Part of the joy of running your own business is the ability to set your own schedule. The downside of that, however, can be that you never take any time off. When that happens, being your own boss can become a source of stress and overwhelm instead of the joy that it’s supposed to be. A big part of overcoming that overwhelm is knowing when to take a day off.
How do you know when it’s time to take a day off?
When nothing seems to be going right, or when you just can’t seem to focus that’s one sure sign you need some time away. Another big sign that it’s time for a day or two off is that you are feeling frustrated with your business.
If you’re feeling like something is missing, or things just aren’t falling into place like they should be, a day of reflection could be just what you need. You may need to make a change to your business in order to get things flowing smoothly again, but you won’t be able to see it when you’re in the midst of the problem. Only by taking some time away can you see from a distance what needs to be done.
Sometimes, the need for a day off comes just from needing to unplug and get away from everything. If you work online, you know the importance of being connected and of keeping up your social media presence. That need to be in constant communication can really wear a person down, and the only way to get refreshed so that you are at your best for your customers is to get away for a day. Burnout is a very real consequence, and the last thing you want is to snap at a customer or prospective client because you are tired and burned out.
What To Do With Your Time Off
Now that you know when to take a day off, what do you do with it? Here are a few tips you can use to give yourself and your business a break.
1. Get Unplugged
The first thing to do is unplug from your computer, your cell phone, and anything else that could distract from your time off. Avoid answering business calls, checking email or Facebook for the entire time you are away.
The first time I did this, I didn’t think I could make it a whole day without turning on my computer. Guess what? After the first couple of hours it was surprisingly easy to do other things totally unrelated to the business.
Having an unplugged day (or even two or three if that’s what it takes) gives you a good way to recharge your batteries and allows you to come back after your time off refreshed and ready to go again. You’ll find that you’re much more creative too, especially if you’ve been able to take some of your time off to get out and actually do things that you don’t normally do.
2. Organize Your Work Space
In the course of a work day, my desk gets so cluttered you can’t even find the bottom of it. Between binders, papers, books and research material, it’s easy to get overwhelmed just by looking at a messy desk. So the first thing you should do to start your time off is clear your desk. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter you will feel just looking at a clear desk. Think too, about how wonderful it will be at the end of your time off to come back to an organized office and clear work space!
3. Review Plans and Goals
Once you have your head clear, sit down and really think about what you want from your business. There’s a reason you have been feeling overwhelmed, and only you know what it is. This time away from work should allow you to be brutally honest with yourself about your goals and whether they are fueling your life passion and purpose or changes need to be made in order to bring things more into alignment.
You may find you need to change your priorities, and rearrange your schedule in order to accommodate these new changes. The other thing you’ll want to do during this time is create systems that make your work easier, and that you can use to train someone to cover for you when the need arises.
Once you’ve identified your priorities and the parts of your business that you absolutely love working on, it’s time to create a team and outsource the rest. There’s no shame in admitting that you can’t do everything yourself. In reality, you shouldn’t want to be doing everything yourself.
If you can’t afford to hire someone full time, check out sites like Fiverr.com where you can get people to help you on a one-time basis for five bucks. Another way to get help is to trade services. This lets you help someone by doing what you’re good at, and let’s someone else help you by doing what they’re good at. A win/win situation if ever there was one, and it opens the door to future collaborations too.
5. Add Days Off To Your Schedule
Now that you’ve got a clear desk, a clear mind, and a clear plan for moving forward, there’s only one thing left to do. Add regular days off into your schedule so that you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed again.
As long as you have put the proper systems in place, and found someone you trust to cover for you, there’s no reason to fear that your business will fall apart if you step away for a day.
So know when to take a day off, go out, and enjoy it! Your family, and your business will thank you in the long run.
What do you do when it’s time to take a day off? Share your tips in the comments section below!