As a coach, one of the things that I observe in almost everybody who is not coping in their current business is their inability to take a step back and disconnect. The importance of setting yourself up to take frequent breaks cannot be overstated (even in this current coronavirus climate).
The state you need to be in to be successful
One of the problems with running your own business is that you are more likely to be susceptible to chronic stress.
In running your own business there is generally only a couple of people who will notice that you are not running on all cylinders and the problem is you generally do not listen to them. Or even worse: if they say anything you will probably not respond kindly. Chances are, you are aware that there is an issue, but you are not aware enough of how far you are gone down the scale of breaking down.
Symptoms include getting sick, feeling run down, being snappy, irritability, not coping as well as you normally do, not getting through your work.
No matter the analogy I give you here about cars running on empty or any other piece of equipment and how it operates when it has no energy, we often think we are immune to this.
Can I tell you how many business owners who operate on this system go out of business… Put simply – a lot. Why?
Because you are not paying attention, often until it is too late. How many decisions a day are you making? Thousands of little ones right. All these little decisions made from a poor headspace accumulate to businesses going seriously off course and this means the business ends up having to do a number of serious course corrections over the years.
Most businesses simply cannot financially take this amount of mismanagement.
So, if you see yourself as the pilot, the architect designing your future, or the driver of your business, think about the state you need to be in to be successful.
Setting yourself up for success
Here are three ways to give yourself a break.
1. Setting up your mind, body and soul - daily
Daily habits are critical. If you are not already doing so, I recommend starting every morning with exercise, meditation, and breakfast. Setting up your mind, body and soul is a daily habit, not something you save for a week at a retreat. Consistency rather then intense bursts is key here.
2. Have short intentional breaks - once a month
Every month take 3 days away from your business.
A long weekend once a month allows you to step back from the transactional nature of your role (busy being busy), insert valuable critical thinking time and give your mind a mini-break.
Importantly, take this opportunity to intentionally unplug from technology, your day to day life and routine and allow time for flexibility, spur of the moment writing as ideas come to you, walking in the bush or along the beach (nature in any form).
“Your mind is your most critical asset in business. Think of this time like an oil change.”
Basically, do not do anything that remotely looks like your current routine. Make your mind take notice that this is different and an opportunity for it to also do something different.
3. Plan longer breaks – every quarter
Once a quarter, take a week and getaway. Take your business plan, your financial results and anything else that you need and if you get the urge while you are away taking some time to review your business in its current state.
Take notice of the things that are working well and start making lists of things that need to get fixed. If you are away for a week, I would recommend doing this exercise on day 3 or 4 and then put it away. It is important to critically analyse your business and review how it is tracking. Even if you do not have a budget, you do not forecast anything, or you are uncomfortable with numbers, it is your responsibility to do this regularly.
As for the other 6 days, focus on things that will help you recharge. Massages, swimming in the ocean, read, meditate, exercise, eat well, anything that adds energy to your overall being – do this. Anything that makes you feel like you are recharging your battery – do this.
Do it and enjoy
Take your time right now, to set up healthy daily habits and to schedule time off over the next few months.