As a designer in love with your brand, it’s not surprising that you’re immersed (or should we say, obsessed?) with every aspect of it. In fact, that’s typical behavior for any designer starting out. You dream of your brand, work on your brand, talk about your brand; your brand is everything to you. 24/7. As it should be.
Or should it?
Chances are you’ve seen a lot of discussion about work/life balance. Instead, we’d like to talk to you about something that is more realistic and achievable: work/life harmony. Work/life balance implies that both sides can be equal; that you’re striving for an even 50/50 split. 50 percent of your life will be devoted to work, and 50 percent will be devoted to your personal life.
We contend that goal sets up most designers for failure. 50/50 work/life balance is something that’s almost impossible to do when you’re creating a new brand or designing your next collection. And that’s okay. What is achievable however, is work/life harmony.
If you feel less than satisfied with your personal vs. your work life – and believe us when we say a lot of designers do – here are actionable steps you can take to change that. Starting right now.
Guess What? You are Only Human.
There’s a very human tendency to look at others and think, “Wow, that person looks like they really have their s*&t together. Why can’t I do that?” It might help you to realize that almost everyone feels overwhelmed at times and this person you are admiring probably does too! We encourage you to put that comparison aside. As a human being taking on the huge responsibility of starting a business or developing your next collection, “overwhelmed” just comes with the territory.
Accept the fact that you currently feel overwhelmed; it is not a shortcoming or a character flaw. Realize that feeling will change. It’s quite amazing, the relief that happens when you just trust time to do that thing that time always does…it moves along and alters your situation. In other words, “overwhelmed” is not your forever state of being. Things will change.
Yes, Even YOU Deserve a Break.
What a radical thought, right? But a bit of a break, even a three-day weekend, can work wonders. Long hours and lots of pressure can exhaust even the most enthusiastic of designers.
A three-day weekend can help you recuperate and let you focus your energies on something you love, other than your brand. Sometimes people don’t even realize how much they miss their hobbies, friends or family until they take a well-deserved break. There’s a good chance you’ll look around and say, “Oh yeah, I really love hiking with my dog! I can’t believe how much I missed doing this!”
Give yourself permission to take that time and hike with your dog. We promise you, your dog will love it. And your business will not fall apart in the meantime.
Which leads us directly to our next point.
Trust the People Around You.
There’s a tendency, especially when you’re starting something new and much-dreamt-of, to think that you must handle everything yourself or it won’t be done right. Just like you wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic you don’t trust, or heaven forbid, leave your child with an unreliable caregiver, we know this same thought holds true for your brand.
It’s a very common and almost-but-not-quite-reasonable fear. Some pre-planning at the outset can, and will, alleviate this stressor.
It’s not magic, and the answer is actually very simple. Hire people you know are great at what they do. Look for experience and trustworthiness. Vet them thoroughly, and don’t hire anyone that doesn’t fit. If you are confident in your hires, you should be comfortable enough to let them do what you hired them to do. Anything less is “micro-managing,” which is NOT a good use of your time. Nor does it create solid relationships with your staff and vendors.
In other words, hire people that are amazing, then get out of the way and let them do their jobs!
Here are a few other ways to help you achieve work/life harmony:
- Rethink the Rushing. On the days you know there is a lot on your plate, just set your alarm a little earlier. Knowing you’ll have a little time to yourself in the morning (for maybe a hike with man’s best friend?) can help start your day off on the right foot. Even if it feels like it, sometimes hitting the snooze button three times is NOT the right answer.
- Limit Distractions. You know that little button on your phone that silences it? We recommend you use it. Give yourself permission to not answer every call or text the second it comes in.
The digital age we live in makes every outside request seem urgent and in need of an immediate response. Guess what, that’s simply not true. Set a specific time aside to answer calls, texts and emails. Put it on your calendar if you need to. And let others know that you’ll be doing so. The “overwhelmed” feeling we talked about earlier comes from NOT feeling in control of your day. Limit your distractions and you will feel more in control of your digital world. It’s a great and actionable place to start.
- Listen To Your Body, It’s Talking To You. Brain fog, unexplained tiredness in the middle of the day, sleeping too much or too little, agitation and anxiety, upset stomach, headaches, muscle soreness, over-taxed immune system…the list of the ways that your body will “talk” to you goes on and on. And we promise, if you don’t listen it will never shut up.
Do you need to take a walk around the block? Do some yoga stretches? Eat a nutritious midday meal instead of drinking another cup of coffee? All of the above? Listen to your body when it tells you what it needs. You’ll be glad you did.
Burnout is a real thing. And you won’t do your business any favors if you push yourself to that inevitable point. No one can burn the candle at both ends forever. Not even you! Put some of these ideas into practice, you’ll see that work/life harmony is achievable. Then you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Speaking of finding a trustworthy partner, we’d love to talk with you in more detail about your brand and your unique challenges. Feel free to reach out to us at https://tegintl.com/get-in-touch/ or call us at 800-916-0910.