The closing in the email I read this morning was, I hope you have a weekend! I assumed she forgot to put great, pleasant, fun or any other positive adjective before the word weekend.
Simultaneously, it occurred to me, the closing was inspired…and just the message I needed to read. Do I have weekends? Are my weekends any different than a work day?
As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it seems I’m working all the time. I know I’m not the only one. Weekdays and weekends kind of meld together so the work gets done.
Yet, I know better and I bet you do too.
Studies have shown that performance increases after breaks of all durations…whether an extended vacation or a brief 30 seconds. Simply put, you get more done when you step back and recharge the brain and body. The creative, problem-solving capacity is fired up with more energy and focus. Often solutions can be created in a shorter period of time.
Yesterday, a friend, who happens to be an entrepreneur (they do make outstanding friends), told me she was going to go to a movie Saturday, something she hadn’t done for over 2 years, instead of working in her home office, developing her business.
You have to wonder, what makes it hard for entrepreneurs, like us, to schedule time off and have a weekend?
In this article…
I’ll present 6 popular excuses entrepreneurs make for skipping the needed time off. Then, I’ll offer reasoning the savvy entrepreneur can adopt to override these excuses. Taking time off should be on the top of the list of strategies for enhancing business productivity and ultimately, business success.
Are any of these excuses familiar?
1—I’m the only one who can do it right.
Letting go is hard. Letting go is giving up some control. Successfully letting go involves a level of trust. It also involves easing up on the perfectionist attitude that there’s only one way of doing things. It’s easier to let go of tasks you’re not so good at or don’t really enjoy. For me, that’s bookkeeping, editing and marketing.
When you’re starting a business and for that matter throughout the life of your business, your involvement is needed on every level. Yet, to grow and really thrive, delegating and letting go of tasks you don’t enjoy as well as tasks you do enjoy must happen so you can continue to nurture the business growth.
2—I can’t afford to hire anyone, so I’m it!
Monies are tight in the beginning for many entrepreneurs starting a business. It’s ideal to have the sufficient funding, but that isn’t always the case.
Yet, investing in the business infrastructure is needed to sustain and support the growth of your business with satisfied customers who love your product and services. No doubt, it’s a balancing challenge, yet one that all entrepreneurs must seriously plan around.
It’s so much easier to take time off if you have people and systems in place to do the work while you are gone. Begin now, if you haven’t already, to plan for coverage so you can take regular time off.
3—I love working.
Good on you truly. My hope is that everyone loves working.
Variety is the spice of life is an eighteenth century saying which I think is apropos for the twenty-first century healthy entrepreneur as well. Nurturing your creativity often requires stepping away from the familiar and welcoming variety.
I love my work…always have. Yet, when I take time away to enjoy a symphony or opera I’m elevated to another level of appreciation and beauty. When I watched Cirque du Soleil’s show, Quidam, I was transported to a place of awe and fascination. Watching a NASCAR-type car race or participating in a sweat lodge with friends provided some spice ( temporary hearing loss, dust and sweat) to my ordinary week.
I’m nurtured and take that well-being to work so I can be there refreshed and inspired for my clients.
We need to develop all of our senses and experience different environments. We also need to be available to the friends and family who deserve our undivided attention.
4—I’d rather work than clean house.
I get it. Unless you clean house as a part of your Zen practice, it can feel anything but joyous to tackle the mess. Hiring someone to clean makes sense…it’s another task you could choose to pay someone else to do.
Or, make it a fun family affair with rewards afterwards like a movie and sushi or favorite sugary, salty foods like Haagen Dazs chocolate almond covered ice cream bars or buttered popcorn.
Make non-work relaxing. Finish your household/personal tasks. Plan a massage or long walk. Perhaps a good novel and time alone reading, falling asleep whenever and for however long.
5—I’m better at work than anywhere else.
It’s great to receive positive feedback from work. There’s nothing better than the satisfied customer who goes the next step to write a testimonial or personally share their enthusiasm your product or service has made to their life.
But, what’s the hard truth? Are you avoiding relationships elsewhere because they are difficult? Are you using work to satisfy all your personal needs for love and support?
If the answer is no, again great. If there is a yes, please consider taking time away from work to do some self-reflection and if needed, consult with a trusted friend or professional.
To the extent you are happy personally, your work benefits. To the extent you are happy with work, your personal life benefits.
Both need regular check-ups. Time away from work is needed to properly attend to your personal relationships.
6—I don’t know what to do with myself—I don’t know how to play or relax.
Some of us are not wired to slow down easily and the transition from work to relaxation takes a while. Perhaps we grew up in an environment where relaxation, vacations and play was nonexistent.
Playing for fun is sometimes hard to do because we’ve been so used to performing. I played the cello through college, taking lessons and performing in symphonies and various occasions like weddings and church choir performances. It seemed strange when someone suggested I play for fun and join a community orchestra.
Sometimes the challenge is to identify activities you’d like to learn like bird watching, salsa dancing, playing the ukulele, riding a motorcycle, or taking voice lessons. Ask a child to teach you a game. Not only will you have fun, but you’re going to stay current on what the younger generation likes.
The takeaway is…
Entrepreneurs who plan for time off from work are contributing to creating an environment for enhanced business productivity which brings a fresh, energized perspective that’s effective and efficient.
Plus, a rested, nurtured owner is more appealing to be around and attractive to employees, customers and/or clients…partners, friends and neighbors too!
Remember, it’s not only about having fun or merely relaxing. Taking time off from work relieves stress, helps us grow as people and avoid burnout.
Go ahead, override the excuses. Have a weekend!
I’d love to know: What is your favorite weekend get-away activity?
I’m available for a complimentary strategy session to help you achieve desired goals around work/life harmony, including having weekends! Please let me know you’re interested by contacting me. I’ll be in touch…after the weekend 😉