It’s hard to find the time to take time off. That’s such a silly thought, isn’t it? We get into running our own businesses because we want to have more freedom and flexibility but really, we’re working more than we ever have before. Especially in the beginning.
It’s like, we know we have to take time off in order to remain sane but we’re always digging up reasons not to; we’re constantly coming up with excuses as to why we have to be at our computers or our sewing machines for hours on end without a break. Six or Seven days a week.
There are the semi-legitimate excuses like…
- I have bills to pay
- I’m a one person biz, if I don’t do it, no one will
- I don’t want to go on vacation and return to more work than I could possibly handle and eventually have a nervous breakdown
Then there are the not-so-legitimate excuses like…
- I work best when I’m crazy busy
- I don’t actually like taking time off, I love what I do so much that I would get bored
- If I take time off, I’ll lose my business
One time I actually convinced myself that if I took some time off, my emails would go unanswered for a few days, and if one of those emails were from a potential StartUp FASHION sponsor we could lose out on a big part of our funding, and if that happened I would not be able to keep my team on, and then I wouldn’t be able to do everything by myself, and I would eventually have to close the business. All from taking a long weekend. That’s insane. Though I didn’t see how insane it was at the time. It all seemed like a very logical case against enjoying the Memorial Day weekend.
Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you? I’m thinking they do. Because I see you, designers. I see you working so hard you get no sleep, I see you running around like a farm animal without all its appendages, and I see you refusing to take time off.
But you have to. That’s it. You have to.
You have to take breaks, you have to take time off.
I know you’ve heard this before, I had too. I usually just rolled my eyes or said “Yeah, I know…” and then kept on running myself ragged.
But then I stopped. I stopped because I realized that I was hurting myself and my business by not giving myself time to recharge. I needed to give myself a chance to resuscitate the energy and focus I bring to my business.
When we allow ourselves to take time off, whether that’s an hour a day dedicated to reading and tea or a no-work-weekends policy or a vacation at least once a year, it’s amazing what it does for ourselves and for our businesses.
I find that when I take time off, I’m more motivated and excited and full of plans than I’d been in a while. I’m thrilled and inspired and can’t wait to create all these new ideas.
So here are some things that I’ve started to implement into my life and my business that have really helped me and hopefully could help you too.
- I make time for reading a book every day. Even if it’s a business book. It’s about relaxing and removing myself from the computer for an hour.
- I start my day more slowly. I will admit I’m still working on this one, but I try not to wake up, roll over, and start working on my phone before I’ve even had time to brush my teeth.
- I make one day each weekend no-work.
- I enjoy holiday weekends the way they are meant to be enjoyed.
- The one thing I haven’t done yet but plan to this year is to travel without working. I travel so often, it’s tough not to work, but at least once a year I will take a trip and not work.
The thing I’ve come to realize is that we’re doing this stuff to ourselves; we’re the ones telling ourselves we aren’t allowed to take time off, not others. The world won’t end and the business won’t crumble. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that.
Remember, we will always have to-do lists. Always. As business owners, they will never go away. But it’s up to us to make sure that those lists don’t rule us. We run our businesses, not the other way around.
All my love and encouragement,