When you’re dedicated to running a business, sometimes it can feel like you're going through the motions without any down time for your personal activities, interests or passions. Yet that essential me time is so important for de-stressing, opening your mind to new creative ideas, and bonding with the ones you love. We chatted up one of our favorite lifestyle bloggers, Los Angeles-based Erika Carlock, to answer the question: What would you do if you had more me time?
Erika is a busy solopreneur who manages a shop and a blog and all the creative aspects behind those businesses. She recently got hitched (to her HS sweetheart!) and loves taking weekend trips around the Los Angeles area, including Joshua Tree where they are currently renovating a new home.
This is the first year the newlyweds will be filing joint taxes and in order to get more me time this month, they are enlisting the help of TurboTax experts so they can focus on doing what they love most — traveling and following their passions.
In this video, the couple head to one of their favorite destinations, Palm Springs, to get some sun, bike around town, admire the mid-century architecture, and just escape from the day-to-day. “There is a good food scene in Palm Springs, so we explored some restaurants and checked out some historical houses, like Elvis's Honeymoon Hideaway Suite Botanical Gardens,” says Erika. Check out their dreamy getaway below!
Want to find more practical ways to take back your me time? Here are tips for finding your solitude away from the grind.
Schedule in self-care. Scheduling time for self-care will guarantee that you take the time you need to rest, recharge and make space for creative thought and inspiration. Add meditation, yoga, running, walking, whatever you like to do to self care to your to do list and calendar. “I'll add to my calendar to go get my nails done or get a massage where I schedule in my me-time so it's a part of my day,” says Erika.
Prioritize healthy relationships. Saying no to obligations or people who don’t serve you is more than O.K. Instead, make time for your healthy relationships: give your BFF a call midday or plan a night out with your S.O. so you can unplug from work. Erika loves to go out to the movies vs. staying in. “We literally go to the movies once a week just to have some time together, some us time,” she says. Ultimately, more me time with the ones you love will reduce your stress levels and enhance your performance.
Ask for help. Many entrepreneurs have a hard time asking for help or knowing when it’s time to bring on help. But finding an expert who can help manage some of the tasks you don't have time to get to will help you devote your better skills to your business (while creating more time for self-care). TurboTax experts can relieve you from the stress of taxes and file for you, so you can do… anything but taxes. With the TurboTax 100% expert guarantee, an expert will do your taxes from start to finish so you can relax and focus on building your business.*
Create a morning routine. Erika uses her morning to reset creatively and set intentions before diving into the day-to-day of work. “We have a small patio in our yard in LA and I love to just spend like 15 minutes outside being surrounded by nature, maybe planning out my goals, reading, or just scrolling through Pinterest to get inspired for the day,” she says.
Unplug on weekends. It can be easy to always be on when you work for yourself but it isn’t always healthy. “On weekends, I try to do creative work that is fun or inspiring to me, like creating mood boards, but I'm not going to open my laptop on the weekends. On weekdays, I’ll book a yoga class at 6:00 so I’m forcing myself to unplug,” says Erika.
Take an actual lunch break. Sitting at your desk all day can increase health risks like heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Erika and her husband work at home together so they make sure to have lunch together. “My husband likes to say that he's the sous chef and I'm the head chef. He does the chopping, and then I plan the whole thing and put it together,” says Erika. Cooking together and then having midday conversations can not only strengthen your relationship but also leave space to destress from work, clear your head, and even problem solve.
Take micro breaks too. “I like to take micro breaks throughout the day and get a little bit of a burst of inspiration,” says Erika. That could mean making a cup of your favorite warm drink, stretching or just closing your eyes and breathing. “I’ll make coffee and figure out what is the best use of my time. I always want to prioritize how to use my time wisely.”
Get organized. That brings us to making lists and scheduling out your days so you can take breaks. “Every Friday I create a schedule for the following week, so that I can tune out for the weekend and then be ready for Monday,” says Erika. She blocks her day too for technical work and then schedules her creative time and photography based on the light of the day.
Leave the office. Activities, events and travel related to your work can help you feel creative and inspired. “Traveling is one of the ways that inspires me a lot. I went to Mexico City a few months ago and did a bunch of architectural tours with one of my favorite architects, Luis Barragán. It was just so inspiring to see different places, different restaurants and all the design inspiration in that city,” says Erika.
Find a literary escape. No budget for travel? Reading or listening to a great book can be the escape you need. “I love to go on a walk or a run and listen to an audio book and just escape the day. Reading is one of the best forms of escapism,” says Erika.
Video Direction & Editing by Erika Carlock.
*Available with Full Service products only. Video meeting while expert does your taxes required.