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How to be a good boss to yourself

When you own a business, you are your own boss. Even if you have board members or shareholders to report to, it’s likely that you are still the one in charge of your day to day activities. So, how do you make sure that you are an understanding and benevolent leader when it comes to yourself?

That may sound like a funny question but as a solopreneur, I sometimes lament that my boss expects an awful lot from me. I work during many of the hours that someone who works for an outside entity might have off. I do take advantage of my flexible schedule to carry out some thrilling tasks like grocery shopping but I also smack talk to myself if I take the time to linger in the frozen section longer than is absolutely necessary.

I expect a lot of myself and often forget to give myself the credit and praise that I’d expect from any other boss.

If you are a tough boss to yourself, too, here are some of the ways I’ve come up with to ensure that I won’t one day storm out of my office and quit which would leave my business high and dry:

  • Give yourself a reasonable schedule. I have set work hours and have stopped having the expectation that I will work during every free moment in the evenings and on the weekends.
  • Give yourself a reasonable amount of work to get done daily. I now choose a few top tasks that I need to get done each day and focus on those. Anything else is a bonus.
  • Give yourself breaks, days off, and a couple of weeks of vacation every year. I no longer expect myself to work through lunch and if I notice my mind wandering, I get up and take a walk. I’m also getting better at taking time off during school vacations because I’ve noticed that my kids keep growing and getting older and I realize that they won’t be mine for that much longer.
  • Play hooky every once in a while–just because you can. You work for yourself so take advantage of that every once in a while and go do something you want to do just for fun. A daytime movie while the kids are at school comes to mind…
  • Pat yourself on the back or tout your accomplishments to someone who will. Review your accomplishments periodically and treat yourself to a small reward for a job well done. Or post your successes on Facebook so you’ll get some acknowledgement. And, don’t feel weird about this–we all need kudos for the work we are doing.

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