Many self-employed people have a serious problem: they take their professional status literally and literally work themselves and constantly. They don't know about off-hours and weekends, and they banned the word "vacation" from their active vocabulary a long time ago. Does this situation sound familiar to you? Then you surely know that such a state of self-exploitation can be quite grueling and even makes you sick in the long run.
If your mind is constantly spinning around your work and you find it hard to switch off and relax, then you should admit to yourself that you are exploiting yourself - and not doing yourself or your business any favours. Because there will come a time when your body will go on strike and possibly put you out of action for longer than you'd like.
Self-exploitation: what drives you?
To avoid complete overwork or even burnout, it's important to question why you're working around the clock. Do you love what you do? Or are you driven by fears, worries and doubts? Please remind yourself once in a while: Burning for what you do is great. But getting burned out on it is dangerous. So ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you worried you're not good enough?
- Do you doubt yourself or your ability?
- Are you afraid of missing something?
- Do you think work has to be hard and exhausting?
- Can't you appreciate easy money?
- Do you feel like you have to be active all the time?
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions, it could be that a negative belief system is driving you. This is a sign that you need to work on your mindset and realign your inner attitude. This won't happen overnight, but it's easier than you might think.
Self-exploitation: 5 tips for working smart
There are also a number of practical tips that you can apply immediately. Thanks to them, you won't work harder in the future, but smarter. From now on, it's time to put an end to self-exploitation, because from now on you'll master the balancing act between business and leisure with flying colours.
1. agreed working hours
It's especially important to set clear boundaries - and these start with your working hours. The best thing to do is to start setting fixed times for yourself first thing in the morning. For example, you can state that you will work from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day. Or you can give yourself a little more freedom at the beginning and say: I work eight hours a day - after that it's closing time. From when to when you actually work, you can decide flexibly. The important thing is to actually finish your work after these eight hours.
Another mindset-The trick is to make appointments with yourself, for example time for sports, meditation or wellness. Take these appointments seriously - just as seriously as your client appointments. This makes them non-negotiable and ensures that you actually keep them. After all, you wouldn't just blow off a client appointment, would you?
2. set a workstation
If you work in a home office, you should definitely find a fixed place where you work. Otherwise, you'll move your laptop from the dining table, to the sofa, to bed ... This blurs the boundaries between work and leisure. So it's smarter to set up a study or designate an area where you work. The rest of your home remains private and doesn't remind you of your work around the clock.
3. self-exploitation: check your efficiency
Do you know the Pareto Principle? It says that 20 percent of all efforts provide 80 percent of the output. So you should definitely find out which of your activities are most relevant for your turnover. From now on, focus more on these areas. You will see that you work much smarter this way and achieve more success with less effort.
4. raise your prices
If you are working non-stop to make ends meet, this could be an indication that your prices are too low. So check whether you're really happy with your income or whether it's time for a price increase. Remember, trading time for money is usually not a good deal for the self-employed. Instead, sell your knowledge or client value. That way, you'll be able to justify even high prices.
5. stop self-exploitation: redefine your target group
Your customers don't like your new working hours or don't go along with your price increase? Then it might be time to acquire new customers. Define a smart target group and think about exactly what your dream customers look like, how they behave and how you work with them. The more precisely you define your target group, the better you can address and convince them. You can find exciting information on the topic of positioning and target group here.