Updated: Oct 29, 2019
Honestly, it's OK to take a break.
I have just returned from my first ‘proper’ holiday in 18 months 🏖. Boy did I need it.
FOMO was a real issue for me as I was worried what would happen whilst I was away; no matter how much preparation I did … stupid right? 🤦♀️
I did do some preparation, though. For those of you that follow on LinkedIn or Facebook you would have seen my post letting my followers know that I was going to be away, that I would still be around but perhaps not as responsive as usual.
You see, I was already struggling to let go (cue Elsa singing) 🎶.
Over the UK summer holidays a few of my fabulous LinkedIn connections were able to show me (unintentionally) that either a partial or complete shutdown doesn’t harm anyone. In fact, it can be beneficial to your own mindset.
It took me a while to decide exactly how this was going to play out for me. I couldn’t decide whether to shutdown completely and just allow my automated posts to go out, whether to stop the automated posts too, or whether to stay present just not as much as normal.
In the end, this was the decision I made:
Allow the scheduled posts to go out and ensure that I was engaging with my community
Read my news feeds once (maximum twice) per day and engage
Continue working on specific projects with my clients (as agreed) with time allocated once per day
During the holiday, from departing to returning home, I did learn a few things:
It’s OK to take a break Taking a break gives you some well-deserved me time. Sometimes a complete shutdown is all you need to refresh. It gives you some quiet and it's likely you will return pumped and potentially with some new ideas, too 💡!
How to let go. Part of my role as a VA is assisting other business owners in letting go; teaching them how to hand the reins over to someone else. So, isn’t it odd hearing that I struggled to practice what I preach? 🗣 You’d be surprised how many people do struggle with this in their own businesses. My trip taught me that if I really wanted to reap the benefits of a break I needed to learn how to let go, even if it was only a little bit.
Finding a happy medium might just be the key to success So, as I explained above. I didn’t end up doing a complete shutdown. Believe it or not I enjoy engaging with my followers. I love reading what they have to say, and I love contributing to their conversations. Instead I found a happy medium. I actually discussed this with my husband prior to the trip. It was agreed that I would work in the mornings, during breakfast 🍳🥓☕ (social media) and immediately after breakfast (paid work). During the day we were out and about. Even though I had roaming on my phone for work I did shut it off when we were out. I was too busy shopping anyway 👗👙👠! After my afternoon nap (hey, don’t judge, I was on holiday!) we would go to the Club Lounge for drinks 🍸🍺 and canapes. This was the second permitted time for social media, apologies to those of you who spoke to me during this time (LOL). It’s that simple. Just like when at home I had a plan and, with the help of my hubby, I ensured I stuck to it.
As a VA I encourage you, as business owners, to let go and find your happy medium so, upon my return home, I got to wondering; how do other business owners find their happy medium and take a break?
I found a few common themes throughout the multitude of articles I read:
1. Schedule yourself regular time off I did touch on this slightly during my self-care blog post. Whether this is a particular day of the week, fortnight, or month, scheduling (in your calendar 📅) time off for yourself means that no one, not even you, can schedule an appointment for that time. If you only need a few hours, that’s fine, still schedule it off.
TOP TIP: Don’t set yourself a strict agenda for your time off. Obviously you'll have things you need/want to get done but allow space for unplanned and last-minute invitations. You may get a chance to catch up with an old friend or even get an impromptu date with your significant other.
2. Turn off your notifications This is one that we hear a lot, but it does work. It is important to turn off and unplug 🔌. When you put your work down it must stay down. If you don’t turn off your notifications, you run the risk of getting ‘sucked back in’. If you struggle with this idea because you run your business from your personal device it might be time to upgrade. Having a business and a personal device ensures that when you turn off your work you are not going to miss any fun, personal things that might come up. FOMO is real!
TOP TIP: If you aren’t good at ignoring, or turning off your device 📱, give it to someone who can. If I’m serious about switching off I give my phone to my hubby 👨. He can check what comes through and let me know if it’s personal and requires attention. He’s strict but fair.
OK, are you really surprised? Delegating items from your to do list is something I talk about a lot. It’s my job, right?
Go through your to do list 📒. What jobs on there can only you do? Good, that’s your work. What work can anyone else do? Good, hand it over, that’s mine!
Seriously though, have a look at your to do list on any given day and count how many tasks someone else could do. Give each one a time value ⏱ and add it up … see how much time you could save by learning to delegate?
TOP TIP: If you don't know what you can and can't, should or shouldn't delegate, that's OK. Asking for help isn't a weakness, in my opinion, it's a MASSIVE strength. Go ahead, ask me...
So, now it’s time to be honest. Who here needs a break? 🙋♀️🙋♂️.
If you’re not sure how to let go and find your happy medium it’s OK. You should have seen my internal struggles even during the planning stages of this recent trip.
I can help you though 😊
I have a worksheet you can use to determine what tasks can easily be delegated before, during and even after your much needed break.
Want to see it? Head over to my contact page and send me a request for it. I can leave you to work through it yourself or we can do it together.
So, do you want take a break? Hop to it 🐰.