How to stop working when you work for yourself

This post is sponsored by POP SECRET® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

There are so many things that are wonderful and amazing about working for yourself. Unlimited earning potential, doing what you love 90% of the time (keeping it real), no need to request vacation days, and judgement free hours listening to podcasts while you work. One of the hardest parts is learning how to stop working when you work for yourself.

Some days I actively work for three hours and other days I work for 12+ hours, literally from the moment I wake up until I put my dying phone back on the charger late at night.

It’s super cool that I work for myself, but there’s no supervisor to remind me to take a day off, there’s no work computer to turn off and leave at the office. I work on the toilet, at stoplights, waiting to check out at the store, and even during traditional office hours sometimes. There is no built in “off” button to my work.

Here’s the crazy part, though: if I was the boss of anyone but myself, I would absolutely insist that they took time off. Not only that, but I can get way more done in five solid, focused hours of work than I can with ten hour days chasing the imaginary end zone.

There will always be more to do, new things to try and opportunities to grow. But to meet these opportunities, we have to be rested and excited and recharged. Easier said than done though, right?

Give yourself permission – LITERALLY write yourself a note excusing yourself from work – to stop working.

As I’m learning how to stop working, I’ve given myself permission to do the following things:

  1. Read a book just for the fun of reading a book.
  2. Make my favorite snack and relax with a podcast or a movie. 
    One of my all-time favorite snacks is popcorn, so keeping a box of POP SECRET® on hand is a no brainer. It’s super easy to keep a box in your Amazon cart at all times so that when you order… I don’t know, sheet suspenders or coffee syrup pumps or glass spray bottles, an essential time off snack pops up in the box. See what I did there? Pops up? πŸ˜‰
  3. Take a nap.
    Set a timer, and take a 45-minute nap if your body is needing some rest. You have my permission to sleep while the world spins on.
  4. Get distracted without feeling bad.
    If I’m trying to work, social media can be the enemy. But if I’m actively NOT working, social media can be really fun. Don’t feel bad retweeting things on Twitter, watching all the Instagram stories, and pinning lots of things on Pinterest.
  5. Binge watch a few episodes of a TV show. 
    Get comfy, pop a bag of POP SECRET® and get swept away in a few episodes of a TV show. Some of my favorites are over on this post.
  6. Spend time enjoying your hobbies.
    I love putting stickers in my planner. Sometimes I spend a LOT of time looking through all of my stickers, wishing I had time to organize them or decorate my planner a little more… take that time! Whatever your hobbies are, use your not working time to invest in the things that make you feel happy.
  7. Reach out to your friends.
    A lot of my job is from my phone, so I tend to ignore any texts that come through while I’m working. That has resulted in almost 200 unread text messages. Take the time to respond to texts or send funny memes to people you love.
  8. Brain dump.
    If you find that it’s hard to not work, spend a minute brain dumping everything that you’re thinking of “to do” in your business. Set a timer for 2 minutes and. write down all the pressing things. Give yourself permission to do those when you start working again. It’s weird, but this exercise is really helpful for me. Getting things out of my head and onto paper helps me acknowledge them and save them for later.

You have my permission to stop because sometimes we just need someone to tell us that it’s okay.

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