The Time To Relax Is When You Don’t Have Time For It
It’s official - we’ve just passed the half way mark of 2018!
If you are anything like me you find yourself asking - Where on earth did those first six months of the year go?
It’s the time of year when most of us get that feeling of 'not having done enough' begins to rear its head, and we start to question how we can ‘get back on track’ and ‘achieve more’ in the remains of the year. Ironic then that is also coincides with the start of the holiday season! A time when our minds should be focusing on doing a little less (even if for short while).
The schools are out (here in Scotland at least) and the expectations of our families and friends is that we will be able to spend more time enjoying the summer with them! And so begins the dilemma of every business owner - how can I stay on track AND do less?
When you are starting a new business, or in the midst of scaling your existing business, we all know how hard it is to keep up the momentum. “Keep putting one foot in front of another” sounds trite advice, but it is the only way. But how then do you stop, even if for a few days, and take a much needed break with friends and family?
Being an entrepreneur or small business owner (however you prefer to think of yourself) can be a struggle, and the pressure can sometimes seem relentless. I know for me, starting again here in Scotland has seen me push myself harder than ever before.
For me the struggle, more often than not, manifests itself in long workdays with very little sleep. I am however very lucky that the little sleep I do get is usually restful! But for my waking hours at the moment my personal journey sees my entire mind and body consumed with the need to move forward and stretch myself to achieve my goals.
At the moment I would probably define a 'day off' as being one where I am still present on Social Media and taking emails, or working at least part of the day! Sound familiar?
But taking a break is a good idea!
The truth is, this kind of continued work pace is unsustainable. After a while everything suffers: our creativity diminishes; and our resilience falters and our sense of accomplishment begins to plummet.
Taking a break actually allows us to ‘reboot’ our thinking and our strategy - which in the longer term will help our business! So, far from being a ‘luxury’ that we cannot afford to take, we have to recognise the it is a necessity in our stressful lives and will stop us from letting our temporary exhaustion escalate to the point of burn-out.
So how exactly is it possible for an entrepreneur, or small business owner, to take a break I hear you ask?
Well, you won’t be surprised to here me say that 'It’s All In The Prep’!
If you haven’t planned and prepared in advance for your break, then of course it’s going to be stressful. But the more prepared you are and the more often you take breaks (even short ones), the easier it will be. Here are three things I would recommend:
GET ORGANISED (GET A PLAN!)
In my old business I had worked out a pattern which suited me perfectly - and I must admit that I am still in the process of getting back to that successful ratio with my new business. Basically I took a week off every eight weeks (which was extended to two weeks when they fell in the summer or in December).
In addition we took a long weekend visiting our apartment in Cornwall for at least once, sometimes twice a month.
Having these much needed breaks scheduled into the diary from the start of the New Year, meant that we always had something to look forward to and the features of our daily work were surprisingly easily made to fit around these new ‘pre-commitments’!
In my new business planning my content is a big part of this for me, including when I do my Facebook Live broadcasts; my Online Q&A Sessions; and when I run features such as my webinars and Expert Interviews.
HARNESS THE POWER OF AUTOMATION
Automation is key to building a business (no matter how small or new it is) where you can quite rightly take breaks.
You need to introduce systems and processes within your business, so that where possible it can run without the need for your daily input.
You need to take advantage of the many apps and tools available to you to allow you to structure your customer interactions and schedule your contact with them; and your on-going promotion campaigns and even setting up autoresponders to both your emails and messages on Social Media.
Tools like Buffer allow you to fill up a queue of Posts to go out at set times and is incredibly easy to use. Likewise creating an email nurture sequence can allow you to give the appearance of being there for you customers even when you are not!
If you’re planning to be completely offline during your break then simply let your audience know – more often than not they’re going to be really supportive of you taking a break anyway.
OUTSOURCE IF YOU NEED TO
If you do have tasks that just cannot be automated and cannot wait, then it may be time for you to consider outsourcing.
A lot of Virtual Assistants (VA) and Personal Assistants (PA) offer hourly packages and are experienced in many areas of administration; social media; online marketing - being proficient in many of the tools and packages. Finding the right person to suit your requirements for a few days can help alleviate some of the additional stress you may feel by leaving your business ‘unmanned’.
There Is Never A Right Time
When you’re running a small business there’s never going to be a perfect time to take a break. But you will need to take one all the same! So when you hear yourself saying that you ‘can’t afford to take time off’ remember:
Taking care of yourself is actually taking care of your business.
Distance creates much-needed perspective - and allows you to return to your business challenges with renewed energy and enthusiasm!
Enjoying quality time with your friends or family is most likely one of your biggest ‘Why’s’ for starting your business in the first place!
So take some guilt-free time to rest; relax; and reboot your business - and put yourself in the best shape to finish 2018 on a high!
If you’re ready to take the next step with your business and want to work smarter not harder - Message (or email) me and we can arrange a FREE strategy call to help you get the Clarity you need and create a realistic Plan of Action to achieve your Goals. [[email protected]]