When Owning a Business Sneaks into Your Free Time
Last year I was proud of myself for taking a full week off from my therapy private practice in May (don’t worry, I took other vacations last year, too). Given we were still in the pandemic, I intended to have a lovely staycation.
It was until I was in the middle of my vacation that I realized everything I was doing was to prepare me to return to work.
I wanted to get a massage because I wanted to heal my body from all of the sitting I do as a therapist. I also wanted to prepare for the sitting to come
I scheduled extra time with my therapist because I knew my schedule would be too full for it later.
I printed relevant articles to read about art therapy.
Even my idea to have “no plans” on my vacation was because my days were normally so planned-out and packed with my business.
Every decision I made was in the context of my private practice. It was almost as if I spent my vacation preparing me for battle. It was a sign that I was on the verge of burnout.
Owning and running a business is an extremely demanding endeavor. It takes our time, effort, energy, money, and much more. However, I didn’t want a business that was ALWAYS an extremely demanding endeavor. Here I was, one year out from starting my business and it still felt demanding.
I didn’t even realize how demanding my business was until that vacation when I saw that even my scheduled break was about work. I paused to reflect on my work days and weekends. Yes, even my personal time outside of work was centered around my business.
I thought I had done a good job of not taking work home (no emails or notes and such after 5pm), but my work crept into my personal life in a subtle way: it was the locus for all of my decision making.
After a work day, all of my decisions were still centered around work:
I should exercise because I’ve been sitting all day.
I should take a bath in lovely silence because I’ve been listening to people all day.
I should prepare my clothes for tomorrow.
I should call that person now because I won’t have time with my full day tomorrow.
Everything was either recovering from the work day or preparing for the next one.
Once I saw what I was doing, I knew I didn’t want to live like this. It was what led me to restructure my private practice and start honoring my own needs. It didn't happen all at once, but it started with the realization that my business had taken over my personal life.
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