The new year always prompts me to re-evaluate everything. Throw out the sofa, change the wall color, and update my schedule. This year I have been thinking more than ever about the balance between work and home. When you start a business as a passion project and it turns into a full time job, there is always a feeling of “being on.”
I am working on intentionally balancing life and work more fully in 2013. I say this knowing I will never be perfect at it; in fact I don’t think it is something anyone can be perfect at. Life is messy – throw in a couple kids, and it begins to bring chaos. Building a business is messy and not everyday can or should look the same. So instead of setting out a strict schedule for myself this year (which always fails anyway), I’ve decided to focus on incorporating mantras into my life.
A mantra is simply a short, easily repeatable statement that you want and expect to be driven by. There is no hocus-pocus to this – no chanting at the sky. They are just simple phrases that I’ve written down and plan to look at daily, weekly, and monthly. They are less strict than a schedule, so I don’t have to chastise myself every time work bleeds into the home because of a heavy deadline, or a sick child bleeds into work time. I have found mantras to me more powerful in propelling action and change in my life.
1) Profitable and Sustainable
This was the first mantra I ever used. My husband thought it up when we were first starting out and encouraged me to paste it on my work notebook. As an artist, I often get lofty ideas and grandiose dreams of what I would like to accomplish. I often found myself frustrated by the lack of results that showed up in my work. At that time, Matt encouraged me to focus those huge ideas into simple projects that would be profitable for me, and sustainable for my readers to accomplish. It was genius, and it revolutionized the way I blog. It has since become our complete business mantra – incorporating everything we do. We even tagged our Business of Blogging course with that saying. It is a powerful and effective mantra for any small business owner.
2) Castles Will Not Build Themselves
This mantra is primarily for the purpose of managing my afternoon times at home. I care for our kids every afternoon and handle a lot of the household responsibilities in that time. I can easily get overwhelmed that my list is too long and the kids just want to play. I start to panic a little inside, but have found that sitting down to simply play on the ground for 10 minutes accomplishes so much! You can build a princess castle out of Legos in that time, read 3 books, solve a puzzle, and even stitch up a baby-doll! I found that most of my anxiety with the kids comes from thinking they need all of my time and attention. I’m learning that simply sitting and playing for short amounts of time can accomplish a lot for them and for me.
3) Orderly Living Leads to Original Work
I posted a quote a couple years ago where I shared this mantra in complete form. It was a time when life felt the messiest for me and I noticed a profound (negative) effect it had on my work. I know some people claim to work best in chaos, but that is not me. I work best in order. If my home is in order, if my bills are paid on time, if my supply room is stacked in perfect form – that is when I find myself being the most creative and doing my best work. When there are toys strewn about, and my water gets shut off because I forgot to pay the bill (true story), I cannot focus on work. I cannot create because the part of my brain that is creative and original gets eaten up by the part that is hyperventilating. It is such a great mantra for me to remember daily. If I take care of first things first, then I am the happiest I can be and can produce my best work.
Have you ever tried using a mantra to guide your plans and schedule? What words or phrases have you found helpful along the way?