Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Importance of Being Idle

I had an email from a friend last week who is in a similar boat to me and running her own business. She asked me how I stay motivated every day when there isn't a boss telling me what to do and when to do it by. Running a start up business on you own can be really tough and this is one of the challenges. Don't worry, I'm not about to embark on some waaah waah post about how hard life is, so stick with me...

Because actually, my life isn't hard at all.  I enjoy my job and I like all the really great things I get to do, every day is different and I decide what's what. It's not perfect obviously, nothing is, and stuff goes right and stuff goes wrong. That's okay with me.

I realised all this over one weekend a few months ago when I was idle. I am not an idle person. I like to be busy and doing stuff and if I'm in London for the day I'll cram as much as I can in and see as many people as I can. At home I like to potter around and do stuff, and fiddle and faff about. All the time. 

I've always done this. I work all day, sometimes amazingly productively, sometimes not, but I'll always be trying. I work in the evenings and I work weekends (although I do try not to do this all the time). I once made my husband spend an entire Sunday sorting out receipts. I tried to make it fun. It wasn't. 

Anyway, so I saw this feature on Maria Forleo's website a few months ago and thought I'd give it a go. The title was "What to do when you doubt everything + don't wanna get out of bed". Pretty compelling. 

We all have days when we feel blah about everything, whatever job we're doing, I know this! But one of the really challenging things about running a business that you've started from scratch is doubting:- doubting yourself, your abilities, your decisions, your choices etc. It affects your motivation because all the doubt drains your focus. And you need focus to get stuff done. 

So, Maria's advice is basically don't get out bed. There is clearly a reason you feel like this and you're probably burnt out. Well, I have to get out of bed because I need to feed the dog and then take him outside (you don't need details).

But then I spent an entire day doing nothing. I was on my own and I completely switched off. It was amazing. I slept, drank lots of tea, watched rubbish TV, took the dog on some nice walks and didn't go near my computer or study or workshop all day. It was relaxing and lovely and the day after I was raring to go again.

I often hear or read about how we are so plugged these days - to our phones, computers, ipads, ipods - it's all so distracting. So I told my friend to take the day off away from everything and see what happens. 


  1. I have been reading similar sentiments lately - slow blogging, being unplugged regularly, slowing down. I wonder if it being summer has been the motivation in part? I suppose that doesn't matter - what does matter is behing idle at times, just being.