I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I updated my website,
designed one for a client, began work on another site of my
own, edited an eBook, launched a chapter of a local Moms
group, put together an article syndicate… and came down
with the flu.
Once again, I tried to cram too many projects into too
little time. I skipped meals, slept poorly and paid the
price with three days in bed. At my age, you would think I’d
And I do know better. Back in the bad old days when I was
an employee, I was able to pace myself. There were others
with whom I could share tasks. There were scheduled lunch
breaks. There was that guaranteed weekly paycheck. Sometimes
it sounds like heaven on earth.
But in actuality, my old job was a long way from Eden,
especially after my daughter was born. I spent my days
obsessed with time — mentally calculating the point when
the L.A. traffic would make it impossible to get from the
office to our daycare provider before closing. And all the
while, what I really longed to do was be at home and watch
my little girl grow.
The idea of working at home was very appealing, if only for
the stress relief.
Two years later, I have a growing home business — but
surprise! I’m still playing Beat the Clock – only now
running against Megan’s preschool schedule… and I’m just
as stressed now as I was then.
“How can that be?” asks my incredulous husband.
For one thing, it’s a different kind of stress.
Experts list money problems and uncertainty among the things
that cause anxiety in people, and if you really need to net
x-amount of dollars from your home business, you can expect
to experience both. Losing the comfort of that weekly
paycheck is a major reason more people don’t choose to be
entrepreneurs, and I can assure you they have a point. I
begin each month by staring at my revenue spreadsheet,
wondering if this will be the one when nothing comes in.
Then, when I’ve made some entries and it starts looking
sort of good, I worry that the pace won’t keep up — or that
the next month will be a dud.
However, as nerve-wracking as that can be, if you feel
trapped in a situation you hate (as I was in my former job),
feelings of helplessness can set in… and that’s not only
stressful, but can plummet you into depression.
The anxiety I experience over money woes is more than offset
by how empowered I feel because I’m doing something I enjoy.
I write, I publish, I design, I network, I learn new things
every day… and I get paid for it! (Well, most of the
time. And if the money is slow coming in, there are always
things I can do to try to drum up a little bit more.)
The fact that the success or failure of my home business
rests entirely on my shoulders adds to my stress-level. But
at the same time, it’s exhilarating — and is what drives
me and other home-based entrepreneurs to take on too many
My three days in bed were actually a delight. I didn’t even
turn on my computer and did little else but watch old movies
on television. It’s a shame it took a little sore throat and
fever to force me to slow down — and now that I’m back on
the job, I’m determined not to let it happen again!
Here are some tips to help you (and me!) get off the
frustrating cycle of work-binge and rest-purge:
1. Set regular work hours… and stick to them!
2. When work-time is over, turn off the computer. Don’t
3. Get some exercise – it not only helps rid your body of
the symptoms of stress, but it clears your head and gives
you the energy to work more efficiently.
4. Get out of the house! Take a walk, go to the mall,
indulge in a designer latte.
5. Pamper yourself – Get a haircut, a massage, a manicure or
buy yourself a little something special. Do this at least
once a week and enjoy.
6. Make a playdate with your kids.
7. Make a playdate with your partner. (No, not your work
partner! Unless that really appeals to you…)
8. Read a book for FUN… or see a movie. Whatever you like,
as long as it does not relate to your business.
9. Catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
10. Consider the time you have and use it wisely. Just say
no to extracurricular activities that do nothing to
advance your family’s well-being or that of your
Will I be following my own advice? Yes – but not all at
the same time. Two or three of these a week can make a lot
Now, if you’ll excuse me — I’m off to Starbucks for that