Recharge and Restart

Recently I had a whole week that I could easily have written off. I achieved nothing (in my eyes).

Home school took a lot of my time. I provided support to children, trying to look after their mental health as well as academic understanding. Flitting between office, dining table and desk, desperately trying to fit in a small amount of work so that I felt I was still taking part. Our Assistant Manager was thankfully on hand to take care of things more than I could. I found very little time available to produce more content for the Making Space Work website and although I’d planned to continue with the novel I’ve been working on for the last year, I did very little on that either. I was frustrated, angry and agitated. That desire to give up, to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat in trying to manage all these projects was overwhelming.

Running a small business has meant this was by no means the first time I felt the desire to walk away. That sounds lacking in commitment but that is certainly not the case. In the early days of Spotless, we knew little about what we would need to do to build our client base, look after our staff, create our brand etc but at the same time the excitement, the drive and interest pushed us through all the periods of concern and the questions. Then, after a while, maybe finances were squeezed, maybe we struggled to recruit the right people, maybe there were more questions and difficulties than answers. We started to feel the pressure from working so many more hours than we had hoped to. There has been more than one occasion where we have discussed whether or not the right thing to do was to continue. I am sure that many business owners, if they are truly honest, have had those same conversations. Even if only with themselves. Even if only within their own head.

Then why continue? For so many reasons. The desire to make a difference, to provide a service or a product that others do not. To be able to combine home life flexibly with work. To provide jobs for others. To be your own boss. I’m not very good at being told what to do if I am honest, not that I was ever necessarily a difficult employee (to my knowledge). But whilst the stress of sometimes not being aware of what you do not know, is tricky to overcome, I embrace the prospect of being able to take this ship in the direction we see fit. This is our creation and is something we are passionate to continue with. Our service is different. We choose not to follow anyone else.

My failed week reminded me of these other times I have considered just giving it all up. Retreating to a life of guided and restricted employment, where I got my evenings back. Yet I knew inside that that was not even going to be an option. I took the weekend, did very little with my time and considered what to do next.

It was clear that I couldn’t give up on any of the people or projects taking up my time. Just like we would not really have closed the doors on Spotless when times felt tough. A commitment had been made. Not only to ourselves, our clients and our future but also a commitment to our staff. Our business model works and is a success and that is what we came back to time and time again, when we were out of steam. In the same way, this current situation is not without the possibility of success.

To restart, I began by clearing my physical head – my office. There is no doubt that a clear and organised work space can have a profound effect on mindset. This is part of the driving force behind the de-cluttering and design work that Making Space Work offers. So I started with a little work on making space for myself. I then made plans for the week based upon pockets of time that I anticipate being available for work. There are no guarantees, no set in stone timetables to work with. Instead I am earmarking the space to work on these projects and hoping for the best.

I hate the idea of time wasted and I think that was the overriding disappointment of that week. I had wasted time and I had so much left to achieve. I have faith in Making Space Work, in my writing and still in Spotless. These all deserve my time and that is what keeps me going. I am now going to refocus. One wasted week does not mean the children will fail, it does not mean I should give up these projects and it does not mean Spotless is not important. I admitted defeat and stopped over the weekend. Now I must restart, as I have done before, as many business owners do. I wear a wristband that says that ‘Tomorrow is a new day’ and if I keep my eye on that it can be, it will be.

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