As an entrepreneur or small business owner aren’t you under a great deal of pressure to attract more clients in order to have a full practice? Your job is to increase your net revenues. But when you work in your business from the early morning until late into the evening and then take work home with you on weekends you lose your productivity and creativity.
Your corporate friends have the luxury of shutting the door in the large office complex and commuting home, forgetting about work until the next day. But you’re running your own show so the buck stops with you, and your tendency will be to burn the midnight oil because of fear of failure and pride in your company. Unfortunately that’s a recipe for burnout and bankruptcy because of all the reasons outlined below.
Pay attention to these four. I know them by heart from years of experience as an entrepreneur and I also observe and work on them every day with the private clients I mentor and coach for greater small business success.
1) Your Lack of Free Time is Danger Sign
Do you ever feel guilty or worried that if you take time away your business it will suffer? I’m here to tell you that such gut feelings are a red flag from your entrepreneurial intuition – and you need to heed the warnings. If you cannot step away from work without things falling apart, that’s the tip of the iceberg of a much deeper fundamental problem. Nobody can run a successful business unless they are able to stand back from it and gain an objective perspective, and if you aren’t able to do that you need to address that issue fast.
In my work with clients we find that the solution typically involves implementation of more efficient systems and intelligent organization, plus professional development of yourself and your employees. To be at the helm you must be able to delegate responsibility and position yourself as the business leader, not the beast of burden. Otherwise your company will never be competitive and your lack of agility and flexibility will be your biggest and most costly obstacle to success.
2) Recharge Your Batteries for Higher Productivity
Research shows that walking away from work now and then significantly boosts productivity and enhances performance. Take a weekend to get away from business related activities and spend time with friends and family. Nourish yourself in that way and let yourself get into a “flow state” or stress-free zone for a day or two while enjoying a hobby or other healthy and fun activity.
Doing so actually triggers the release of chemicals in your brain that improve focus, clarity, creativity, and high morale. Not doing so, on the other hand, can contribute to high blood pressure, anxiety, lethargy, and depression – plus chronic relationship problems and a shortened lifespan.
3) Time Away Equals Greater Creativity
Some of the most ingenious ideas and innovative solutions come to people not while they are slaving at the office but while they are walking along a beach, hiking a mountain trail, or spending time with children in the park. It’s amazing how many of my clients begin to think differently about their business strategies and get flashes of out-of-the-box inspiration and ideas because they read a novel or go to a matinee movie.
Change your perspective about time away from your business. Start to view it as a mandatory strategy to fuel the bottom line. Get your creative juices flowing to invite breakthroughs and insights that will otherwise be blocked because you aren’t doing the things that sharpen vision, fuel creativity, and put you in touch with your magical business intuition.
4) Schedule Appointments for Free Time
You think “I’ll take a day or weekend off soon,” but then your calendar gets booked so you push that free time to the back burner. That’s why you have to take this business of time away very seriously. Treat it the way you would a meeting with an elite client, because time off can potentially generate that same level of results.
Then do as I do, and work harder and longer right before you take that day or weekend off, so that it feels more like a reward and you appreciate the precious time even more. But make the commitment and honor it because free time is not child’s play or escapism – it’s an essential business investment and entrepreneurial strategy.
Don’t let “vacation guilt” or poor management keep you from a healthy work/life balance. While your business is a very important component of your life it’s just one dimension of a multifaceted experience and greater journey. I don’t want you to look back over your life with any regret that you didn’t spend more time with the people you love, doing the things that are meaningful to you and make you happiest. Don’t procrastinate! Pencil in that stay-cation or weekend away today!
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Business Coaching, provides leading-edge business building strategies for small business owners & entrepreneurs who wish to take their company to the next level.
Illustra Business Coaching
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.
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