In July last year, I threw the ultimate uppercut to city life. I packed my bags (and by bags, I mean 56 boxes and 2 truckloads of belongings and plants. Mostly plants) and moved my life and my little family, to Coledale. A sweet little suburb just an hour and a bit south of the Sydney chaos tucked in behind the national park.
Life down here is simple. We’ve got the towering escarpment to our West and beautiful coastline to our East and only a few blocks of houses in between. We’re cocooned by stunning landscapes, cheap beer at the local pub and friendly locals with all the time in the world to chat about the weather. Our home is quiet, our mornings slow and our rhythms finally settling into a more manageable pace of life.
Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. And I’m finally getting some real work done for the first time in years. My stress levels have plummeted, my budget for parking fines vanished and I’m almost positive my heart rate has actually slowed. After 8 years in the big smoke, I’m starting to feel what it’s like to be ‘Tess’ again.
Why am I telling you all of this? It’s not just to brag about my awesome new life, although if anyone wants to listen to that, I’ll certainly give them an earful, but I wanted to share this slither of my life chapter with you to say loud and clear that as a business owner, your business depends on your health, happiness and productivity.
I love the saying ‘Happy wife, happy life’ and manage to cram in about 4 reminders of this saying to my boyfriend all before 9am each day. And I think this adage can be applied to our business lives too. In business; Happy business owner, happy business.
It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but I can personally vouch for the truth in this statement.
When you’re suffering from stress, overwhelm, anxiety and I-don’t-even-give-a-flying-F-about-this-shiz-anymore feels, it will 100% be reflected in your work. Your profit and loss statements start to look a little dreary, your productivity dwindles to an all-time low and your staff will most certainly pick up on the lazy cues and run wild with them.
My move to Coledale might seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things (hello Trump), but this move taught me some seriously big life lessons. The biggest of the big, was that I/you/we can all live the life we want, full-stop, end of sentence. Regardless of the things you tell yourself are holding you back, regardless of the limitations, we create for ourselves or the negative comments your sixth grade teacher had to say in your report card you can do and be whatever the hell you want (spoken like a true millennial).
The modern day office is changing – particularly for us in the creative industries or working within innovative companies, we no longer need to slog out 100 hour weeks in the same building at the same desk in our freshly ironed beige slacks. Even the most corporate of corporate companies are getting with the times and allowing staff members flexibility with working from home, reduced hours and more relaxed office environments. As business owners, we need to harness the power of our creations and use it to our advantage to create the life of our dreams. Because really, isn’t that why we got into business in the first place? To create our own mini utopia? Yes, damn right it is.
My boyfriend and I now joke that we should have made the move down here years ago. But to be honest, for many years I was a bit hesitant in leaving our Sydney life. Not because I loved it, but because I was scared of what leaving behind my buzzing little studio might do for the business and our bottom line.
When you’re building a company, it’s easy to think you’ll fall behind if you don’t keep your foot on the gas at all times. It’s easy to think that if you’re not whipping yourself into a state of burn-out that nothing will happen. It’s easy to think if you take a lunch break you’ll come back and your business will just be a pile of ashes on the ground. But frankly, it’s quite the opposite. When you create calm, give yourself time to create and make careful and strategic decisions, your business will move forward in leaps and bounds. Just like anything in life, balance is the key to growth.
Living in the city was full of opportunity and creativity, but the pace of it was not for me. I was constantly stressing about stress before there was even stress to stress about. Why couldn’t I work faster and get everything done in a day? And how could I possibly fit in social activities, exercise, being nice to my boyfriend and drinking a goddamn green juice?! I forever felt behind on my work-related projects and my life admin swallowed me up and spat me out on a regular basis. I had obligations with friends that either loomed over my head like ghosts of people past or that consumed my entire weekends. On average I had about 120 unread emails that swirled in my head as my head hit the pillow at the end of another marathon day. I had meetings with people I didn’t need to meet with, questions that could have answered themselves and tasks that kept me from doing the work that I really wanted to be doing. I was forever frustrated with myself for not being completely “on top” of my life.
Super fun times right? Someone pour me a vodka and fetch me a sauso roll.
It wasn’t until I got here, to Coledale, that I realised I’d spent the last 9 years racing around the city on high speed, even when there was absolutely no need. It had gotten to the point that even when I wasn’t in a hurry, I was. Whether it was walking from my car to my house or making my morning chai, there was a looming sense of urgency. To get it done so that I could simply hurry to the next thing.
It reached a pinnacle at the end of last year. I began to wonder if there was some way I could just back away slowly from this whole thing and go live off the grid in a DIY tree house and sell homegrown ‘greens’ for a living.
As a kid, I was a member of the latchkey generation and had a few hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon. My brother and I would come home from school teach our dog magic tricks, play hide and seek in the yard, eat mulberries off the back tree and chuck unripened grapes at people walking past our house, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day.
Those days were happy days. As an adult, I have intense cravings for that sense of freedom, unstructured time and slow living. So, it’s not much wonder that I am starting to feel right back at home in a small coastal town with only one set of traffic lights to pause my trip.
Here are some things I’ve learned about life in the slow(er) lane. Cue the confetti people, this is where the good stuff is.
Since moving down the coast, I’ve felt a shift in my energy and my approach to what is still a very busy life. I haven’t opted out of society completely (much to my boyfriend’s disdain) and I sure as hell haven’t run away from my businesses and responsibilities to live a life of yoga and cheese boards, but what I’ve found is a new perspective on the notion of time. I feel more in control of my time and am on a constant mission to do less with more focus.
I’m tuning in to the idea that time is the most valuable asset we own, and I’m doing my best to use it wisely.
Let us know what services you're after and we'll get back to you in a jiffy.
Prefer to chat? Call us on 0468 323 526 and let’s talk through the details.