There appears to be an expectation at times in small business that you are grinding away 24/7 and the 9-5 work routine is a distant memory. This is a reality and challenge of being self employed however you can certainly find balance.
Taking a note from the blog post Every Day Is An Opportunity – Finding The Daily Wins, we need space and time to think. Sometime’s we are forced into these moments from having a slow or undesirable day, however without the right mental approach a break may not have it’s full impact or benefit.
In Austin Kleon’s ‘Steal Like an Artist’ he says “take time to be bored” and “creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing”. Whether you see yourself as an artist or not, being self employed requires creativity and problem solving. You need to be able to reduce the noise to think broader. Richard Koch extends on this in his book ‘The 80/20 Manager’ referring to laziness as a skill and gateway to higher thinking that is unattainable when you are stuck in the thick of day to day operation.
Creativity and problem solving skills can certainly be cultivated during these periods of time out, however these moments are also important for your own well being. You need take the weight off your mind momentarily to relieve tension and stress, focus on enjoyable things or simply switch off. Burn out is a real thing and with stigma’s still lurking of small businesses not making it past the first couple of years, it is important to develop the right habits early. Protect you and what you are passionate about.
So there’s a myriad of benefits that can come from taking a break and switching off from the daily grind of your own venture. The challenge however is creating it.
How do you create that space for yourself?
Here are just a few initial ideas that could spark further options to create that much needed time out:
- Automate processes online as quickly as possible.
- Contract out smaller time consuming tasks that make you feel busy (this is hard as most of us enjoy feeling busy, but these smaller items are sucking the life from us).
- Be disciplined to structure a true day off and tell your friends, families and most importantly your customers.
- Activate automatic responses – Just like your stereotypical ‘out of office’ email response, only practical (think about educating, directing and converting purely from an auto-response. It’s doable!).
Discipline to create your own desirable lifestyle is hard and involves a lot of hard work and long hours, however the balance is an integral part with time out requiring just as much discipline. It’s an absolute necessity. Amy from Niche Massage in Nowra (featured in episode 9 of the Self Starter podcast) made it her mission to give herself those non-negotiable days off. Amy realised it was absolutely critical for her to step back to recharge.
For your mental health and general well being as well as your business, it’s critical to carve out time for yourself to re-energise, to clear your mind and step back from the day to day and see the bigger picture. Encourage creativity and remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. It helps you come back to your business fresh and motivated and reduces the likelihood of burn out.