Last blog post we talked about working on your business versus working in your business. This post I want to talk to you about not working on your business at all. That’s right, I want to address “time off.”
The one thing we are thrilled to have as a benefit of being an entrepreneur is having flexibility. We can take a vacation whenever we want. We can have lunch with a friend and not worry about the time. We can stop in the middle of a workday to do something fun. It’s the luxury of feeling a little under the weather and being able to spend the rest of the day relaxing watching movies or playing cheap PC games until you feel up to working again. Flexibility is a precious part of being your own boss and it’s what everyone who wishes they were self-employed craves.
But having flexibility can also get you in trouble as an entrepreneur. You may not commit to something because you want to be flexible. You may use your flexibility to procrastinate doing business activities you don’t enjoy doing. You may use it unconsciously to self-sabotage.
What’s the solution? How can you walk that fine line of being flexible and being responsible and accountable?
The answer is to actually schedule your free time. One of my coaches taught us to begin our 12-month yearly business plan by scheduling our time off. When would we take vacations? When would we take mini-trips? What days would we take off?
When you plug in the free time first you address the part of you that wants that flexibility. You are creating your time consciously and deliberately and not allowing that flexibility work against you.
Time off may look like going to the beach, getting your nails done, having a long lunch with your spouse/friend, going for a walk, or playing with your pet. Whatever it is you can schedule it into your workday. For example, if you want to fly somewhere different for your vacation, you can always bring your laptop along and work on the plane. Since commercial flights are often so crowded, it may be worth looking into private planes, such as the ones you can charter through Jettly.com, because they have more space and more privacy which allows you to get more work done. Combining vacation time and work is a great way to take the break you need while remaining on top of your business.
An example of how you might schedule your time off is as follows:
- Schedule the month of July for summer vacation
- Plan any events you want to attend or give
- Monthly commitments- hair/nails/clothing shopping, etc.
- Commit to have weekends off for family time
- Monday mornings are time for planning rest of the week
- Clients time blocks- Tuesday/Thursday
- Business development time block- Wednesday mornings
- VIP Day for clients- Fridays
- First 20 minutes of day- scripting/journaling/meditation
- Schedule 10-minute breaks throughout the day
By blocking out your free time first, you have taken advantage of your flexible schedule and you will be more productive during your work time. Why is that? Because you can be more focused when you are relaxed. In fact studies have shown that people who take regular vacations, and breaks from their work are indeed more productive. Taking a break/vacation could mean taking a week off to go and visit another country, with the number of things to do in Houston, TX, San Fransisco, CA, and so many other places around the world – there’s a range of options! This could also mean just taking a few days off to relax and pamper yourself from the comfort of your own home. Whatever it is, ensure you take some take off here and there so you can be more productive during your working hours!
You’ll find that you HAVE to be more productive anyways as there is less time. Now you may be thinking, but I don’t have enough time to take time off. But stop and think about how much time you waste in a day. Isn’t it because you really just needed a break? Are you really making full use of those working hours?
By scheduling your time off first, you are deliberately creating your business life and in exchange, for the free time, your responsibility is to be fully engaged in your business activities during work time. If you need more clarification, talk to your employer about your PTO policy to see how it fits in with your responsibilities and time off.
Now you are ready to schedule your time for working IN your business and ON your business.