It's been awhile, hasn't it?
While I could go on and on all day long (and turn this post into a self absorbed novel that I am 100% sure no one would finish reading) about the why I have been absent, I'll boil it all down to this: LIFE! It does happen folks! And I decided to write this post about how I cope with the life struggles that happen and how it affects my business in hopes of possibly helping others when their own struggle gets very, very real.
Problem #1: Demanding Clients:
It can be quite a challenge to stay on top of your own business, blog and social media when you land a client that simply demands all of your time. As this recently happened to me, I can speak with certainty and say that a client who sucks your time like a demon sucking your soul leaves you with very little energy or desire to maintain your own livelihood. Maybe this client pays really well or maybe the project is expected to go a long time (thus ensuring a steady income). Either way, when the client starts to pull you away from other clients or your main business, it's definitely time to evaluate the relationship.
What You Can Do:
First and foremost: BREATHE! And then, once you've caught your breath, reevaluate and prioritize. It might be time to let the client know that you are only going to put in X hours or to cut them loose completely. It's also possibly that by reevaluating the time and energy you are putting in, you find a way to Tim Gunn it (aka "make it work") and everything will fall into place. In the event that you do need to end the relationship with the client, do so with grace and logic. Above all, remember that this is their time as well as yours and they chose you for a reason. Don't burn the bridge completely, just walk away from it.
Problem #2: Every Day Life Has Piled Up:
The laundry hasn't been done since Summer camp ended two months ago, you can't remember the last time you cooked a meal AND did the dishes in the same night. The dog looks at you with dread when it's time to go outside because you always forget him in the back yard and your kids homework pile looks like the desk of a CPA during tax season. Guess what? I was quite literally just there (except the dog part). And the more it all piled up, the less I wanted to do anything about it because overwhelm had already set in. Add in the actual work I was needing to do and a complete meltdown when my laptop decided to betray me with a hard drive crash and I basically just decided that I quit at life.
What You Can Do:
Honestly? There's no easy way to say this: Suck it up Buttercup. It's time to make a plan and actually follow it. Part of my problem was my unhappiness with planning. Disenchantment may be a better word actually. The planner I was using wasn't cutting it, no matter how I decorated it, and the last thing I wanted was to actually write out that laundry list of to do's. But it had to be done. If I was going to save my sanity and not get fired by every client I had (as well as fired from my position as mom, friend, girlfriend and otherwise loyal human being), I needed a plan. Like, yesterday. So I changed out of my three day old yoga pants and took myself to the one place where everything just feels better: Target! I bought a monster sized Day Designer and hauled out my planning supplies. Once I had all the important stuff (school and work schedules, events, birthdays, holiday events, etc.) in place I could actually start building a real plan again. Seeing it all written out like that was indeed daunting. But it gave me new motivation to tackle it in batches and finally get some of this crap off my plate. For good.
Problem #3: Relationships:
Starting and building any new relationships takes time. And because of the time needed to be put in other tasks, people, work, etc. tend to be overlooked during this building phase. Two months ago I found myself in the midst of a new ersonal relationship, ad though I was definitely enjoying building together, my work and the rest of my personal life was suffering for it. It's easy to want to spend all our time doing the fun things in relationships. From play dates to date nights, when we focus on getting out and about, doing something fun with someone we enjoy being with, we tend to completely forget the work that is suffering for our decisions.
What You Can Do:
Like problems 1 & 2 above, prioritizing and listing are your friends when working on rebuilding your work life. In theory, the people you enjoy spending time with will be understanding should you simply tell them you have to get your life back in order. You may not realize it as it happens, but these relationships can also cause overwhelm because they enable you to ignore the things you should be doing. No one who loves you wants to see you fail and by spending all your time with the people you have relationships with, you are setting yourself up for just that by ignoring your responsibilities.
The moral of the story?
Take back your life! No one is going to do this for you. If it's too much to think about all at once, enlist the help of family and friends. Get hubby to start a load of laundry while the kids to the dishes so that you can get a blog post drafted. Get a planner and start listing. Make a goal sheet and refer to it often. It's never to late to start again, even if it's been awhile!