Let’s talk about control, and how not letting it go can harm you.
I found this out myself a few weeks ago as I sat at my desk with tears, tension and cramping through my neck, shoulders, and back. Normally, I might sit back idly wishing I knew more about voodoo dolls. Like, would they even work in the online space without the hair, skin or sweaty t-shirt TV has told me you need to make one? Probs not.
I’m a freelance writer, copywriter, blogger, and am about to start publically giving myself another hat: author. Chilling out while the ball is out of my court is an essential part of my business. So I need to learn how to sit comfortably with myself, relinquish control, and just be p-p… (cough, splutter)… patient.
My name is Jennifer, and I have issues with control.
This blog is for women like me who know the struggle.
How can we maintain our mental health as business women, especially when we are also Mothers? Mothers are still statistically the primary carers, as well as shouldering most of the emotional labour. Here are my tips to find freedom in chaos AND control, so we don’t need to have crazy physical manifestations of stress and pent up anger.
Here are my tips to unclamp the controlling impulse.
Freedom in Chaos: Sing, Shout, Move, Think
Sing It Back:
Find a ‘personal anthem’ that lifts you up and reminds you to chill, and sing it. Out loud. This is mine: ‘Joy Division’, by The Wombats.
The physical response to singing out loud is to raise your body’s endorphins and give you a natural high.
Acknowledge your feelings, and don’t stifle anger
It’s ok to cry if you feel like it. And it’s ok to express your anger.
Anger is an emotion which seeks an answer and tries to find way out of your situation, yet it’s something which, as women, we’re taught to swallow. Women report experiencing depression and anxiety, which is anger turned inwards, at 33 percent compared to 22 percent of men.
If you’re sad, sit and reflect: are you really angry?
There are lots of ways to express your anger in a healthy way. I do it using physicality.
Shout It Out:
Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of My Heart’ is a good one for what I call ‘socially acceptable screaming’. This has the same body effect as singing, and is a good way to focus your energy. There’s a reason chanting, or shouting ‘Kia!’ in martial arts is a thing. Try it. It works.
Punch a punching bag, go for a run, lift weights, swim, dance…whatever movement floats your boat, do it. Just taking a walk can be enough to reset your mind. Your body will thank you for it.
Think It Out:
It can take practice, but negative thoughts and self-talk usually don’t stand up to logic. Read over your testimonials and positive feedback, write down things you love about your business or yourself: because that’s who’s hurting when we struggle to let go of control. Or, you can just ask your friends to describe you in 3 words. You’ll be touched and surprised by the way other people see your strengths on days when you cannot.
Freedom in Control: Template, Automate, Planning’s Great
The good news is, there are things that we can have complete, sweet, control over. And instead of that control spinning out of…control and binding your own power, you can use it to set you free.
If you’re new to business, or like me, was so used to pivoting and acting now, creating templates is one of the best, best things I can recommend. I make templates of things like:
- 25, 50 and 150 word bios – these live on my desk top. As a writer, I use them a lot
- Brand words and client Tone of Voice documents
- Client welcome, and on boarding and off-boarding sequence
Templates save time, make sure your message and brand voice is consistent, and on the days when you have nada in the playing-nice-bank, it won’t unintentionally come through in your email or copy.
Ok now you’ve got your templates, how can you set up a system to establish even more control with less effort?
At the moment I’m loving Dubsado (promise I don’t work for them, it’s just awesome). Dubsado lead capture forms (that’s contact forms) on my site shoot each new prospect or client straight through where I can create a client portal, and keep all of our communication in one place. This is possibly why I love Dubs so much: I hate chasing email threads. It isn’t free, but the time and sanity it saves me lets me spend the hours clocking up billable hours.
I use Buffer to schedule my content. You can schedule to 3 channels for free (I use Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In). It’s so much more efficient to spend a day batching up your content, and then spending less time on socials. Social media is great, but it’s terrible for things like distraction, and comparison-itus to boot.
Alright, I couldn’t think of a better rhyming way to say do things one at time. One at a time ladies!
When I was a teen and young adult, I remember hearing on women’s magazine shows, in women’s magazines, and in women’s conversations that women are better at multi-tasking than men. I even heard that multi-tasking was more efficient for women.
WRONG! The multi-tasking myth is starting to be debunked these days, but the feminist in me thinks there was probably no coincidence it existed in the first place.
Use a diary or other planning software like Asana or Trello (and yes, Dubsado) to plan your time so you can sit down to a task and do deep work. You’ll be more productive, feel more in control, and multi-tasking actually damages your brain!!
I forgot one thing…
Celebrate – Because You’re Awesome, Sister!
Businessing can be difficult, especially when you’re a mum.
Take time to raise a glass to your fabulous self, even if it’s full of chai or kombucha, and appreciate the fact that you’re doing something many people find too daunting or difficult – and doing it well too.
Connect with Jennifer on:
Jennifer Zeven is a freelance writer, blogger, an Opinionated Woman, and a natural redhead.
Jennifer will admit to occasionally shoving squares of secret chocolate in her mouth in solitude to avoid sharing yet another piece of food with her children.
If you’d like to read more Jennifer Zeven, find her blog: