Chicago is finally showing signs of spring! For me, it's a wonderful reminder that soon I will want more time away from work to enjoy the beautiful lakefront and all that the Windy City has to offer. After all, isn't this freedom one of the key reasons that we are in business for ourselves?
But many business owners don't allow themselves the luxury of a day off here and there, and certainly not a vacation. This can lead to Business Burnout, and that's not pretty. Business Burnout will make you far less effective, more moody, less decisive and possibly depressed, anxious and resentful. Who wants to do business with someone like that?
It's too difficult to get away.
It's not worth it, because I just come back to a mess.
I might miss an important opportunity if I take time off.
Who will take care of the clients?
No one else can do what I do.
I can't afford to take time off.
It's no fun to take time off if I can't afford to do anything different.
Do any of these statements sound like the recording that's playing in your head right now? If so, guess what? It's time to get away!
Think back to when you launched your business. Make a list of the reasons that you chose to be your own boss. I don't think 'so that I could be tied to my desk and sacrifice life balance' was amongst them. I'm here to offer a gentle reminder that, while the statements above may sound and feel very real, they are merely excuses. The fact is that most entrepreneurs like control, and if you are away from work you don't feel in control, do you? Come on, be honest! If you've put yourself in the position of needing absolute control 100% of the time you are not enjoying the freedom that you crave, are you? So how can you allow yourself the luxury of letting go, just for a while? What do you need to do to prepare for time away, whether it's one day or a week?
If you explore your excuses hard enough you will find the solutions. So maybe you can't afford to hop a jet to Maui, can you invite a friend to take a ride to somewhere fun and different for the day? Or perhaps a day on the golf course or a mini-spa day would be nice. If you are afraid to leave your clients, how can you prepare them for your absence? What needs to be in place to allow for time away? Create another list!
Make the commitment right here in front of thousands of your peers! When will you take a day – or a week - off and what will you do? How can you make coming back to work less painful? What are some creative, fun things you can do on a small budget? And, if you are still resisting, what is the cost of NOT taking some time away? Business Burnout is a direct path to heartbreak, is it worth it? Really?
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka