In today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about taking time off from your business.
But I want to warn you: I’m not going to talk about it the same way that other people talk about it!
Let’s dive on in…
Before I talk about how to take more time off from your business, let’s talk about why.
Of course, there are all the usual reasons that are touted by so many people, and yet we still don’t listen to them – such as giving yourself an opportunity to refresh, to re-energise and to get a new perspective.
Also, we didn’t start this business so that we could work 16-hour days, seven days a week and totally burn ourselves out.
We created these businesses so that we could also achieve our life goals and our lifestyle goals.
There are all of those “normal reasons” for wanting to take time off from your business…
It’s really great for:
- Your health and well-being
- Your relationships
- Those craft projects or that reading project that you never got around to finishing
There are so many great benefits for you personally in taking that time out from your business. But also it’s about taking time out for your business, because ultimately you are your business’s greatest asset, and in taking time out from your business, you are actually nurturing its most valuable asset.
We don’t often think about the bottom line of not taking time out…
What is the cost to your business?
What is the cost of you continuing this cycle of working long days, not taking breaks, not getting rest, losing motivation and finding it harder and harder to get back on the bandwagon when something goes awry in your business?
Hopefully you understand why it’s so valuable to your business, to yourself, and all the other facets of your life, to take time out from your business.
The first thing I want to give you are the “normal steps and strategies” to taking time out.
1. Schedule the time in
Pick a time. Pick a date in the future – maybe it’s three months from now or six months from now – book a week off or two weeks off.
Schedule it into the calendar and make sure that everyone knows it’s coming and prepare yourself for it. Prepare your business for it.
2. Systemise things
Make sure that you have the team members in place to keep things going for you.
Prepare for it by preparing your potential customers and existing customers by telling them that you’re closed for those dates.
That is something that I will be doing for my wedding (some of my team members are coming to my wedding!) so there will be an extended period of time this year when I will be taking time out for my business.
Things will pretty much shut down and that is totally okay as well – we will be prepared for that.
3. Take the leap
Just trust that everything’s going to be okay and act as if you’re already living that successful multi-millionaire lifestyle.
This is just your “normal” so act as if it is totally normal and take that leap!
I also want to talk about taking time off from your business through a different lens:
It’s not all or nothing.
It doesn’t have to be this big “all or nothing” decision all of the time.
There are other ways to take time out in your business and for your business, in ways that don’t necessarily require that ginormous commitment, and all of those other things that I just said would be great things to set you up for that success.
If taking two weeks out of your business right now feels like it would be total agony for you or it’s just not possible, start to think about other ways you can take time out without it being an all or nothing proposition.
For example, maybe it’s about setting a new routine – maybe what you need to do is actually reduce your work hours from now.
Instead of working 40-50 hours a week right now, reduce that back. Aim for 30 hours a week for the next five weeks. Measure the time that you’ve put into your business and start bringing those hours down.
Remember Parkinson’s Law: A project or task will expand to take up the time that you give it.
Let’s start bringing those boundaries back in and have a hard finish time, every single day.
That’s something that I do quite meticulously, and I’m very conscious of it.
My partner David is also involved in that and makes sure that I stop when I say I’m going to stop each day. That really helps me to get that reset and refresh that I need on a daily basis, rather than waiting until I go on holidays for three weeks.
I think that this can sometimes happen when we come from a corporate background or we’ve seen what happens in the corporate world.
You get four weeks off a year in Australia – I’ve just discovered so many countries don’t do even four weeks off! They might do two weeks off in the summer, or something like that. Oh my goodness!
We’re used to just consistently working 40-hour weeks with only getting our weekends. You might also have a couple of public holidays, and then you get your four weeks off per year.
We don’t have to subscribe to that model when we are self-employed!
We don’t have to do that anymore.
Something that’s been a goal of mine, and I’ve hit it many times (and I’ve also NOT hit it many times), is to work less than 20 hours a week.
I had a little period where I was doing less than 15 hours a week, and I felt like it wasn’t actually the right balance for me. I wanted more work time.
When I got down to 15 hours in a week, I was starting to feel was like I was missing it – I had FOMO for my business – whereas when I was at 20 hours, it felt like that was really the right fit.
Now 20 hours a week is my normal workweek.
I would say 50% of the time I’m under or around 20 hours, and 50% of the time, I might creep up to 25.
Maybe in a tough week, it’s 30, but it’s definitely never above 30.
That’s a really good feeling for me, and that means I don’t feel this compelling need to always have extended periods of time off in my business.
Another way you can create that “time out” in your business without necessarily making it an all or nothing proposition is to take time off from parts of your business.
I do this really regularly – I will block out weeks where I don’t have any client sessions.
For one week per month, I will have that whole week blocked out.
I might still do things behind the scenes of my business – I still meet with my team, I’m still doing Facebook things – but I’m just not having client sessions in that time, or group calls in that particular week.
I actually have three days a week where I have no external facing time.
There are definitely exceptions to that.
For example, when I’m doing a daily Facebook Live for something like Tashmas, or if I’m doing a challenge or I’m doing something in the lead up to a launch, I might still do some Facebook Lives.
But I still have those three days a week where I have no client-facing time. And if I can, no public-facing time as well.
It’s a really great balanced way of doing business.
When people are working with me one-on-one, and even in my group programs, most calls are done on a Tuesday or Thursday, while Monday, Wednesday and Friday aren’t necessarily client-facing times.
I’m allowed to break that rule if I want to, and it’s totally up to me. But by having that loose boundary on things, my life is so much easier.
It also means that I’m consistently feeling like I’ve got time to work on my business instead of constantly being in my business.
You can also think about ways to take time off from certain parts of your business.
One way is no client-facing time, but you can also do the opposite where you only do client-facing time.
Often this is what I will do – I will have my team meeting on Monday, and I will say, “Look, I’m feeling a bit burnt out at the moment, so I’m just going to do the client-facing time this week, and all the other stuff is going to have to be delayed until next week,” and my team works around that.
There are some really cool ways that you can take time out from parts of your business.
That helps to give you that sense of spaciousness, and all of those benefits of taking time off your business without necessarily having to do it as all or nothing.
Then we think sometimes that we need to go away overseas to go on these long breaks and all those sorts of things.
Honest Dave and I will often just take two days off in the middle of a week where we’ll go somewhere locally, or we’ll stay at home, work on other projects or just have a Netflix day.
Those short breaks and being able to have them makes me really, really grateful for the days when I am working in my business.
As I said before, when I got down to 15 hour weeks, I was actually really missing my business, and that was such an amazing feeling.
It was so nice to know that my business was still such a big driver for me. I was still so passionate about it and I wanted to be in my business. I wasn’t just doing it because I had to.
By just starting with some shorter breaks more regularly, you can start to build up to more consistent longer breaks if you need.
I would recommend that you take a long weekend as a minimum at least once a month.
Give yourself a Friday or a Monday off and actually take that break.
Those shorter breaks are great practice, and it’s great to see where you feel those feelings of guilt or worry or anxiety because you need to keep checking things.
Sometimes it’s just a habit as well. You’ll be able to pay attention to those habits and start to shift those and change them in your mini-break practices so that when you do book in that longer period of time off, you’ll know what your triggers are, what your worries are, where you need to be prepared, and where you need to shift up those habits.
I know some people who completely delete all the business-related apps off their phone whilst they’re on holiday.
They still have their phone, they can still take photos, but they have no Facebook app, they have no email app there – none of those sorts of things.
All they can do is call, text message, or take photos, and they really lock down their phone so that it just does the things that they need when they’re on holidays.
Keep your Google Maps on because #TashGetsLostALot!
I don’t go that far – I just don’t have alerts on my phone for those apps. I still do have the apps though.
Sometimes I do notice myself reaching for the phone. I’ll just quickly check my Facebook and it’s so powerful to notice that moment.
That moment gives you that beautiful opportunity to check-in, and think about what:
- Happened just before that?
- Was I thinking about just before that?
- Were the thoughts creeping into my head?
- Were the worries?
A lot of the time for me, it’s about feeling guilty about taking time out.
I know that actually allowing myself to experience that feeling – seeing it, paying attention and noticing – is the fastest track for me to actually dig into where it’s come from and clear it.
Have a think about shorter breaks so you can take and pay attention to those different things that you do – those habits or those worries that creep in for you in the short breaks. That’s going to be great homework to prepare you for your longer breaks.
Another way of taking time out is to go on a retreat.
That may be going on a solo retreat on your own – I do that three times a year now and I totally love it… I go away and leave Davey behind with Munchkin.
I book a hotel or Airbnb for myself with really fast internet and great sound and acoustics so I can record a bunch of podcast episodes and get a bunch of work done. Maybe something with a nice walk and great restaurants nearby.
I book in at least four days for a solo retreat regularly for myself.
You can also go on retreats with other people.
I’m actually looking for and considering a couple of different one-on-one retreats that I’m going to be doing next year.
I’ve already decided that in two months of next year, I’m going to go on retreats that are facilitated. There are a couple of amazing ladies who run single day VIP retreats where you just go and work together for one day, but you have your accommodation for two days before and two days after, and the same space.
You’ve got kind of a solo retreat but with a guest appearance of someone in the middle.
There’s also a group one that I’m considering. I’m also looking at people to reach out to and say, “Hey, I want to go on a retreat here. How much would it cost for me to fly you out for a couple of days to do some work with me on things that I want to work on in my business?”
Those types of time out from my business is really stepping me away from being in the business to working on the business, and they’re hyper-powerful in the preparation for those retreats.
I’m very productive with getting things done before I go.
I recently went on retreat to Bali, and that was a “doing” retreat. Laura, who’s one of my team members, was sending through all these tasks for me to do whilst I was there, and in the couple of weeks before I was going,
I was so excited for the retreat – just amped up and motivated – that I was doing all my Bali homework before I even got on the plane to go away.
It was such an amazing feeling.
It was so cool to look back and see how much work I got done in the two weeks before I went away – I wrote two books and created two courses,
I ended up creating half a third course, I caught up on a bunch of admin stuff, I wrote email sequences and I redid sales pages. I totally revamped a bunch of things in my business.
It was so amazing to see that it all happened not just on the retreat, but in the lead-up and the follow up as well!
Even now, a few weeks later, I’m still feeling like I’m in this hyper-productive zone.
I’m really riding that wave of productivity and efficiency that came from going away on a working retreat.
One of the things I do recommend if you go on retreat is to make sure that you don’t have that client-facing time whilst you’re there.
I usually break this rule for one or two people. Every time I do break that rule, I think to myself that next time I won’t do that and I’m actually going to really take that time away and not have any client-facing time while I’m on retreat.
This last time I did that and I stayed true to that. It was a much different feeling.
There’s a bunch of different ways that you can take time off from your business and for your business.
I hope that this has planted the seed for you that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing.
I’m not saying that you need to take four weeks off every quarter and be totally detached from your business all of the time.
For people like me, sometimes that just doesn’t feel like it’s reasonable. And it’s not something I particularly desire to do.
After two weeks away from my business, I am itching to get back.
I love the balance that it’s created for my business.
I’ve found a way to not only build my lifestyle, but also build these mini-break approaches as well as the longer-term approach.
I hope that you can find something that totally works for you as well!
If you have any questions, please come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group and share using #podcastaha and the episode number (192).
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.