Best Practices for the Self-Employed Part II: Balance

I just wrote a post about keeping good business habits when you work for yourself. Now here’s the other side of that. Here’s how I stay balanced and limit stress:

 

*Get in at least one thing for me each week. 
Don’t be a martyr. When you constantly put yourself last, you suffer. Maybe not at first, but after a while, you’ll have a breakdown that will affect your work, your relationships, etc. This is a huge problem for a lot of women because we tend to put ourselves last. A lot. I’m not saying drop your work and your family and go hit the road like Thelma and Louise. I’m just saying the world will not stop turning if take some time for yourself on a regular basis. I try to do something for myself each week. Take a ballet class. Take a yoga class. Go climb at the gym. Read my favorite magazine on the couch for an hour. Grab lunch with my best friend. ANYTHING that’s meant for my enjoyment. It’s something I get to look forward to and keeps my stress levels down. I notice it when I’ve lagged on this for too long.
 

 

*Work on the plane on the way out of town, read my book on the way back home. 
I travel a ton, so there are plenty of flights each month that I could make productive. It’s an ideal space to work in; nobody hounding you, no internet (usually) to distract you, no phone buzzing every few minutes with messages or emails that slow you down. On the other hand, I love books. I love to read! It’s one of my “things” and the plane is an ideal spot to catch on my book of the moment. I don’t want to only work on flights, or only read and not accomplish anything. So I have a new rule: work on the outbound flight(s), read my book on the inbound one(s). Two birds. One stone. Ami’s happy.
Like I ever have that much leg room…Except for my twice a year 1st class upgrades. via

 

*Don’t overfill my schedule. 
When you’re self-employed, you kind of have to take work when it comes your way, just in case of an unexpected slump (e.g. the Recession) so you tend to overwork yourself. Burnout is BAD though! It’s very evident to everyone around you when you’re burning your candle at both ends. Clients might pity you at first, but when you’re constantly in that state, they may eventually start looking elsewhere for somebody who can handle themselves, and their schedule, better. When you’re burnt out for a prolonged period, you can actually start repelling business. Keep things at a manageable level! It’s good for your business, it’s good for YOU.
This is hilarious. Don’t hurt a seal though. Via

*Have at least one sleep-in day per work week. 
I get up most days of the week at 5am and travel most weekends. Sleeping in until 7am makes a HUGE difference. I learned a long time ago that my body doesn’t work on just 6 hours of sleep so I need a full 8 hours to feel good the next day. If I have to go to sleep at 9pm every night, my personal life takes a hit as well. Not that I need to be out partying every night, but I need to be able to hold an adult conversation past 8pm, so I have to balance it out and not take on so much so early.
What do you do to keep a good work/life balance?

Read Part I here.

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Getting Better by Sleeping Better – There’s an app for that

It’s no secret that getting good sleep on a consistent basis is imperative to maintaining your health and a strong, well-functioning body. But do we get enough sleep? And of that, how much of it is quality sleep?

When you sleep, your body rests and repairs itself. You replenish your energy stores,  repair any broken down muscle tissue (important for those training hard for sports performance and endurance races), and your hormones level out. When you’re consistently sleeping poorly, your body can actually decline in strength and start to break down. Your body can also produce more stress hormones which we all know we could do without. Like we need more stress on our bodies…

So many people strive to be “fit” and “healthy” but the most popular goals of those hitting the gyms are the following; decreasing body fat, increasing visable muscle tone, and increasing their performance. They wanna know about higher numbers on the weight stack, faster times, and lower numbers on the scales. And they’re willing to do a lot of work to get there… in the gym. But they miss out on a BIG chunk of their health: getting adequate sleep. And don’t even get me started on those peeps that keep pounding these energy shots with 6 times the normal amount of caffeine to “feel better”, “workout harder” and “have more energy”. GET MORE SLEEP! Better Sleep! But how do you know how well you’re sleeping?

I’ve got a great app that helps to track your sleep quality/quantity to give you a better understanding of your sleep patterns and therefore a better handle on your sleep quality.

In turn, you sleep better,
 you train better, 
you FEEL better. 
Introducing
Sleep Cycle

I’ve actually had this app for a while now,
 but have just started using it consistently. And I dig it.
(You could say it’s my new jam)

First, you let it know what time you need to wake up: 

Then you lay it down on your bed, face down, next to your dome. 

While you snooze, it tracks your movement, 
how long you sleep, 
and when you’re in deep sleep zones. 
Then it wakes you up when you’re in your lightest zone
so you don’t feel like ass when you get up.
(Not feeling like ass is worth the $.99 this app costs)
It also has Sleep Notes
for you to track your day’s behavior 
that may influence how well (or how shitty) you sleep. 
This is my graph after I had two glasses of sweet tea the other night
at a Christmas dinner (blame it on the South).
Notice how I NEVER hit deep sleep. 
I tossed and turned all night long. #toomuchcaffeine
You state how you feel when you wake up:

And it charts it all out for you.
You can see how you’ve done over the past few nights/weeks.

Sorry, couldn’t rotate this one. Head tilt! 

Track your sleep for a week or so and see what you do to get better sleep
and also how much better you feel when you do sleep well.*

You never know, you may feel so good you’ll wanna
go bust out some yoga splits on a mountain top somewhere.

via

Or just not feel like ass.
Either way…

Try it out! Good luck : )

*Helpful hint: 
When you don’t have to be up until 5:30, but it wakes you up at 5… DON’T hit the snooze button because you’ve “got more time”.  ’cause you’ll go back into deep sleep. And then you’ll feel like ASS when it goes back off. Kinda defeats the purpose, ya know? (Speaking from experience on night 4 #Doh). 
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Summin’ It Up


So far this week I have:

* Said one thing while teaching cardio class while I did another (way too many times to count…)
*Washed and dried an entire load of laundry then realized I never put in detergent (fitness clothes so I can’t really let that slide. ew)
*Not returned several emails because I got them while driving and forgot to return them while I was at my computer at home.
*Let Tango outside and then completely forgot about him for an hour. In the rain. He hates the rain : (
*Had two cancelled flights and one delayed (that may still get cancelled, waiting for the email). Continental Airlines sucks.
*Gotten food poisoning. Brutal food poisoning. While traveling.
*Went the wrong way in NJ and accidently got on the bridge to Manhattan. The $8 toll, which I didn’t have (because I’d already paid out my cash to the 57 other toll booths) will now be billed and sent to my car rental place, which in turn will charge me $25 for. It’s happened before. Pumped.
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. Now for the good stuff:
*Had a dinner date with hubs last Wednesday.
*Taught 2 amazing groups of instructors in my TRX certifications this weekend.
*Got to climb a couple routes on the climbing wall in the gym that hosted one of the TRX cert courses (before the brutal food poisoning).
*Saw my BFF in the Norfolk airport for 30 seconds (it’s better than nothing).
I can’t wait to spend the next 3 and half weeks on the ground, out of the sky, and at home with my family and friends.
And getting my head back on… Cheers, Ami.
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Check Out Time: 9am

Do you ever have a day when you feel like you just need to check out for a few hours? Today was that day for me. I had a couple big things pop up that just completely overwhelmed me, and that I really didn’t feel like dealing with.
I trained my first couple of clients early then had my next couple cancel because of sickness. I came home at 9am to do some work, only to find that our internet still wasn’t working (after two days). I grabbed my purse, Tango, and hit the road. Drove 2 hours southeast to clear my mind and hang with these two lovely ladies for a couple hours:


Christy on the left, Jenn in the middle.
Photo 1: Them sticking their feet in my face because they know that feet gross me out more than anything in the world.
Photo 2: Me: being grossed out more than anything in the world. Them: utterly pleased with themselves.
Both photos taken in college, after a day in the park.
Thank you, friends, for a fabulous check-out day. Even though you suck at photo-taking-niceness, you rule at keeping me company and being awesome. Today helped.
I’ll be back to my normal, in-control self tomorrow. G’night.
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