At time of writing, this is my last How To Guide of the year but the principles of the guide could be used at any time when you’re preparing to truly rest and begin again well.
Like all things in life, our businesses ebb and flow. However as business owners we often don’t ebb and flow that well ourselves but rather strive to ‘keep going’ either to manage busy times or to seek busy times when things are more quiet. It’s the drive that probably started our businesses in the first place but can sometimes become less than helpful and exhausting.
So why write a How To Guide about resting well? Frankly because it’s not actually very easy to do! Not really really well. And it’s worth remembering that a period of rest often precedes times of intense activity again so the rest has a real purpose.
So how can we rest well so that when we begin again, we’re ready to start with genuine energy and focus?
Here are some ideas that have helped me over the years and ideas that have been shared with me that I continue to work towards.
- The first hurdle is to know that we do need to rest properly and to give yourself full permission to do so. It’s all too easy to ‘take a few days off’ but this can be accompanied by pinging phones, email check ins and a few left over tasks that you can do when not working. Mmmm, not ideal. So first up – really KNOW that you need to properly rest and work out when that will be.
- Think about the real PURPOSE of your rest time. Ok, so it’s to rest, but really knowing what it will do for you if you do it well will help you succeed. What are the specifics of your rest time? Is it to rest your weary body or to switch your busy brain off fully or maybe to seek truly quiet time in order to let some creativity back in. Take time to really dig into what will restore you most – good food, fresh air, lots of sleep, exercise, reconnecting with loved ones etc.
- Prepare for your rest time really well. This includes blocking out the time in your diary to make sure you have enough time. It includes making an announcement to your clients, customers & audience that you will be stepping back for a little while. Set your out of office, set up an social media auto responder on your messages and even add a little note on the front of your website. This isn’t bad business. You’re a micro business, not a corporate giant with tons of staff.
- We’re so good at planning our work lives but how about our resting times? Let’s imagine you’re choosing a week of rest, how will you fill your time each day? Will it include long lie ins or time to meditate? Perhaps you want to settle down to a creative project or just find time to think clearly away from the daily chaos of work. If necessary, plan it into the diary and let the people around you know too! Explain to those around you that this is your plan and why it’s so essential for you.
- Remember that time to rest for many of us is also time to start to plan or create for the next period of busy or activity. As you create more space in your head (& heart!) then ideas, plans and decisions might start to bubble up. For me, my rest time always includes clutching a note book. Not to force ideas, but to have something to hand when you’re resting enough for the inspiration to pop back in!
- Finally, use your time of restoration to prepare for what’s next. This requires us to look back at what went well before and what didn’t. For example, are there tasks, activities or even people that suck the very life force from you? Can you delegate some of these tasks, or ring fence the time you do them or step away from people who are draining your energy? Are there tasks that seem to take forever and always leave you short of time for the stuff you love? Are you really clear on the habits you need to create that means you can maintain the energy levels and headspace in the future to do your business well. So – audit what has been, assess the good, bad and ugly and plan to do it a little better in the future.