The most underrated activity in your business

I sincerely hope that the title of my blog piqued your interest. As a fellow business owner, I am always on the lookout for the latest hacks, new tips and tricks – anything that can make my life a little easier.
In 2022, I am determined to work differently. I have been in business almost 11 years and that has certainly given me some useful data to process. I have worked way too many late nights, weekends and on my phone when I should have been giving my full attention to my sons. So my big resolution for 2022 was to change the way I worked.
I have had some significant breakthroughs with my working style. The first one was several years ago when I was introduced to the concept of working with your cycle (this applies to all of us but notably those with a menstrual cycle but if you no longer have one, you can follow the moon cycles). I found that I tracked my cycle and paid attention to how I felt in terms of energy, productivity. It was astonishingly insightful. I used the book Do Less by Kate Northrup as a guide to help me understand my cycle and how, by listening to my body, I could DO LESS. It was amazing.

Part of this learning to tune in more to my body involved paying attention to how I was feeling. I must be honest and say that I am very used to pushing myself, working hard simply because I was tired. My bad habits were formed years ago in corporate where working long hours was a badge of honour. I was notorious for being the first to arrive and the last to leave. As if this was something to be proud. These habits happily adapted to working for myself. In the early days of your business, you must put in some hard yards – there is so much to learn, and you are busy getting the work in and there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

Regardless of where you are in your business journey, I can say with absolute confidence that you and your business will benefit from you taking a break. Yes, it is that simple. Now I am not necessarily talking about those lovely sounding extended vacations but those totally work too. I am simply talking about shutting off all devices, and stepping away from your business. This can look different for each of us. What is key is that you actively work on NOT working.

Everyone needs to take a break

Now again, I want to be sure to acknowledge that this will absolutely look different for you. There are so many factors that may impact your ability to take a break. I understand how hard it can be when you are busy building your empire and juggling other priorities. I started my business when my boys were just 2 and 4 and my youngest had not yet mastered sleeping through the night. It was a busy time where I often worked in the evenings to free up time in the day to be with my boys. I was exhausted and am amazed that my business survived.

There are also periods where we can be very busy in our business. This may be because we are in the middle of a launch or actively creating new things. Regardless, the need to take a break still applies.

How to take a break

In an ideal world, I would highly recommend a lovely extended vacation. Pre-COVID, I regularly took 4 weeks off from my business over Christmas, during the summer holidays. When you take this kind of break, I feel that it takes me a couple of weeks to slow down and settle into a different pace. I absolutely love this kind of break, but I know it is not something we can do often. I find I return to my business refreshed and with ideas overflowing. It is always an exciting time.

You need to book in several single week periods during the year. If you can get away, great but if not, you can still step back from your business. Do not be tempted to work because it will not yield the same results. A whole week can absolutely be made to feel like a long period of time. You can do lots or do nothing – the choice is yours but the key is NO WORK!

If you are finding that you are regularly tired or burnt out, it may be time for some drastic action. For more, this has been an idea that has been brewing for some time and when I returned to work in early 2022 feeling lacklustre, I will confess, I was worried. Why was I not full of energy? Why was I dreading the year ahead instead of being excited? The reality was that 2021 was an incredibly challenging year for me personally and I had probably pushed myself harder than I have ever done before (and that is saying something). So, this year, I determined that things would change. My first thought was to book in regular days off but then as I realised how key I am in my business, I decided that I needed to seriously commit to this break business. So, after chatting with my hubby, who also works in the business, I decided that I would take Fridays off. This means that I will be working just 4 days.

Now, initially I was not able to do this as I already had commitments in my diary, but I booked it out and moving forward, Friday will not be an official workday. I will instead spend my time “otherwise engaged”. I intend to use it to hang out with my hubby (even though we share an office), see more of my mum and do things that are all about self-care – this can look different for each of us, so I won’t list all the ideas I have.

If any of these feels like too much of a stretch right now, I want to share with you my proven-beyond-all-doubt-this-will-never-fail-you break strategy. Best of all, it’s free, simple and can be customised to suit you. Walking! Yep, that is it. Go take a walk. But here is the caveat, you cannot take your phone or if you do, it is for safety and stays in your pocket. You will get the benefits of a break with as little as a 15-minute stroll. The emphasis is on disconnecting from your business, its demands, and your routine. You can do it as often as you like and I know you will see your productivity go up every single time.
I hope my blog inspires you to examine ways in which you can take a break in your business. Whatever it looks like for you right now, I can promise you that it will not only make you more productive but allow you to feel less overwhelmed and busy. We all need that!

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