I love what I do at Big Fat Soap, but being a sole proprietor is hard work. One of the reasons I choose to be self-employed is so that my work schedule can be flexible. What a great plan! You may be thinking . . . but reality is when you work from home and are Director of Everything, like me, you tend to work far more hours each day than a typical American employee – 7 days a week. Orders must be filled and shipped, supplies must be inventoried and stocked, marketing and sales tasks must be done, forecasting, reports, planning, follow-up with customers, and on and on it goes. It is truly never-ending. Add to the equation, the personality type who feels guilty sitting down to read a book or relax in the garden during day-time hours, and you have potential trouble.
A friend I’ve met recently—also an entrepreneur—gave me some valuable advice: You MUST take a day off. This is not negotiable. I’ve been replaying her words in my mind and I know that it is important, but I haven’t been able to heed her advice until . . . one day I got the message.
Not immediately, because I tend to be rather stubborn when it comes to messages.
Ten days ago I was hurrying through my kitchen responsibilities to slice some green onions for tacos and well, I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but I had an incident with a very heavy, sharp knife. A trip to ER and a heavily bandaged index finger later, reality began to set in. How would I get my work done? It’s just one finger, on my non-dominant hand – no big deal. Oh how wrong that reasoning was. I’m very aware there are MUCH worse things that others suffer from daily. I’m lucky! But I didn’t feel lucky. In fact, after only a few days, I was a bit depressed. And the idea of one hurt finger causing this, only depressed me further.
Every task, it seemed, was overwhelming: Tooth flossing? A twenty minute endeavor. Shower? Just the prep alone, wrapping hand and finger in plastic, ugh. And the actual washing and shampooing part? Double-ugh. Trying to type emails, absolutely exhausting. Cleaning up the kitchen? Too much effort to bother. Weed pulling or egg-collecting? No way. Soapmaking was out of the question. Day after day I fell farther behind. So I resorted to something I’m not proud of, I took naps. I rested. And then the guilt set in. Until yesterday, nine days into my plight, when I realized that what I actually needed all along was rest. I was tired.
Now that my finger is healing nicely and I can actually type and wear a rubber glove (a necessity in my line of work), routine tasks are becoming less of an ordeal. What a relief.
I hope I remember the lessons learned: Slow down. Take time off. Nap. That’s an order! Also: When slicing green onions a small knife will do.