Gimme a Break – Taking Time Off

“Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that kit kat bar!”

As the Kit Kat Commercial implies, sometimes we all need a break. And whether it’s 5-minutes to enjoy something sweet, or a weekend where you unplug and reengage in real life, it’s important to remember that its okay to take that time for yourself. Many small business owners and writers get so wrapped up in deadlines and work that they forget to stop.

In my household we joke that we don’t know what the word “rest” or “sleep” means. Both my roommate and I work full time and run our own businesses, after we finished our day jobs. That means a lot of late nights and crazy weekends. Both of us thrive in that environment – we like to go-go-go-go. But it’s important some times to remember to stop.

For the last two weekends in a row I’ve signed offline and stayed off for most of the weekend–and you know what? The sky didn’t start falling. The world didn’t end. And I rediscovered how amazing and incredible the guy I’m dating is; when I re-focused on work on Monday, I was able to look at things with a fresh perspective that allowed me to get more done. Obviously, I can’t do that every weekend, but it’s important to remember to do it some weekends. Creating a good work-life balance is essential to succeeding in the business sphere.

Unfortunately, this is something I used to be good at, then forgot all about. Recently, however, I’m beginning to get the scales back into alignment. Here are some of the tricks I use to stop from burning myself out:

Tip #1: Schedule In Down Time – I planned a weekend camping trip last weekend; it forced me to completely unplug. I loaded camping equipment into backpacks and we hiked into the woods. My phone was off, because it didn’t get reception anyway. I focused on the nature around me and on the simple things – building a fire, cooking food over it, cuddling up next to it with my hunnie… it felt good to get away, knowing that I had planned that time off and my deadlines weren’t going to suffer for it.

Tip #2: Reward Yourself with Time Off - When working for yourself, it’s important to remember to reward yourself with a lack of work, or the deadlines just pile up and you begin to burn out and feel overwhelmed. While it’s not the same as earning days, I reward myself with 5-45 minute breaks while doing work. Once I finish a particular assignment or reach a notable milestone, I put down work and do something else for a while. Sometimes, I read a chapter of a book (one I’m reading for personal pleasure), other times I get a snack, still other times I’ll watch a show on Hulu. Even if you only take 5 minutes to eat a Kit Kat bar, the sugar will give you the energy to sit back down and accomplish a bit more.

Tip #3: Stop work for the day when the work is going well – Hemmingway said, “I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.” The idea is that if you stop while the going is good, then when you sit down to continue working on it the next day, you will know where to start, getting you back into the swing of things and helping you to gain momentum again.

Related Posts with Thumbnails