One of the safest things you can do personally is overcommit yourself. Unfortunately, it is perhaps the worst thing you can do to your business. The security of proving how busy you are and using busyness as a gauge for success will ultimately drop the quality of your interactions, your service and your health. Fighting to be the busiest entrepreneur in the room is an arms race you don't want to win.

My personal cure for overscheduling is scheduling a blank day. On a regular basis, I will set aside four to 12 hours dedicated to bettering my mind. There are few phone calls accepted, email is put on pause and meetings are pushed to a later date.

These aren't vacation days, but days of self-driven thought, productivity and realignment. Imagine what you could do with a scheduled day of betterment?

  • Modify your business plan
  • Catch up on must-read materials
  • Call previous clients to reconnect

An "unscheduled" day is integral to my business, but it can feel awkward when you first try it. Here's how you can make your own blank day:

Schedule: Yes, you need to schedule your blank day, particularly if you have other people looking at your calendar. Block off the time. Setting it up like a regular meeting trains you to take the blank time seriously. For me, seeing it on my calendar makes me anticipate that day and gives me something to look forward to.

Commit: It is tempting to schedule one or two regular work activities, but even a brief retreat back into your daily grind can take you out of the zone. Instead, commit to the time away just as you would if you were on a wi-fi free plane, or sitting in a place with poor cell phone reception, or spending quality time with a loved one. In other words, your office is officially closed for the day.

Maximize: Once you realize your day is open, the possibilities will begin to emerge. Remember, it's not a day of rest, but a day of gathering your mental resources without outside commitments. For me, my blank days are when I finish books, go for thoughtful walks and catch up with dormant clients. They are days to restrategize, retool and recommit. It is me sharpening my axe so I can be a more effective warrior.

Are you bold enough to commit to a blank day?

Published on: Dec 18, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.