There is nothing worse than knowing you have a deadline to meet with a project and you are just “off”. We have all been there. You can’t focus, your creative genius just doesn’t seem to want to come out and play. And then the panic sets in, because it HAS TO GET DONE. You have a choice to make at that point. You can either try to push your way through it, which I don’t recommend – or:
- You can communicate with your client. Pick up the phone and explain you need a bit more time. It could only be a day or two that you are adding to the project deadline. I tend to tack on a buffer of 2-3 days to my projects just for this purpose. There is the “hard” deadline the client expects you to meet, and then the “soft one” that is in your head, where you know there is some leeway. I have found that communicating to your client right at the beginning and letting them know in advance, rather than missing the deadline and then trying to come up with excuses – that is what will really damage the relationship. When you work virtually, a big part of the client relationship is about trust. So keep them in the loop and see how good it feels to just take a breath and know you have more time.
- Take a walk. I enjoy my walks with my dog so much. He is this little guy, 16 pounds and is always sooooo happy to go anywhere with me. I have a man-made lake by my house and they recently redid the path around, making it a perfect place for Buddy and I to go and just unwind. Being in nature is really an amazing destressor.
- Call a Buddy. When I worked from home full-time, I had a list of other VAs and web designers who I could connect with during the day. It was my life-line. I could either chat about the weather, or ask their opinion on what I was currently working on, or struggling with. I always came away from the conversation with something that made me feel better.
The bottom line is we are human. I don’t know about you, but I like to portray myself as having my shit together, but that is NOT always the case. I do NOT have an “S” on my chest, or a red cape. I am talented, but I am not Wonder Woman. I need rest, I need to eat properly and I also need to take breaks. Making time for yourself should never be placed on the back burner. If you don’t take good care of yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. And as much as your clients count on your, you need to ensure you can put your best foot forward by taking care of YOU.
So that is my post for today. Recognize you will have good days and bad days. Stop thinking the world will stop spinning on its axis if you don’t get something done. Make time for self-care. Like the quote says, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”