Currently I use two Amazon wish lists. One for my business and one for myself. I’ve mostly been using the business wish list to keep track of the things that I want to get down the road and the things that I’ll need in the near future. But, when I stop to think if I’d be just as happy receiving something for my business as I would something for me personally, the answer is definitely yes. Especially if it’s something my business needs or could really, really use or wouldn’t be able to get anytime soon but would make my work-life much easier or is just plain cool. (I think that’s everything on the list!)
For a long time now I’ve been trying to decide whether or not I should combine my business and personal wish lists into one master list of awesomeness or keep them separate. It would be handy to keep them separate, so I can link to the appropriate one depending on the situation. But, I wonder if the business list tends to get skipped or overlooked because it’s the business list and that’s no fun. (Totally not true, but someone could think that!)
Maybe this all seems self-centered and egotistical and what-not writing about getting gifts and managing wish lists and linking to them (and maybe it is), but this whole dilemma is an example of one of the biggest things I struggle with on a daily basis: the separation, or lack thereof, of my business and myself.
I live where I work and I work where I live. I often say that my business is me. And when a recent visitor to my booth asked if I was the maker, I replied with my arms stretched wide, “This is me.”
The jewelry I create comes from somewhere within me and is influenced by my personality and experiences and everything that makes me who I am. There is no denying this entanglement and that is how it should be. I believe it is the maker that gives a piece of jewelry it’s soul. Without that connection the piece is flat, empty, and average. With it, it sings out to you, because it is made with love, heart, and passion. (Maybe cheesy, but it’s true.)
The difficulty comes in separating my business life from my personal life. I continuously struggle to draw a line between the two, and most of the time it just does not seem to exist. I have a workroom with a door I can close and a do-not-disturb sign that says “Working” for when I really need to concentrate. However, it’s only effective when I can use it, and I spend much of my work time stuck on the couch because I’m sick with a bug (like today) or because of my Fibro. Inevitably, my work creeps out into the living room and the lack of separation stresses me out until I get everything put back where it belongs.
The door to my workroom can also provide some mental seperation, but total mental separation from my work? Just forget it! It seems like my business To Do list is always rumbling around in my brain. But even when it’s not and I’m doing something totally non-business-related, a new design concept or business idea will just up and pop into my head out of the blue!
And when it comes to shopping for jewelry tools and supplies there is no such thing as separation, because it’s my work and I love it.
And there, I think, is the key to the dilemma. I love what I do.
I think if I hated my work or was neutral about it or even just liked it, I’d be able to leave it behind. I might go so far as to think about it outside of work, but I certainly wouldn’t be letting it intrude on my personal life. I know this because I used to work those jobs and I never brought my work home (at least not physically). I now realize I’ve been blaming working from home for the lack of separation, and although it may be a factor, it isn’t the core issue.
The “problem” is that I love my work, I am passionate about it, and I am determined to succeed. Because of this, I’ve made choices allowing it to intrude on my personal space and time. I now realize I’ve let the line between business and life be blurred and that the stress from it is all on me.
Wanna know something funny? Now that I’m aware the stress is my own doing, I feel less stressed! I think it’s because this is stress I can control. This isn’t some big stress the universe put on me that I’ll never be able to get out from under. I feel like the whole long struggle for separation is finally over! Now I can just work on fixing it.
From now on I’m going to try and work harder to create separation between my business life and personal life where I can. I’ll continue to use and create physical boundaries and space, since they have been effective in the past, and work on being more disciplined in taking time off when scheduled. And, when I take time off, I will work hard to actually take that time off and not let the business stuff intrude or let myself get sucked back into it. Even if I’m playing catch-up. Even if I get an email or message or text from a customer. (Eek! Sorry! 🙁 ) Even if I get a super huge order with rush shipping. Well, maybe there’s one exception!
In the end, I think both you and I will benefit because I will be able to do a better job for me, for the business, and for you. 🙂
Now that I’ve had my long-rambling, tangential epiphany I can get back to my original dilemma: Do I leave my wish lists separate or combine them? To be honest I still have no clue. Do you know what I should do?