The most common reasons I hear from folks who want to start their own business is a desire for more flexibility, so they can work on their own time, have more freedom and have more spare time. I caution new business owners that the business will require their attention twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Later, many have told me it was true. You’re either working in your business, on your business or thinking about ways to make it grow. Soon, it evolves into a lifestyle and not just a job.
Without you, the business could probably operate but not as smoothly or efficiently. A sense of responsibility is inherent in being the boss, but don’t be afraid to take time off from your business. Taking time away from the business has been proven to reduce stress, refresh creativity and increase productivity. When you step back and recharge the brain and the body, you can accomplish more in less time.
This time of year, while business tends to be slower, is the ideal time to take a break, refresh and recharge. Here are some ways you can do that and not feel the pangs of guilt.
Plan in advance. Notify key clients, customers and suppliers you will not be available for a certain period of time. Tell them when you will return. Offer an alternative if an emergency arises.
You can even close the store. Notify everyone in advance and post a sign saying you’re on vacation and when you will return. A number of small businesses do this every year. Their customers understand and are happy to see them when they reopen.
Delegate or postpone some responsibilities or tasks. If you work with a partner or employees, discuss which of your responsibilities they need to look after. If you are a one-person operation, postpone tasks until your return.
Home based businesses are more difficult. A flexible work schedule allows you to take time off, but you may find it tough to separate yourself from the work when your office is just footsteps away.
Disconnect when you do get away. You’ve notified the necessary folks, put a notice on your website, email and voice mail, now unplug. If you are a serious worrier pick one hour each day to check messages. If you are concerned about security, get a security system.
Start small and work your way up. Take short breaks during the day. Get up, go outside, walk around the block, pull some weeds in the garden. Get away for lunch. Start a hobby that requires some focus, exercise, do Yoga or tennis, even running.
Using some of the ideas above, begin taking half-days off. Then try a full day off. From there you can continue to increase your relax and recharge time. After all, you’re the boss, you don’t have to make up any excuses.
It takes real effort to disconnect your mind from work, but if you want to avoid burnout and maximize your potential it’s a step you need to take. Taking time away from the business has been proven to reduce stress, refresh creativity and increase productivity and efficiency. When you step back and recharge the brain and the body you will get more done in less time.
Let me know your thoughts at email@example.com.
For more information and assistance working in or on your business, request a mentor from Port Charlotte SCORE at www.portcharlotte.score.org. Volunteers provide confidential business advice to meet the needs of both start-up and existing entrepreneurs at no cost. To learn how you can become a SCORE volunteer contact Nils.Weibull@scorevolunteer.org. Follow us on Twitter; @charlottecscore