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The podcast is back from summer break! I have been learning how to take life slower these past few months, and I’m excited to share my takeaways with you! It’s been important to me that I figure out how to run my business in a way that supports my life, instead of scheduling life around business.
One big step that I took towards doing this is taking a one week vacation from client work – just for the pure enjoyment of it! So let’s chat about what I learned. I’ve also got some tips for you if you’d like to take more time off from your business.
I think sometimes we feel like being more present in our lives has to be complicated. We seek the perfect work-life balance, or wait until we’re ready to take a long sabbatical. But one thing I’ve realized is that it’s okay to start small.
Here’s a simple example:
One day, I got up a little earlier than usual. Only a few of the tasks on my to-do list needed to get done urgently. So, I knocked out those priority tasks. Then, I went for a walk with my mom and my dog. When we got back, I finished the rest of my work.
That small decision allowed me to fit exercise and quality time into my day. Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves that the to-do list can wait!
The week that I’m recording this episode, I just got back from taking a week off from doing client work. I’ve never really taken an extended vacation from my business just for the fun of it. And guess what? Nothing fell apart while I was gone! For a long time, I was afraid of being unavailable to clients. But everyone survived just fine.
Now, I do think it’s important to prepare wisely for time off. I specifically chose a week on my calendar where I wasn’t actively working on a client website, and didn’t have any big events happening. I’ll talk more about preparing for time off when we get to the tips!
If you’re able, I think it’s important to be flexible about what your time off will look like. Obviously, if you’re planning a vacation where you have to reserve a hotel, flights, etc. you have to be more strict about when you’ll be off.
But since this was my first time doing this, I ended up making a lot of changes to my original plan. For example, I ended up changing the dates that I would be taking off several times due to client projects needed to be rescheduled and a family trip getting cancelled.
When it comes to being realistic, I think it’s important to set work boundaries that are attainable for you. For example, I allowed myself to think about work and check in on Instagram, but I tried to be mindful of how often. I knew that if I tried to quit those things “cold turkey,” I’d likely be disappointed.
Once you put something on the calendar, you’re more likely to stick to it! So don’t just say you’re going to take some time off – write it down. Even though I was taking a staycation, I put it on the calendar and told family and friends about my plan for accountability.
It’s also wise to plan for your time-off financially, especially if you’re a service provider. Having a time off means that you probably won’t generate income (or will generate less). To plan for this, I saved up money so that I would still be able to pay myself and cover expenses.
(To learn more about how I manage my business finances, check out my podcast episode on Profit First.)
I was intentional about thinking ahead so that I could take a step back from my business with systems and plans in place.
Here are several things that I did so that I could take time off:
Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have strict boundaries when it came to thinking about work or getting on Instagram. But I did try to set realistic limits and be mindful. For example, I checked my email about 1-3 times per day, and if nothing was urgent, I closed it right away.
Some entrepreneurs prefer to take a complete sabbatical from social media, so that’s something to consider! While I haven’t done this yet, I might give it a try! Also, if you have a VA, you can have them check your email while you’re away.
When I interviewed therapist Lea Lester, she shared the saying “rest is productive, stillness brings clarity.” That really stuck with me, and it’s something that I reminded myself of several times during my vacation.
If you’re a recovering workaholic like me, it might feel hard to step back from your business. But I hope this quote helps you remember that there’s purpose in rest, too.
for fellow Designers
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