Right here goes, now I’m back blogging here is the first in a series of blogs based around questions or areas that keep popping up since I left full-time employment 7 years ago and set out on the path of sole trader/business owner.
When do you take time off?
I like most, I guess, read the “How to do well in business” help books and listened to all those business men and women I admired who said things like “You never get anywhere without putting the hours in” – both overwhelmingly pointing in the direction of success being acheived through 24/7 dedication to your business goals.
But where does that leave time for yourself…………
So there I was 7 years ago loads of ideas, goals and a fledging business to run and I was led by those directions above I threw myself wholeheartedly 24/7 into my business. At first 24/7 was fine, enthusiasm and andrenilin (when was the next invoice payment coming in) got me through the first 6 months and at the time I thought the next 6 months, but in honest hindsight the cracks where already starting the show.
End of year 1 – So are you going to take some time off now………
We got to end of year 1 almost at break even – A SUCCESS – but that just made me push harder for the next goal a profit and I returned in Year 2 to working and being the business 24/7.
Year 2 – Seriously now you need to take some time off you’re not going to be well………
Year 2 came and went buoyed by a new focus with the business quality assurance and governance for all social care services alongside a wider client base – the length and breadth of the country (lots more travelling and hotel stop overs included now) – but still with the direction ringing in my head – you have to put the work in to be a success.
Year 3 – Will you just pack it in and take some time away from the business………
The stream of statements above come from both my subconscious and I have to say my wonderful wife Helen. However it wasn’t until Year 3 that I actually started to listen….
I took time away from the business – again in the interests of honestly not a total blanket stop I still looked at emails (less often) and made no visits on those periods. And the statements changed.
Year 4,5,6 – Now don’t you feel better and more productive 😀…….
Plain and not so simple answer was Yes and No. Yes I felt better in myself for having a break but no in some ways as I still thought what have I missed whilst taking a break.
Year 4,5,6 – What about trying mindfulness to understand the purpose of taking a break………
So I did and after much thought I came to the realisation it’s wasn’t about being away from work it’s about looking after my own wellbeing.
Year 6 – was that not why you left the full-time LA job to have more personal quality mental, physical wellbeing and spend more time with the family……..
Yes, yes it was!!! how had it taken me 6 years to go back to the original purpose and main priority achievement of leaving to set up on my own, not sure, but I am here now. It’s never been about the money (although that’s good don’t get me wrong) it’s about taking care of me! As when I’m good, life is great, work is awesome and I am able to be the best that I can be in that moment👍
Year 7 – let me ask you again then “When do you take time off?”………..
I listen to my body and brain and it lets me know when it’s time to take a break.
This year we are trying the old school term method of scheduling a break every 6 weeks so I go no longer with work – this is my limit before it affects my mental wellbeing.
Now more than ever I speak to close friends and business associates that I can see doing similar things that I did in the start, so I say to everyone
Sit down, take time out and set your own boundaries of working versus time off based on the purpose of what your top priority achievement is. In doing so I’m sure you’ll benefit in all areas of “work, rest and play” (Mars bar for those old enough to remember 😃)
Thank you for reading and remember “with hope and belief there are no limitations”
Till next time, Stephen