Imagine this: It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and as you look out your window, you see telltale signs of folks enjoying time off from work, school, etc. People walking their dogs. Children riding bikes or (in the colder days) playing in the snow. And then you bring yourself back to present to find that, once again, you’re holed up in your office, working the weekend away.
Which is okay, because you love what you’re doing, and besides, as the saying goes, ain’t no rest for the weary! Which comes from the line of thinking that in order to be successful, you must keep pushing on no matter how tired or overworked you feel.
Allow me to remind you of another famous saying:
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” You’ve no doubt heard this before (or something similar), but it’s easy for entrepreneurs who are passionate about their work (or about reaching certain levels of success) to burn the midnight oil time…and time…AND time…again. I was just talking to a colleague about the dangers of working too much, even when you’re working on something you love, and I thought it might be good to share some of these thoughts with you to help make sure you don’t fall into any of these traps.
I hope you keep these thoughts in mind as you map out the coming year…and find the inspiration to allow yourself some free time in your business and your life.
Reason #1 to Take Time Off: Overworking often leads to burnout
When I first started my business, I was still holding down a full-time job, so my business activities had to take place at night and on the weekends. Once I quit my job to focus on my business full-time, though, it was hard to break that habit, and I would find myself still attached to my laptop well into the traditional “after-work” hours. My excuse was that I HAD to work, ‘cuz after all there were clients to attract and bills to pay! But I soon began to discover that I began to resent my work, as it was taking way too much time away from my husband and newborn daughter. The real kicker came when I realized one Sunday night that I was dreading the next day. I’d told myself once I left my job – which I had hated – that I would never again work a job that left me dreading not only my Mondays but the Sundays leading up to them. And that’s exactly what had happened. I knew at that moment it was time to force myself to quit working weekends, and to step out of the office at a reasonable time each night (which, at the time, was 6 p.m., but is now closer to 3 p.m.). That way I can focus the rest of my day on my family, and come to work the next day refreshed and ready to rock and roll. Which leads me to my next point…
Reason #2 to Take Time Off: Time away from work helps you gain perspective and motivation
Working 24/7 makes it hard to not only appreciate the flexibility of being your own boss (since you’ve effectively landed yourself a much more demanding – and oftentimes lower-paying – JOB) but actually make you less productive. Here’s why: when you take time off, you give yourself time to recharge your batteries, which can lead to new perspectives that can be hard (if not impossible) to see when you’re in the thick of your work. This is especially true if you’re facing a particular dilemma in your business. The logical part of our brain tells us that when there are challenges, we should keep at them until we find a solution. But have you ever walked away from a challenging situation to find that the solution comes to you, seemingly out of the blue? That’s because even when you take a step away, your brain keeps working on the problem in the background (a.k.a. your subconscious) until it reaches that light bulb moment. Taking time off work can also help to keep the excitement alive. As I mentioned above, when I was working practically non-stop, I started to dread my workdays. But when I started taking time away from the office, especially on the weekends, I found myself itching to get back to it on Monday. Thoughts and ideas for fresh newsletter articles, new training programs, and better ways to serve my clients and grow my business started coming to me, out of nowhere (there’s that good ole subconscious mind hard at work!), and I could hardly wait to get back into the office each day. And after all, isn’t that part of the reason why we start our own businesses: to rock the work we love to do, day after day?
Reason #3 to Take Time Off: ‘Cuz you only got one life to live!
One of the best reasons that I can think of to schedule more time off is to enjoy your life. Since, after all, we do only have one life to live. And even when we start lifestyle businesses full of work that is custom-tailored to work we enjoy, there should still be more to life than just one aspect, don’t you think? In order to fully reap the rewards of this little thing called life, it is my firm belief that we should allow ourselves to explore areas outside of work that bring us joy. For me, that is spending time with my friends and family, reading (for both business AND pleasure), and indulging in TV shows and movies my husband and I like and which help us unwind at the end of a long day/week. And in the past few months, pregnancy aches and fatigue have added warm baths and power naps to the list of things I do in my “off” time…because I think it’s important also to listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves. After all, if we run either our bodies or our minds into the ground, there won’t be much left to enjoy at all!
In the next week, keep an eye out for brand-new videos and training calls on exactly HOW you can take more time off without neglecting your financial needs or goals. (Hint: it’s all about making your marketing work harder so you don’t have to!) In the meantime, please leave a comment below to share your thoughts and comments on taking time off from your business. I’d love to hear:
1) Whether you feel like you currently take enough time off
2) How you currently spend the free time you do have now
3) How you plan to change your time off plans this year (if at all)
Can’t wait to hear from you!
© 2013 by Tammi Metzler
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a Marketing Copy Strategist who helps solo entrepreneurs worldwide get more clients with their online marketing efforts. Her one-on-one copywriting services and marketing training materials have helped clients achieve outstanding results, including as much as a 600% increase in new clients within just a few weeks’ time. To access her steadily-growing library of f.ree & low-cost client-attraction resources, please visit www.writeassociate.com.
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