Hello from an airplane over Utah or some other state! My husband and I are on our way to his college roommate's wedding in Dallas, and couldn't be more excited for some time off together (although....this will probably be posted a little later, so, yea. We may be in Dallas now...*side note,* if you have any recommendations for food, drink, etc. mention them below, or on our instagram!). I know it's been a hot second since I picked this journal series back up, but things have been busy, I've been cramming in extra work to prepare for this weekend away, etc. etc. bla bla bla. So, greetings from the air, and here is part FOUR!:
Technology is a beautiful thing. We’re able to run our businesses from our fingertips, check in with our clients and find inspiration for projects with just a couple clicks. But with that, it has also made our accessibility almost unlimited. Our job never stops. I’ve found myself waking up in the middle of the night to check an email or to write something down for a project on my phone. The instant connection we have with our inbox, social media platforms and more, creates a disconnect with our most important relationships and human interactions. Let’s be real you guys, we all check our Instagram way too often, and I know there’s times we are with our significant other or a friend, scrolling through articles, or facebook, or emails. What’s up with that?
When we disconnect from our lives to connect to our devices, we increase stress and place higher value on our work than our friendships, marriages and life experiences.
When you’re at a friends house or on a date with your significant other, don’t check those emails. The more genuine quality time you’re able to create for yourself is what instills resilience in your life. You’re able to turn it off, unplug, and work hard when you get back to the office. You have the self-control to turn off notifications while you’re out, not check that post, and not scroll through that article. This will make you a better friend, wife/husband, and a better business person. With how easy it is to check in on a project or write a couple emails, we have become crippled with bad discipline and lacking skills in interaction and vulnerability. The foundations of our businesses need to be built with self-control and discipline.
For me, unplugging is incredibly difficult. I’m sure this is true of everyone who is an entrepreneur, service provider, freelancer, etc. There’s demand, things are busy, and clients don’t always follow your business hours. There’s constant problems to be solved and questions to be answered. I’ve found that when I am able to turn it off and not check in, my problem solving and responses to my clients come much easier. I’ve had time with friends and family, God, and time alone and I’m feeling refreshed.
So how do YOU implement this?
Once my business started ramping up, I set up my business hours. Monday - Thursday 10am to 4pm. I am, most weeks, still working seven days a week, late nights, etc. but I rarely check my emails during off hours and days. I’ve also put up the boundary to never answer any work emails after 7pm. It’s crucial to not let your clients believe you’re accessible at any time. Some responses need time to stew. I want my clients to treat my business like a business. Not getting involved in too much of me as a person, how stressed I am, etc. I think there’s definitely a time and a place to be vulnerable and to show your followers or clients that you are in fact a human, you make mistakes, you have pets, a husband, a house, etc., but immediate accessibility blurs those lines a little too much. I would like to say that I’ve figured out this work/life balance thing, and I don’t work 65+ hours a week, but that’s not the truth. This is a season, you may be in a season, and we have to work ourselves to the bone sometimes. I don’t think that’s wrong. Once I let that affect those who are most important to me and my relationship with God, then it’s time to regroup and redefine boundaries. So, for now, put work aside for a couple hours, go to that dinner, don’t reschedule, meet up for coffee. It’s not going to make your business combust. It will all get done.
To be honest, I basically owe my business to Instagram...it’s free advertising! It’s amazing! But it’s time to start putting more value on my/your life and human interactions, and in order to do that, we need to take time to unplug. Draw a circle around your life, your family, your relationships. Don’t let your business and your devices penetrate that circle and overtake you as a person. It’s not going to be easy, but it is going to have such a huge affect on every aspect of your life and business.