How to perfect the art of taking a break

We were very aware that this week’s How To Guide would land in your inbox on Easter Monday and it got me thinking about what it’s like to have a bank holiday when you are an independent business owner.

How many of you have just shouted – it’s impossible!?

A theme that we have looked at before, but worth repeating again and again, is the art of taking a break when you are an independent business owner. It is an art. It is a challenge.

Many of us are working in our passion and dreams. We love what we do and love to serve our customers. However, there is a universal law of being human and that says that we can’t give of ourselves unless we have taken care of ourselves first. Quite simply we can’t pour from an empty cup.

It is essential to take a break.

So what are your obstacles? Maybe you do everything in the business and simply can’t step away for even a minute in case the pack of cards falls. Perhaps you are juggling family which means that days off just replace one job with another. Are you working out of fear? Do you feel that if you take your ‘eye of the ball’ for even a day, your customers will simply wander off?

All of these thoughts are normal and most of us feel this way at some point, however, there are some things that you can put in place to help you take a break, step away and get some space without the guilt, fear or panic.

Step this way for some ideas to set you on the way….

  1. Understand the fundamental rule that you can’t pour from an empty cup.  Take a few minutes to really let this concept sink in. If you are worn out then you will have nothing left to give – simple.
  2. Have a good long look at the structure of your business. Make a list of all the things that need to be done in order to deliver the right product or service to your customers – everything from cleaning the office loo to doing the accounts. Divide the list into parts which only you can do e.g. make the product, buy the stock, deliver the service. Then make a list of some activities that you could easily pass to someone else or drop all together e.g. wrapping the products, making the appointments etc. Finally think about the bits in the middle that you could farm out to free up time for you to do the essential bits but you’re not sure yet e.g. book keeping or website updating. This is the golden zone that you can start to make plans for. Start to build a plan to out source maybe one or two tasks so that you can not only focus on being brilliant at what you do but also legitimately take a break when you can with disaster striking.
  3. Plan ahead of time. Make the break the priority and then plan backwards to ensure that there isn’t a gap in your service. You might be able to schedule content to your social media channels or an email to go out to all your subscribers. Perhaps you can simply add an out of office and explain when you will be back.
  4. Little & often works. Don’t feel that you have to build up to a big too week break with all the pressure that might bring. How about planning a weekly day off to keep it simple and to help avoid stress or exhaustion build up. If you have a great customer connection, most people will entirely understand that your office is closed one day a week.

I hope this has been a useful How To and hope that many of you are getting a break from work today. Happy Easter!