Last week I burnt out. I developed a ginormous bottom lip similar to that of blow-up doll only covered in unsightly cold sores. Horrid under-the-skin spots lined my cheeks, the type you can feel growing at rapid rate, forming a nasty painful lumps then take forever to rear their ugly head. I was moody and short-tempered. I felt lethargic and over-emotional, wanting to eat every white-carb in the world whilst sitting in my biggest, fattest, comfiest pjs whilst working in bed. Yes STILL working.
I’ve always been an over-thinker and though it’s a terrible trait to admit, I’m acutely impatient. I have been know to wake up around 3am, creep downstairs, open my laptop and work until the birds start squawking because I just can’t wait another 3 hours to reply to an email at a normal time ? My iPhone and the fact I share my home with my business, make finding a work-life balance tough. Object is essentially everywhere. I work from the moment my phone alarm pings, checking my emails with one eye shut. I work mid-mouthful through my porridge and whilst I’m sitting in my towel, concealing my dark circles. I work as I walk to the metro station dodging people in the street and almost getting run over by walking through a red light. I work through ad-breaks, when left alone at a restaurant table, on my yoga mat whilst everyone else in the class is practicing head stands. And sometimes, usually around the eleventh hour I start to hate my iPhone.
I’m like this because I love what I do and for that I'm so grateful, it's vital to leading happy life. However, my constant thinking about new opportunities for Object, improvements, changes, reflections, analysis, the list goes on plays havoc with all the other important things in life. 99% I feel very positive about what I''m doing, I’m running on adrenaline and buzzing about what’s next ! I'm living, eating and breathing Object, every second of the day until I burn out, again. And then the guilt kicks in of not giving other people and other aspects in my life the love and attention they need.
I know I’m not alone when I write this very honest blog about my incapability to switch-off. A work-to-live mentality has been ingrained in British culture for a very long time and it’s incredibly hard to break free from. Though I’m really going to try. This way of living isn’t sustainable, there is no balance and with no balance comes exhaustion and eventually resentment. Thankfully, I’m not at that stage but I am going to think about how to use my time in order to be more efficient, productive and take pleasure from activity that has nothing at all to do with work.
So here are the 5 personal things I’m going to try this week. If you're a freelancer, home-worker or self-confessed workaholic like me, you might find these useful too. I'd love to hear your tips on how you find balance and switch off, feel free to pop a comment in the box below.
- Dig out my old MP3 player to use for music when exercising. Also change my exercise routine so I work out in the morning before starting my work day.
- Leaving my phone at home when socialising with husband, family and friends.
- Taking one full day off per week and spending it away from home. This means no answering emails, Instagramming coffees or creating Pinterest boards.
- Turning off my phone, laptop and iPad come 8pm every night and leaving then in a drawer downstairs, out of sight, out of mind. * Note to self must purchase an old school alarm clock.
- Ensuring I take a 15 minute break every 3 hours plus a 1 hour lunch break to go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, read a few pages of my book or bake something yummy.
This week, I’m planning Thursday as my day off. I’m going to be posting a follow-on blog about what I did in 24 hours that solely belonged to me.