of priorities; and if all goes well, I won’t have any clients tell me I look like I just rolled out of bed. (This actually happened on Tuesday. Not my favourite thing to hear.)

Aside from that last, somewhat facetious comment, all of those things are very good things. They’re things I think everyone I work with would prefer to see from me on a regular basis. So I need to remember this feeling I have right now — and the next time I find myself drowning in work, I hope I can also remember that taking one day out of the office can have extraordinary results.

OK, future self? Hear that? When you’re working too hard and you think you can’t possibly afford to take a day off: Take a day off.

Tags: Our Story · Thoughts

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sarai // Nov 13, 2009 at 10:15 am

    This is a very timely post for me. I have been working myself silly recently even though I know that’s not the life I strive for, and I really feel like I’m cheating myself. But these things happen. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to take this crazy month of crunch time as a lesson and reminder to keep coming back to the center.

  • 2 Stv. // Nov 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! And you know how I’ve been trying for like, 5 years to work only 4 days a week? Well, I’ve been doing that now for about 6 weeks, and man, does it make a difference – I get *much* more done while I’m at work, and feel overall less stressed & relaxed outside of it.