Dealing with Burnout

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the load

Pop Quiz: Are you feeling a little snappy (or a lot) with friends, family, and (ack!) even clients? Are you exhausted every day? Do you feel like you’re running in circles for hours, but aren’t getting anything done? If you answered yes to these, you’re probably suffering from business burnout. A Gallup Survey says that 45% of people who own small businesses like ours say that they are very stressed, and that’s 3 points higher than any other profession – including police officers and fire fighters. Whoa.

When you’re an entrepreneur – or even a solo-preneur – this can cause huge issues in your personal and professional lives. If you’re in a creative business like interior design it’s even more of a problem because studies show that creatives lose motivation quickly if they are worried or burned out. That can put you into a tailspinning emotional cycle of worrying about business, then losing motivation, then stumbling in your business, which causes more worry, and on and on.

So what can you do? First, recognize the signs. If you’re burned out, you’re going to be exhausted, not just tired. You’ll feel negative about everything, and you’ll feel like you’ve lost your passion for your business. You’ll probably have trouble sleeping and getting anything done, and you’re probably not in a great mood. And the worst part is, you won’t be able to turn off your brain as it worries and worries and worries. Yep, that’s burnout.

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Here’s what you need to do, even if you feel like some of what I’m going to suggest is counterintuitive: You’ve got to stop everything. One hour. One day. One weekend. Give yourself some time to stop the madness. If you’re worried about how your business might survive, you’re probably saying “yes” to everything, including a lot of things you should say “no” to. Don’t let fear drive your decision making. That is only going to add more stress and pain later.

You need to delegate more. And yes, I can hear you saying that you can’t afford it. But really, you can’t afford NOT to delegate or outsource. You can’t do everything – it’s impossible. So even if it’s just handing your invoicing off to an accountant, or having an intern run errands, you need to get some help. And take it a step further and just eliminate a lot of things altogether. Be honest about what really can go, because I know there are a LOT of things on that list that you and your business will survive without doing or delegating.

Then you need to get a time management system in place. I’ve talked about this a lot in this blog – it’s critical that you get yourself organized, and use your time very effectively. And lately I have been realizing that it’s not just time management but energy management that is key. So as you plan your schedule, do your most important and profitable things first BEFORE you get tired and stressed each day.

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Are you seeing a pattern yet? I’ve just given you three ways to get things off of your plate to give you the space and time to take that hour, day, weekend, or (even better) a week to stop and get your energy back. It’s impossible to feel passionate and excited when you’re actually mad and resentful of your business. You will never be at your very best if you’re exhausted, unhealthy, and depressed. That’s a fact.

Running a business is hard work. Really hard work. It’s almost like running a marathon, and you would never do that without being sure that you’re in the best health you can be, would you? No. You have to have your head in the right place, too. You won’t be able to think strategically or to plot a great course for your company when you’re tired and stressed.

I want you to put that phone down, shut down your computer, and go outside and play. Literally, if that’s what you like to do. Go breathe some fresh air, or go to a museum and enjoy the gorgeous art, or go have a glass of wine with friends and laugh. Or be calm and read a book or get a massage. Whatever your heart desires!

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Even if you imagine the very worst thing that could happen in your business, it really isn’t that bad. Some of the most famous and respected people in business have failed miserably – sometimes over and over. Face that fear and then let it go. The world won’t end if you allow yourself to step off the hamster wheel and have a day off to deal with your burnout. After all, you started your business in the first place to allow you to live the way you want to. But you aren’t really living if you’re nose-to-the-grindstone 24/7 every single week of the year, are you?

Be kind to yourself! You’re doing the best job you can do with the tools you have today, and that’s huge. Recognize that and give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Ask for help if you need it, get some exercise, rest and recharge. It’s really worth it to take that time.

Now I’m going to take my own advice. This week I am taking a little “stay-cation.” I’m getting my family and our things organized before we move back in our home soon, I’m relaxing a bit to keep burnout at bay, and I’m having some spring break play dates with my daughter right here in our own town…fun!

So until next time, xo,

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Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Reading and Learning (and a book list!)

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Many of you enjoy my Saturday posts, that for me are all about living a beautiful, healthy, and happy life. One of the ways that I constantly engage in living my purpose and finding joy in the day to day is through reading and studying. So if you want to do the same, here are a few of my favorite recent reads. Not all of these are new books, but to me, they are all remarkable and definitely on my list of must reads!

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Rising Strong by Brene Brown

I am a HUGE fan of Brene Brown since reading Daring Greatly a few years ago. I then fell in love with her research through her amazing TED talk on Shame (it’s currently been viewed over 6 million times) and her appearances on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Still, I was hesitant to read this book at first. Mainly because I thought it was for people who had experienced great tragedy or loss and had to rise from it, and I didn’t really identify with that. Boy, was I wrong. This book is about rising out of the defeats and challenges that come from taking risks and growing in everyday life. I found the first couple of chapters harder to get into than Daring Greatly but I soon found myself unable to put it down.

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The Charge by Brendon Burchard

This book by Peak Performance coach Brendon Burchard is inspiring. It’s a study of what drives us as humans and how to create a regular practice that helps us squeeze the most out of our lives and relationships. If you want to have a zest for life and deeper connections with friends and your partner or spouse this book will tell you how. If you want to feel like you are living a SUPER-charged life everyday, don’t miss Brendon’s road map for that kind of life all spelled out in The Charge!

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The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Another FANTASTIC book by Brene Brown, this one was written back in 2010 yet I felt like it was written yesterday. Of all Brene’s books I’ve read, I think this was the most life-changing for me. In fact, it just moved up to my top 5 books ever read and it could possibly be #1. If you read my Saturday’s Secret Sauce about Finding the Courage to be Imperfect, you know that I am starting to understand that Perfectionism isn’t an either/or but something we all have in different degrees. Well I was encouraged to find that Brene’s research proves this same idea. This book is a life-changing look at how we can all deal with our personal challenges and insecurities on the path to living what Brene calls a “Whole-hearted” life. If you read nothing else, read this book!!

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Carry on Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

One of my Besties, Kim,  introduced me to this book at the beach last Summer and I read it about 24 hours. Now I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Glennon’s next book to come out this August. This astonishingly frank book is about one woman’s struggle with every vice and issue you can imagine. And it is like a breath of fresh air, especially when you find how she was (and is) living a messy life (like we all do in our own ways), while all the world was looking at her and thinking she had the perfect life–a happy family, she’s a real beauty with a handsome husband and seemingly perfect and gorgeous kids, she comes from a great family with supportive parents–how in the world could someone like this have problems? But you have to read this book because she does, just like we all do. Plus follow Glennon on Instagram to see how she navigates a messy life with humor and beauty. You’ll love her!

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Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-life balance by Matthew Kelly

How many of you are trying to balance work and life and failing (or even failing miserably) at it? Yep, I know. It’s impossible right? I love this book that in some ways lets you off the hook because Matthew Kelly tells us how (thankfully) there is really no such thing as work-life balance. I have suspected this for years! But what he does help us do is define our priorities and learn to manage our energy to get the most of our days which I now agree is far more important than managing our time!

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I hope you enjoy these great reads.  I am certain that in my life, reading and learning are the Secret Sauce for making me all I am meant to be and keeping me sane in the process. And thanks to these books and others, there are now many things in my life I have stopped doing. But there is one thing I will never stop doing…Learning!

Happy Saturday friends. I wish you a relaxing day of staying in your PJ’s and reading all day long!

xo,

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What Is That Color? The Perfect Backdrop

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I love working with color – in fact, I’ve built quite a reputation for my bright and bold color choices. But what people don’t always realize is that those fearless color palettes are often presented against a neutral background. That’s a strategy I use a lot because it gives the eye a place to rest, and it makes the colors I use in fabrics and accessories pop even more!

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For this guest bedroom, my color-loving clients wanted something perfect for guests that was both vibrant and relaxing, which isn’t easy to create. I decided on classic navy with pops of punchy coral. I absolutely love these together. A bold color like coral can be warm and inviting, but a little less than restful in a bedroom if you’re not careful. So I used Sherwin-Williams Relaxed Khaki on the walls to tone down the palette and to provide the best backdrop for the fresh navy and coral combo.

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If you’re nervous about using color in your home, this is a great trick to use! Start with a neutral wall and floor, and build your color in through fabrics, lamps, pillows, and smaller items. That will let you experiment until you find the right balance of brights and neutrals for you and your family!

Colorfully yours,

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New House Diary: Wired Up

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New House Diary

Fabrics, paint colors, new appliances, furniture – designing a new home is so much fun! But the not-so-fun parts of remodeling aren’t the ones that most people talk about, and they’re probably more important than what color you’re painting your walls. That’s all the more mundane stuff like plumbing and wiring. They may not be “fun,” but I can promise you that they can make or break how you feel about your home once you’re really living in it.

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As you start to talk about the electrical plan with your builder/contractor, you really need to think about how you use your home. Where will you need task lighting? How much light do you really need in each room? Do you need a fan or a chandelier? As you can see in the electrical plan for my new house, I also think about where dimmers will help and where the switches will be located as you enter the room. Even whether you need vents in a room can really help how that space will function for you! And what you can’t see on this drawing is that we layered in the AV and speakers on top, too. Placement is key to not ruin a big wall for furniture or artwork or interrupt the ceiling for a clean and simple look.

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Yes, those are the new cabinets in my kitchen waiting for the window to go in! But what I really want you to pay attention to are those wires hanging down below the upper cabinets – those are for my under-cabinet lighting. Since I bake and cook so often, I want a lot of light over my cabinets so I can really see what I’m doing. Planning that out ahead of time to give me the best kitchen for what my family and I want and need is key. We’ve also decided where outlets need to be located in the kitchen for small appliances in the kitchen and I put those under the cabinets too. I don’t want them to interrupt my gorgeous new tile backsplash that will soon be installed.

Outlets are key for function in my daughter’s room to charge her electronics, and in rooms that will have TVs too. And putting outlets inside the lockers in our mudroom so my husband and daughter can keep all their clutter inside and charge gadgets in there too is important to me since I am the neat freak in the family. Yes, carefully thinking out all the times you will want to plug in an iPad or laptop or even the vacuum cleaner is important before you install cabinetry, wallpaper and lighting fixtures that might prevent outlets in the perfect places.

You really need to do a virtual walkthrough of your home before all the work starts, imagining where you want the light to be, where an outlet is critical, and where a fan would really help. And then several more through the course of the construction in case you forget about anything. Those details will make you love your home even more when you move in – which I’m going to do in just a few weeks! Can’t wait to show you the finished looks!

xo,

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Counting Couch Cushions: One, Two, or Three?

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Shopping for a sofa – also known as a couch – can be exciting and confusing. There are so many gorgeous choices out there that it can be hard to nail down just what you want or need. Today I’m going to talk about the one question I hear most from clients about sofas: Should the sofa have one, two, or three seat cushions?

The easiest answer is that it depends on how you use it. So as we look at what makes each of those seat-cushion options different, think about how you and your family really use the seating to find the perfect fit for you!

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.25.22 AMIn the project above, I used a three-cushion sofa, and a four-cushion version.

Three-Cushion Sofa

If you have a lot of family members, this may be the choice for you. Having three (or more) seat cushions helps define a seating area. People are more comfortable sitting next to others on this cushion arrangement because everyone has a “place.” It also is great for those who have small kids and pets – if there are messes or stains that need to be cleaned, you can flip one cushion or remove it to be replaced or cleaned. That’s harder to do when you have a one- or two-cushion sofa. Three or more pillows are also better for extra-long sofas so you don’t get sagging or loose fabric on the cushions.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.07.02 AMCR Laine’s Brentwood Sofa, with three seat cushions and three back cushions.

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In the project above, I used a two-cushion sofa with low arms and a camel back.

Two-Cushion Sofa

If you entertain, think about how often you’ve seen three people sit on a sofa together at a party. Not very often, right? While that’s comfortable for family members (unless your kids are fighting), it isn’t usually something that guests will do. So a two-person sofa is perfect for entertaining. And if you’re a two-person household, this makes a great choice for watching TV or reading – there’s a larger space for each of you. But if you have a napper in the family, this may not be the right selection for you since a person’s hip might sink right into that gap between the cushions.

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CR Laine’s Fisher sofa, with two seat cushions and two back cushions.

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I loved using a skirted sofa with one long bench cushion in the project above.

One-Cushion Sofa

I really like this look – it’s also known as a bench cushion, and it is a modern but still nicely tailored look. This makes a smaller sofa look bigger because there is one long line at the seat. It’s perfect for lounging and napping since the long seat doesn’t have any gaps at all.

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My Julianne sofa for CR Laine comes with a single bench seat in a tufted or untufted version. Here it is in yellow leather.

No matter which seat cushion choice you decide to buy, be sure to pay for the very best fabric and pillow construction you can. After all, this is where your family will spend the most time and you want to get the most out of this hard-working piece!

xo,

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