Take Time Off

There are many reasons why we choose to have our own businesses. They range from the ‘I simply couldn’t find a job I wanted to do so I created my own’ to the ‘I can earn more if I do it for myself’. From the ‘I want the flexibility in hours to fit around my family’ to the ‘I want to prove to myself I can do it’. There are no reasons that are better than others, they are all good reasons.

Whatever your reason for being self-employed, it’s a perfect reason for you.

Having a small business means doing everything yourself and we find that our skill set increases exponentially once we to begin to wear all the different hats that we need to wear. From doing our books, to ordering stock; from selling to happy customers to dealing with complaints, the small business owner does it all.

Working for ourselves is dramatically different from being an employee. For a start, our job description can be summed up in a couple of words: I do everything. Also different is that there is no one to ask if we want to take time off. We have to manage your own time off and this can cause big problems for us.

Many businesswomen work themselves into the ground. They work 12+ hour days and never take time off. Many of us simply can’t see how we can step off the carousel without the whole game being up, so we stay on it. Clearly, this can’t be healthy.

How Can We Justify Time Off?

Imagine that your wellbeing is a bucket of water. When the bucket is full, we are happy and healthy. Life tends to poke holes in the bucket; demands on our time, our families, our friends, difficult customers, proposals that need writing, stock that needs counting. Many things poke holes in our buckets. Some holes are little, some are much bigger. The water draining from the holes in our bucket results in our health and mental wellbeing becoming negatively impacted. Our responsibility to ourselves, to our families and to our businesses is to refill the bucket on a regular basis. Refilling our buckets will be a different process for each of us, but it invariably means taking some time for ourselves.

How To Refill Your Bucket

We all have different ways of filling our buckets. I fill mine by playing the piano. I take an hour a week for a lesson and 5 or 6 10 minute opportunities a day to practise whatever pieces I’m learning. I take those 5 or 6 little breaks to clear my mind and to do something I love. Those little oases fill my bucket. I am a nicer person because of them. My business blossoms because I am a happier person and I know that my clients and colleagues benefit from my clear mind and my subsequent focus.

You might choose to go to the gym a few times a week, or take a ballet class. Maybe you like to walk your dog or go for a run. Perhaps painting, embroidery, knitting or sewing is your thing. Whatever it is that you enjoy, take some time to do it. There is a lot of truth in the saying ‘all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl’ (you see what I did there?).

A lovely client of mine recently told me that she had ‘fallen off the wagon’ as far as her business focus was concerned. When pressed, she admitted that she’d taken a couple of hours off to go to a ballet class. Bloody good for her! That isn’t falling off the wagon, that’s filling her bucket and that’s a great thing. It’s a critically important thing.

What’s the point of it all if we can’t enjoy the benefits of a flexible work schedule?