The Starship, my online community for makers and artists who want to become their own business expert, is open right now. It has access to all of my classes, a 24/7 forum where you can ask your questions, a weekly live chat where we hold you gently accountable and give you immediate feedback, and an Accountability Partner Program, where you can be matched up with an accountability partner. Check it out here: https://taraswiger.com/starshipbiz
Now, I’m just back from time offline, and I’m following it up with family visits and the holidays, and it’s hard to get back to work, you know?
I’ve found it’s very easy to slip back into just doing the daily grind, doing exactly what I was doing before… but motivation is a bit harder to replace.
So how do you get back to work after taking time off?
You’re going to need a break in your business. It’s unavoidable. It’s part of being a human being, in a fallible body. You’ll need to step back or scale down when you’re sick, when your family is sick, or worse.
But when you need to take a break, when something important happens in your life that needs all your focus, it’s easy to take the short term view, instead of looking at the long view of your life and career.
The short view is: This thing came up, I need to deal with it- I'll put everything in my biz on hold.And look, I get it. When something sideswipes you, you go into short-term problem solving. And that makes sense for extracurricular activities. Maybe you quit book club or you stop teaching Sunday school. Maybe you cut back on expenses like stash enhancement or kit clubs or eating out.
But if you're serious about your biz- then it is not an expense to cut or an extracurricular. It's a part of your income and your mental health. It's the thing that brings you joy or peace or a sense of self-reliance. It probably challenges you & pushes you, but if you want to have it in the future, you gotta take the long view.
Because I want a thriving, smooth, full-of-ease business.
And I want a life. A thriving, exciting, space-to-do-my-thing life.
Having systems in place, allowed me to take last weekend off and drive 5 hours to the nearest beach (and the adorable Charleston). I didn't have to worry if things were going to ship late or students were going to get their details for the class they bought. I could go, knowing that the important stuff was done and the immediate (seeming) stuff could wait.
Systems = Containers
Working on my systems provide me with containers (this is Cairene's word, and I love it). Containers of time, containers of space, containers for doing all the tasks and processes. This (shipping) goes there (Wednesdays). This (spinning) goes there (afternoons).
I like to think of containers as the baskets I keep my yarn in (I probably got this from Cairene too). I can move them around, I can rearrange the contents, but the basket holds what I need it hold until I'm ready to come back from it. And it keeps my studio from becoming a yarn-covered mess.
When something has a container; a start time, an end time or a ritual to usher it in or out; it has a boundary. It isn't a sprawling never-finished mess of muck. It has a space, a time, and a little container to hold it when I'm done.
I need boundaries to start and stop or I would just be an endless loop of doingdoingdoing while nothing feels done. Without boundaries I would answer emails as soon as they come in and never get anything done. Without boundaries around my writing time, I'd let interruptions keep me from finishing a post.
The boundaries, the containers, the systems, they give me confidence.
Confidence that if I move this container over there, it will still get done.
Confidence that if I take this weekend off, everything won't fall apart.
Confidence that emails will get answered, yarn will get made, posts will get written, orders will ship.
What kind of containers and boundaries do you have in your business?