To the left to the left

Running your own business is immensely fulfilling, but it can also be tedious. You have no weekends, no public holidays, no annual leave. You will probably never retire, and you can’t quit or walk away when you get frustrated or bored. You worry even in your sleep, because there is no boss or subordinates to blame when things go wrong. The buck starts and stops with you.

But I’ve realised that getting a breath of fresh air is easier than you’d think. All you have to do is shift positions, change direction, step to the side.

Think about your pre-business desk job. When you felt drained, all you had to do was facebook for a few minutes [only a few minutes mind you] and your mind would be alert. You’d find some long-forgotten picture tag or some silly new game, and suddenly you’d be smiling through your chores.

In running your biashara, the same rule applies. I’m not recommending you go hang out on facebook; you can end up spending a dangerous amount of time there considering there’s no annoying boss to stop you!

I simply mean you should change tasks. When you’re running your business, you generally handle everything from finances to door-to-door sales. Even if you have employees to do all this for you, you find that your eye is all over. After all, this is your baby.

And this is where the trick lies.

If you’ve been dealing with difficult clients all day, take a break and look through the books. If you’ve been filling out your tax returns and your eyes are swimming in numbers, stop for a second, pick up your cell phone, and make a courtesy call to a client.

If you’ve been shaping up the code on your website, jump to the comments page and work on your response. If you’ve been taking inventory at your warehouse, run to the computer and work on the receipts. All it takes is a simple sideways step.

I’m not very good at multi-tasking [actually, I suck at it. I can’t even talk and skate at the same time!] and I’m (usually) a very focused person, so I like to finish one task before I move on to the next. I’ve been working on an editorial assignment all day, and after 12 hours, the full stops were starting to look like commas, and the small caps are lost in the text. I thought about taking a break to read a novel, but I figured I’d never stop. I looked at the pile of laundry and the dishes in the kitchen [I’ve nothing left that’s clean!] but that didn’t hold much motivation.

So I started to think about the other assignments that are due today, and took a break to do a little writing. Four articles later, my mind was refreshed, my deadlines were met, and I could do my editorial work easy peasy.

Granted, this may not be possible with all businesses, but if you stretch your mind far enough, you can find a slightly different section of your work to take your mind of things, even if it’s as basic as shifting from counting your thousand-bob notes to stacking your ten-bob coins…

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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