As a creative solopreneur, I’ve learned that one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your business is to take a break from it every once in awhile. And one of the best forms of self care you can give yourself is intentionally taking time off.
I know it’s scary, but once you do it the first time, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and how many new ideas you come back to work with after your break.
It’s so easy to buy into the idea that constant hustle and being busy is the same as being productive and creative. But, deep down, you know that’s not really true. What is true is that intentionally taking time away from your business is not only important for your self-care, it’s important for the success of your business as well.
From a personal point of view, taking time off – and it’s so easy to say ‘no, I have to keep working’ – gives you the chance to take both a physical and a mental break. My doctor and my business coach are both always reminding me of the importance of giving the body and mind both time to rest, refresh, and recharge.
And I know that what they say makes sense. If you’re sitting at your computer for long hours every day, believe me your body will thank you for a day to get out and do something physical. For me that would be either go for a long walk, or play golf, but you probably knew that already. 🙂
And a mental break away from the daily grind gives your mind time to come up with new possibilities and flesh out ideas that may have been floating around waiting for you to notice them!
You know how easy it is to start feeling stuck when you’re in it day after day with no end in sight. Those moments you just know you’ve hit on something seem few and far between when your mind is filled with all the little niggly details of daily business tasks.
That “aha” moment or breakthrough idea often comes when you’re least expecting it. At least, that’s how it usually happens for me. When you intentionally taking time off, it gives your creativity a chance to bubble up to the surface and remind you that it’s there waiting for you to notice it.
So, what can you do to get in the habit of giving yourself a break?
Here are 4 tips for intentionally taking time off:
Tip #1 – Add breaks to your schedule
Treat breaks as non-negotiable appointments with yourself. I once took a planning class, and the instructor told us when starting to plan the week and month, to schedule my “me time” first and then work in everything else around that. That way your self-care time is in there as a priority.
Tip #2 – Commit to at least one day off a week
Sometimes this can be really hard, but when you can dedicate one full day a week to completely disconnecting, it is so worth it. Dedicate one full day to completely disconnecting from work. Walk on the beach, play a round of golf, lunch with friends or family, and just curl up with a cup of tea and a good book. Do what makes you happy and allows you to charge. As hard as it is, resist the temptation to work on your day off, and let the fun stuff take over for a day.
Tip #3 – Ditch the guilty feelings
It’s common for solopreneurs to feel guilty when they take time off. There are sayings like “self-care is not selfish” and “put your own oxygen mask on first” for a reason. You can’t take care of your family, your customers, and your business, if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
Tip #4 – Develop energy and attention management habits
I was going to say that good time management is a key to ensuring flexibility to take time off without sacrificing productivity. But lately I’ve been thinking more along the lines of energy and attention management. Because how you manage your energy and what you pay attention to, play a greater role in your productivity since those are things in your control.
Some things you can do are practice the interval method for productivity or plan your year out in 90-day blocks with action plans. Having a well-thought-out plan for how you’re going to tackle your work when you are working gives you the flexibility you need to take the time off that you want.
Intentionally taking time off is a necessary part of doing business, especially when your creative and you work by yourself. You need that time away from your office to think about other things, and to socialize with friends and family. You know how important self-care is, both for your personal life and your business, so please don’t put it on the back burner. The only thing you really get from that is burned out, and that’s not going to do anything for your success.