Category Archives: Self Care

6 Ways to Overcome Creative Block

creative blockWhatever creative endeavor you may be involved in, whether it be writing, painting, web design or any of the other myriad creative pursuits, inevitably you will run into a creative block.

If you’ve ever tried to exercise your artistic muscles, you probably know what I mean! You try and try to come up with a great idea, but no matter how hard you struggle, nothing good seems to come up. In fact, the more you struggle, the harder it seems to get.

So what do you do when such a block rears it’s ugly head? Try a few of these tips, and pretty soon you’ll fins yourself unstuck. Onward! Continue reading

How to Start Outsourcing Work if You’ve Never Done It

outsourcingWhen you’re running a small business, it’s tempting to do everything yourself. Because you’re attempting to keep operating costs low and maintain control, you may be resistant to hiring the help you need.

But whether your goal is to grow and scale your company or to sustain your current level of success without burning out, you’re sure to benefit from smart outsourcing. If you’re a solo operator, or even if you have a small team, it’s unlikely that you have both the skill set and the bandwidth to handle all of your business needs effectively.

Outsourcing is the process of assigning specific tasks to someone outside of your business so that you and your employees have the time and space to concentrate on growing and running your company. Continue reading

3 Tips For Avoiding Burnout

man-93951_640Let’s face it, the life of an entrepreneur is not an easy one. Rest always ends up taking a back seat to the endless stream of problem-solving, brain-storming and good ol’-fashioned nose-grinding. But we are only human, and even the most robust of us will eventually crumble if deprived of moments of quietude and release.

That’s why, no matter how busy you might be, no matter how pressing the weight of your responsibilities, it is important to make time for yourself throughout your work-life to break away from it all, to find your relax. If you don’t, you’ll soon burn out.

Burnout is one of those buzz-words that has lost a little of it’s meaning through overuse, but as we define it, it’s more than simply being tired or stressed. Burnout is a combination of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that builds up over time, and is much harder to bounce back from than simple tiredness. You can’t cure burnout with a cup of coffee, it’s too insidious for that. But you can cure it, over time, if you’re willing to slow down just a little and do some thinking in advance about how you work and what your body and brain need. Stay tuned, and we’ll drop a few helpful hints on you! Continue reading

Time For a Digital Detox? How to Unplug for the Holiday Season

Seamless pattern with presents“Ah, the holidays. Time to unwind, relax, and unplug.”

— said No Entrepreneur Ever…

…until now!

If you’re a business owner who nodded along with the all-too-familiar feeling that you’re not going to get any much-needed downtime this holiday season, we urge you to reconsider. If you’re taking calls during family time, peeking at your Facebook page at dinner, opening emails while your kids open presents, poring over projects by the ski slopes, and checking stats over cocktails, it’s time for a digital detox.

We understand how important your business is to you and realize that you might not be able to shut it all down for the winder. And, yes, we know you’re wired to go, go, go. But we all need a little digital detox now and then. So slow down, be present, and give your poor eyes and thumbs a rest, will you?

Here’s how to you can enjoy a digital detox and unplug for the holiday season: Continue reading

3 Tips to Escape Your Social Media Overload

Young and attractive business woman in stressLet’s face it, we live in a world where social media is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Sure, you can embrace your inner Luddite and become a digital hermit, eschewing all forms of online social interaction, but the ramifications of that decision on your social and work lives would be dire.

Your friends expect you to be following along with their escapades online, and your clientele expect you to be responsive to the queries and needs they put forth via social media. Both expect you to be present, creating an island for yourself in the ocean of digital content. If you don’t, you risk being forgotten, or worse, actively despised for your misanthropic behavior.

So you need social media in your life. Which is fine! Social media is as popular as it is because it brings us together in ways that was never possible without it. It opened the floodgates of communication, creating an outpouring of human contact unprecedented in the history of mankind. Think about it! It is now possible to know what people are thinking in realtime, anywhere on the globe. When you stop taking it for granted, that is a bonafide AMAZING THING!!!

But being amazing doesn’t stop immersing yourself in the data-stream from being any less overwhelming. We are finite creatures, faced with an infinite source of interest, and unless we are diligent about managing how much time we spend absorbing and interacting with it, we risk losing sleep, productivity, even family to it’s seductive embrace.

Here then, are a few tips to help you escape social media overload, while maintaining a healthy and productive presence online: Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Relax — A Solamar Reminder

summer-287081_640The life of an entrepreneur is not often dictated by conventional schedules. When other people are enjoying their weekends, we are often fitting in extra work or trying to accomplish the next thing on our to-do list.

But, but..we’re too busy! Someone’s got to do it! Work now to relax later! We’ve heard all the excuses. Heck, we’ve used all the excuses and invented a few too, but somewhere along the way, we’ve learned that it is impossible to maintain an “all work all the time” pace and keep 100% of your sanity. That’s why here at Solamar, we encourage our team to take time for themselves to enjoy activities outside of their work, especially ones that also keep us healthy and fit. It makes us happy, helps us maintain focus when we are working, and stops us from going even crazier than we already are.

Of course, everyone has a different idea of what it means to relax, and we thought it would be fun to share some of the different things we Solamarites do to get away from the work day. Maybe it’ll inspire you to step away from your computer for a minute and find some space for yourself.

“To blow off steam I love to play music, either guitar or drums. It’s the only time where I feel like I have nothing going through my brain. I can truly let go. I also like to cook and try new recipes!”

William Bradford, Audio Engineer / Podcast Producer

“I love to ride my bike or take a walk… something that gets me out in nature (climbing a tree used to do it but I’m getting a little old for that ;) ). When that’s not possible for some reason, I’ll head to a hot shower where I can cry it out and let it rinse right off.”

Debbie Miller, Dir. Client Relations

“I go to the health club 4-5 times a week and spend 1/2 hour to 45 minutes on the treadmill or bike. Then, I do another 1/2 hour with free weights. I am an avid reader, which really works with my health club activities. I depend on my trusty Kindle to keep me busy when I’m on the equipment. I feel terrific when I’m done. Although, I sweat profusely in our sizzling Arizona summers!”

Sheila Stogol, Copywriter

“Well, before I had a baby, and hopefully again in the future, I used to ride my bike around Birmingham and photograph abandoned buildings and spaces, as well as local graffiti. Also, I would play keys and sing. I’m always listening to music, whether working or not. It helps me relax even when I’m not relaxing. For now though, when I’m not working, it’s baby time!”

Sam George, Graphic Designer

“I really enjoy going to see live music, and I’m also always listening to music. I disconnect in nature and love walking, especially exploring trails. More than anything, I love to travel. Exploring is really my thing… places or ideas. Learning and experiencing anything new or different fuels me. :)”

Monica Waugh-Benton, Account Manager

“I’m doing a boot camp workout 2x a week and I also workout with a trainer once a week. I also read and play candy crush daily. and enjoy Mexican food and margaritas every Friday!!”

Jill Anderson, Senior Designer

“I love doing yoga, and enjoy getting outside to play in my garden and getting my hands dirty. I also love photography and am an avid Bon Appetit reader. :)”

Amanda Goldberg, Account Manager

“LOVE hanging out with my kids at ball games. AND I love to teach classes! I teach 6 classes a week at Gold’s gym – BodyAttack, BodyPump and BodyCombat. and so far, this bump in my belly has come along for the ride… have a feeling it’s going to come out kickin’! :-) and i also love to wash the car (wax on-wax off) and clean toilets to relieve stress?! no idea why. (so when my family sees me cleaning the toilets they know to KEEP AWAY!”

Kari Harris, Client Services Manager

“Well, I’m going to buck the trend here… I HATE exercise!! The only thing I like to do is swim, but I don’t have a pool. But I definitely have no shortage of activities to fill any spare time I might have. I love to work in my garden, where I have flowers and vegetables. I also enjoy home improvement projects; I recently remodeled my bathroom, including new floor tile, wallpaper removal, wall texture and painting! I am an avid reader and particularly enjoy hard science fiction and dystopian/apocalyptic fiction. I’m also lucky enough to live within just a few miles of most of my family, so we spend a lot of time together. I’d say my favorite thing to do, though, to get “out of my head” and remind myself that I’m not the center of the universe is to volunteer, specifically with animals. I love working directly with animals—fostering dogs in my home, walking dogs, rehabilitating sick, injured or unsocialized animals. I also work extensively with animal welfare nonprofit groups, teaching them how they can use the Internet to raise money, recruit volunteers and save more lives. By serving others, I get a better perspective on my life and the world around me.”

Emily Garman, Systems + Design

Alright, now turn off that screen and get to the fun! Have your own favorite relaxation/fitness activity? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear it!

Survival Tips For The Overworked Entrepreneur

stressStarting and running your own business can be an exciting, empowering act that has positive ramifications for your entire way of life, but the responsibility entailed in such an endeavor can often lead entrepreneurs to place themselves in situations where they are handling too much at one time, pushing themselves physically and mentally to the brink.

True, you may enjoy the work (in fact, if you’ve taken on the task of creating a start-up, then I’m sure you do), but it can be a fine line between someone who works hard and someone who is over-worked. Too much stress caused by mountains of looming deadlines and lack of food/sleep/companionship can have real negative repercussions on your health, not to mention your business.

While it’s unlikely that you will be able to completely avoid situations where you need to push yourself to complete the tasks you have set, here are a few tips to help you avoid overloading yourself, and a few tips to help you make it through if you do.

Learn To Say No

It can be very hard to turn down work, especially when a business is first beginning, but before you accept a new client or job, take stock of what you already have on your plate and make sure you have time to tackle the new work with your full attention and without sacrificing vital parts of your life. Don’t cram an extra job into the spaces where you would normally be spending time with your family or getting rest. You might be able to squeeze it in if you do, but would you really be doing your best work? You should never do sub-standard work in the name of an extra paycheck. Decline gracefully, explaining that you are fully booked at the moment, and would be happy to work with them if their time-frame would allow you to approach the project at a later date. You might actually make a good impression with the client, who will see that your services are in demand.

Efficiency Saves Time, Plan Ahead

No matter what you do, you’ll probably end up in a situation where there is more work than time. When you find yourself there, don’t start your days by jumping straight from bed to work. Take time at the beginning of the day to map out your day, prioritizing the things that must be completed immediately, grouping like tasks together by type or geographical location, and excising anything that can be pushed back. You’d be surprised how much more quickly you work when you know exactly what you need to accomplish.

One Thing At A Time

As tempting as it is to multitask when you are extra busy, try to avoid it. You will actually complete each individual task faster by focusing your entire attention on it, and with better final product. You waste precious seconds by switching back and forth, and an interrupted chain of thought isn’t good for productivity. Lists are a great tool, make them, cross them off item by item.

Moderation in All Things

So you’ve turned down the jobs you could afford to, streamlined and mapped out your work process and are diligently tackling it one step at a time, but you’re still bumping up against the boundaries of your day. The impetus here is to stay up all night, skip meals, forgo breaks, and go full steam ahead in work-mode until the job is complete, but DON’T DO IT! Discuss your situation with your family, and make sure they understand that you may be a little less available, but also make sure that you schedule time to spend with them. Take small breaks every couple of hours, make time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Late hours only mean rough mornings anyway, and sustained work over a period of time without any breaks and a lack of food and sleep leads to fuzzy thinking and poor decision making. If you must, it is better to realistically communicate with your client (as much in advance as possible) about the need to push back a deadline, rather than kill yourself to meet it.