7 Tips for Balancing Mahi and Life

How do I keep sane running a small business from home.

November 2021 



Over the years I've witnessed and heard of others work tirelessly 24/7 doing what they can for their business, company, kaupapa, iwi etc. I've observed burnout, separation from family, and unhealthy habits, which ultimately resulted in early death. This is not the lifestyle that I want to live.

As the Director, potter and a Graphic Designer of Taputapu Ltd, my responsibilities and workload is sporadic.

  • For Taputapu Toi (our graphic design services) - I am designing and managing our jobs and clients, marketing, invoices and payroll.
  • For Taputapu Toa (products) - I handmake and create products, manage orders, stock and packaging. Finances (payroll, invoices, funding), marketing, administration (emails, website, social media, blogs).
  • Overall, I run Taputapu Ltd; I manage our finances, dream up the big ideas, administration (emails, website, social media, blogs and apply for funding), and attend events and or workshops representing Taputapu Ltd.

It's a lot of work for one person and keeps me very busy, so to ensure I balance mahi and work - I keep to a daily routine during the week. 

Yes, a daily routine sounds simple, but it can be hard to 'switch off' when working from home. The temptation to do more and or get distracted to chill out is a real struggle.



Here are my 7 tips for balancing Life and Mahi.




Set times in your day to move, work and relax.

A typical day for me includes:-

  • 6:30-7 am - Wake Up. The morning is focused on kori tinana and getting ready for the day. My exercise options are home workouts, gym, walk or yoga, depending on the weather and how I'm feeling.
  • 9am in the office, and mahi commences.
  • 3:30 pm - 5 pm - Finish mahi.
  • 6pm onwards chill time

After mahi, it's time to chill, have dinner, have a nap if needed, go for a walk and or go into my pottery space. My night routine focuses on activities to help me unwind. I will either do some meditation, do yoga, read a book or watch an episode if there is good series. I try to make it a rule not to look at any devices before bed also.

Separate spaces

Maintaining a balance between business life and personal life is about being vigilant to separate the two. Since I live and work from home, I divide my chill-out spaces from mahi. My office and workshop/pottery are in different rooms in the house; therefore, I can shut the door at the end of the working day. I am also clear that my chill-out spaces are to chill out, like my room. 

Keep spaces clean

In my whare I always have clean, organized spaces, this prevents me from being stressed out. That's just me. I'm not too fond of clutter or mess. For example, everything has its place within my home, and good storage is critical. I believe that you become like the spaces you surround yourself in. For example, the type of people you hang around with affect you and your well-being. I believe it's the same with spaces. If our spaces are disorganized, cluttered and messy, then what does that environment breed? How does that affect your well-being and your mahi?

Switch Off

I have a rule: no work or checking emails in bed. Therefore, I don't take my work into my room. Also, separating hours of the day for me and for mahi time. I shared before that the morning hours are for kori tinana, work hours are from 9am-4pm, and nighttime is to chill and recharge. This is good because it also means that I don't slack off during the day. The challenges of working from home are the comforts of home, turning the tv on, relaxing on my bed etc. However, when it's mahi hours, it's mahi time.

Be big on excellence.

I'm big on excellence, and if you are a friend of mine, you are probably nodding your head. I aim for the best, I present my best, and that has seeped through everything I do. When I was a teen, I heard Murray Thom, an NZ businessman, give a kōrero. He invented bubble wrap, crazy aye. I can vividly remember one part of his kōrero, which was "always start your day with excellence. If you start your day with distinction, it will become a habit, and eventually, it will follow everything you do."

Something simple I do every day is make my bed. For me, it's my way to start the day with excellence, and it means at the end of the day, I come to relaxed a nicely made bed; it's the best feeling. I also dress for success, as if I'm still heading into a real work environment. I avoid sweat pants and PJs to ensure I'm in a work focused mentality.

Prioritise chill out time and be happy

I prioritise time to chill out because my hinengaro needs a break, and so does my tinana, and I don't feel guilty about it. I spend hours watching series or movies. But, this is MY time to step away from the business. Some of the movies I watch help spark my inspiration and creativity, and it's my reward at the end of the day or week to sit down and watch a good episode or two. 

I also find that meditation and yoga are an excellent way to reconnect with myself, thank my tinana, let go of anxiety and stress, and reset. I do this simply through you-tube. I follow Yoga with Adrienne. She has great relevant yoga topics and some meditation videos too.

I am learning more about my sparks of joy; advice is given from Marie Kondo. She encourages people to make time in the day that sparks joy. For me, it's coffee, online shopping, Netflix, exercise, food, and walks in the ngahere.

Valuing and Appreciation

I'm big on treating myself and my employees. We must celebrate our wins along the way to acknowledge the hard work that we've put in. I also believe it's essential to have a happy work environment where my employees feel appreciated and valued. To celebrate our wins, we've gone out for a nice lunch, trips up to Auckland, booked in massages, and coffee is always good too.

It comes naturally to me because of my love language which is gifts, so it's my way to say thank you and for us to reflect on the mahi that we've achieved. 


We all have different methods of keeping focused at mahi, staying organized and keeping on top of our physical and mental health - but the one thing we can all agree on in Aotearoa is that we want to have work life balance.

Sometimes you have to take the lead and create it for yourself, to continue enjoying your mahi and hobbies.

For me, pottery has been a great hobby that has now become a new space of mahi and creation in a different medium (away from the computer). In my next blog, I share my pottery journey and where things are at.

Nikki Kennedy_Owner of Taputapu Ltd_relaxing at home


  • Loved this blog! Great tips. Adrienne is awesome and I love that you strive for excellence rather than perfection.

    Looking forward to the pottery blog!

    Muri Paekau-Richards on
  • Ngā mihi nui rawa Nikki Nix. Have picked up some awesome tips for myself too e hoa. Much aroha xx

    Heneriata Kathleen Paringatai on
  • Love your products and love how you prioritise self care and care of your team. Great blog

    Claire on
  • Thank you.Very valuable information and i can see a light at the end of the tunnel.Guilty of a bad work/rest balance but i can see a change coming.Thank you for sharing.Nga mihi.

    Sharon Grace (Perth,WA) on
  • Great blog great reflection & fab tips 😘

    Riwai Nadine on

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