Today, I’m taking a break.
Seriously though, as entrepreneurs and especially those of us who have businesses that are in their infancy, it is really hard to take a break. Painful, in fact. There is an endless list of to-do’s.
I am sitting right now in Anguilla, a small island near St. Maarten, trying to find the right balance between work and play. This has always been difficult for me. Mainly because I really enjoy my work- it has meaning and purpose. But I also know, that if I don’t stop every now and then I will approach burn out. Which is a dangerous place when you only have a few members on your team. Also, I have a family. It is easy to cast your family aside, to take them for granted and not see how important that time is with them right now. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve done enough for my daughter and husband.
So how do I cope? I think the first important thing to note is that I’ve become perfectly imperfect. There are no true hard and fast rules for me when taking time off or away from work- I like to think of my boundaries as guidelines. I know that there are some things that just need to be dealt with and those are a priority. There are some calls I will have to take. I’ve made peace with that. But there are also calls that can wait. Matters that are not pressing at all and those get put on the ‘when I get home pile’.
I’m clear with my business partners and with my husband. My partners know not to bother me with projects that aren’t pressing when I’m away and I extend the same courtesy with them when they take time off. I’m crystal clear with my husband when it comes to what I have to do and how much time it will take to do it and I make sure he has some alone time or time to deal with work matters as well. I find the more we communicate (in general) the better we are for each other and our daughter.
When I turn off the phone at night, I turn it off. I also don’t sleep with it next to my head. I keep my phone at home and while on vacation very far away from me and when I’m done for the night, I’m done. You’d be surprised how easy it becomes after a few days of doing it! And it’s liberating!
I bring books. No business books. Fiction. Loads of fiction. It’s nice to escape every once and a while and I find that fictional books help me escape further, even if I have to come back for a little while to deal with reality.
I go to bed early. I usually go to bed with my 5 year old while I’m on vacation. It is never a surprise to anyone I vacation with when they find out I passed out at 8:30pm. I’m making up for tons of lost sleep!
I eat whatever I want. Not kidding- no limits. I just listen to my body and roll with the punches and it is extremely enjoyable and always an adventure.
I reflect. I take long walks. I think about what we’re doing as a company and what we’re not doing. I think about what we could be doing better. I find that some of my best ideas and course corrections come when I’m super relaxed and just staring out at the ocean, walking around a city or seeing a piece of theatre.
Today I am taking a day off. No work that isn’t pressing, no podcasting, just what is necessary so that I can re-energize and come back a better entrepreneur than when I left.