Entrepreneurs are some of the hardest working individuals. You are juggling research, planning, networking, business strategies, sales, marketing, human resources, and so much more. Then there are multiple calls, meetings, events, networking, conversations, all while continuing to make careful decisions for your business. No wonder it can be easy to forget to take time out for yourself.
The other side of that is that entrepreneurs have more control over their time. That is one of the reasons for being your own boss, freedom. So why not take advantage of that? Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover your voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem-solve more effectively (Psychology Today).
Allowing yourself to fill every moment of your calendar can lead to being too stressed, which decreases productivity, being counterintuitive to what is needed. Stress also leads to health complications, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, and fatigue.
“We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t.” – Thomas Moore
I was fortunate enough to take a couple of weeks and drive to Mexico recently. Being able to work remotely still allowed me to stay on target with deadlines, and a chance to clear my head and focus on me. You do not need to take that much time necessarily, but we have the technology to allow us the option. There is no need to sacrifice work to take time for yourself. Do you know how amazing it was to sit on a patio by the Sea of Cortez, writing content for a project, and then being able to shut my laptop and walk on the beach? Now that I am back, I walk my dog every morning, and I hit the gym before getting to the office, making sure I have time for myself before starting work. When things are very stressful, I head to my studio and paint, allowing my brain to slow down a bit and begin processing.
So, how do you get started?
Start simply by taking a short walk around the block, actually taking your lunch break, reading a book, watching the sunset, or temporarily unplugging while having your morning coffee. You will be able to come back refreshed, energized, able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
Identify your sanctuaries by choosing places that you like to be alone at, or alone doing. Do you like hiking, walking, sitting on a park bench? What about knitting, yoga, or meditation? It is easier to spend time with yourself if you are somewhere or doing something you enjoy.
Keep the feelings of guilt at bay. There is always the feeling that we should be doing more, that our time should be filled with work. When running a business, there is always something more to be done; nothing is ever truly done. However, sacrificing your health and sanity to get more done is not going to be the defining piece to your company’s success.
Learn to say “no” more often. If you are not excited about an event or opportunity, it is ok to back out. You also do not have to give a long reason why. “No” is a complete sentence, and better than going on about how busy and sorry you are. It is also healthy to set boundaries by acknowledging that you need to limit how people can make demands on your time.
You are your best asset. Take care of yourself.