As a small business owner, you’re somewhat used to being a little off-center, and you’re probably pretty good at rolling with things as they change. But with so many things up in the air right now, it’s a good time to be extra intentional about incorporating structure and self care into your week in order to stay sane.
1. Create a dedicated workspace.
Often it’s easier to focus on work if you can associate one spot in your home with work. Whether you temporarily use a guest room, a corner of your living room, or a specific spot at your kitchen table, dress the space up with a few simple items to make it feel more like a desk: a coaster for your coffee, a notepad for jotting down to-dos, or even a small plant. And if you’re using a space that you still need to pull-double duty (like a kitchen table), just pack those items up at the end of the day and store out of sight until the next day.
2. Define a work day that works for you.
Are you someone who needs nine-to-five days to stay sane? Or is it more realistic to split your day into shifts to create blocks of time when you can help the kids with school? It can be really easy to feel all over the place and like you’re losing time, spending so much of it at home. So it may help to create a schedule that you can use to guide you throughout the day. Consider what makes the most sense given your situation and create a schedule you can use as an anchor, knowing that you can make adjustments anytime you need to. Some days it may all go out the window, and that’s okay! You’re doing the best you can, so just start fresh the next day.
3. Connect with your people. (And find time for yourself.)
Being social looks very different right now, but it’s still important to feel connected to friends and family. Just like creating a work schedule, pick a few times during the week (or even just one time!) that you can devote to spending virtual time with friends and family. This can be weekly FaceTime calls with your BFF, a Zoom happy hour with a few of your faves, or maybe find something fun online from a favorite small business to send to a friend as a surprise. Also, make sure you’re setting aside some time to do something for yourself that has nothing to do with being productive or doing what you think you should be doing right now. Take a bath, bake something, watch a great TV show, sit outside and listen to some music—just do something you know will make you happy.
4. Get some fresh air every day.
Whether it’s a quick stroll around the block after lunch, a long walk to clear your head after a long day, or just a quick stretch outside your front door between tasks, getting up for fresh air has endless benefits: it energizes you, makes you more resilient to illnesses, and relaxes you.
5. Make tangible changes to your environment that cue “non-work” hours.
Right now, most of us aren’t walking out an office or shop door to signal the end of a work day, so it can help to implement some small rituals that provide a distinction between the workday and “off hours.” Some ideas: Close the door to your home office, light a scented candle, dim the lights, turn on music, spend time with your pets, find a cozy corner to sit with a cup of tea, etc. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, but rather what it represents: No more workie.
6. Ask for help. (And provide it when you can!)
It may feel hard to ask for help when you know everyone is cycling through constant ups and downs. But you just might find that someone is having a surge of strength when you are struggling, and is more than willing to give you a hand. As the saying goes, it never hurts to ask! And when the situation is reversed, it will probably feel really good to be able to do the same for someone else.
Anytime you’re feeling down or frustrated, ask yourself what would help you right now. Sometimes that’s stepping away from your computer, and sometimes that’s getting something done so you can cross it off your list. Both answers—and anything in between—are valid, so do what you need to do to feel better. And hang in there!