BUSINESS TIME: SWITCHING OFF March 05 2015, 0 Comments

When I worked full time I walked to and from the office and I found the 20 minute stroll was great for clearing my head of any work related stress (at least most of the time), but now I work from home taking the 8 steps down from my attic office just doesn't work in the same way. I find it hard to leave the office without every little job being neatly tied up, but if I did that I'd be burning the midnight oil every night. There are also those moments where I'm sat watching TV downstairs and suddenly remember there was a picture I wanted to take for instagram, and rather than leave it until I'm back in the office tomorrow, I'll run upstairs and 'do it now, before I forget again'.

Now, before any of you start thinking I'm some sort of workaholic, I assure you it's not the case. I like my free time and I strive to have a very healthy work/life balance. I work to live, not the other way around, I'm just very fortunate that I make a living doing something I love. I know it's a hideous business cliche, but I believe in working smart, not working hard. If you enjoy what you do, it shouldn't feel like work (at least not all the time). And for those days when I'm struggling to remove my head from thoughts of printing costs, and sourcing new suppliers there are a few things that never fail to help me switch off...


I could have said exercise, and that works too, but often it needs to be something I can do without having to get changed (or wrestle with a sports bra). It doesn't need to be far, sometimes I'll just walk to the park and sit on a bench for 10 minutes (like an angry teenager), but never under-estimate the power of fresh air to make you feel better when you're tired/hungover/stressed/anxious. And people watching is always a great distraction.


If there's one thing that always makes me feel better, it's being wrapped in a very fluffy dressing gown, wearing disposable towel slippers. (I'm a woman of simple pleasures). It's the combination of steam, warm water, and calming aromas that almost completely cleanses me of any stress. And when you don't have a spa to hand, a long soak in a candlelit bath always helps.


When you've had a particularly tough week, it's hard not to attach that negativity with your surroundings, it hangs around like a dark gloomy cloud. For me, the hardest thing about being freelance is working alone most days, so I try to mix things up. I spend one day a week sharing office space with friends, and roughly 2 half days at local cafes. It means I've still got people to bounce ideas off that aren't my cat, (it's only a matter of time before I create jewellery for pets isn't it?) and I find being around people is good for me. (For a start, you have to get dressed, and there are no distracting box sets lingering on the shelf.)


It might seem shallow, but making the time to put on a face mask, pluck your eyebrows and paint your nails is a great distraction. (The latter is particularly good as you can't do anything for *at least* the next half hour, whether you like it or not.) I find these things get neglected when I'm really busy, but I instantly feel better after doing them, a lot more presentable and a little more human.