Do You Give Yourself Enough Time & Space?

BlogHer Original Post

You promised yourself that you’d leave the office at a sane time for the upcoming weekend or that long-awaited vacation, but do you? 

Or do you try to do “just one more thing”?

Sound familiar?

You decided to be your own boss because you wanted freedom and flexibility. But, are you giving it to yourself?

I can attest that once I became my own boss, I became my own worst nightmare. I would jam my schedule tight and find myself working late into a Friday evening and grinding it out like a mill worker. I’d get to the coveted weekend/holiday weekend/vacation and find myself practically in pieces from exhaustion.

Productivity and time off

Photo: Paula Gregorowicz

If a corporate boss told me to do that, I would’ve complained up a storm and likely just left when I felt like it. Yet, as my own boss solely responsible for generating income and creating success, I was ruthless.  It took me over five years to finally “get it” and create sufficient space before and after time away to actually make it rejuvenating.  Call me what you will (slow learner and a stubborn Polish woman come to mind ... ) but I share this because I sense you might be hurting, too.

So, what made the difference for me?  The cycle of tired, frustrated, and exhausted was doing me in and souring my life’s experiences.  I couldn’ take it any more mentally, physically, or emotionally. I had to surrender and give myself permission to create what I want NOW instead of waiting for “someday ... later ... .”

So while I am not less busy (I actually have more opportunities in the mix these days), I am performing more at my peak because I am far less frazzled and more in the flow. I can ease into time off like a gentle wave instead of thrashing in the surf. 

Here is how you, too, can buy yourself more time off, space, and peace of mind without sacrificing quality work or opportunities.

First, the inner awareness:
Get real with what you are actually doing currently.  Look with a critical eye and an open heart and ask yourself:

“Is this how I want to be/what I want to experience in my life and business?”

Then ask yourself:

“What would be the most kind way for me to treat myself in these situations?”

Be no-holds-barred honest with your answers here.

Next, the practical action:

  1. Work backwards from any major event or time off that you have on your calendar. 
  2. Give yourself ample unscheduled time (meaning no client appointments, etc.) prior to leaving to wrap up loose ends, schedule marketing activities for while you are gone, and prepare for your return gracefully.
  3. When you look at this timeframe, double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of time you “think” it’ll take you to complete something (at least one or two full days or more). If it feels like you’re being too generous or selfish, add yourself even more buffer than that, because you’re likely being too hard on yourself.
  4. Honor the boundaries and schedule you have set.  Don’t “just one last thing/email/facebook/client appointment” yourself to death.  Schedule it now at a time slot after you return, no exceptions.  This can be perhaps the hardest of all the steps ... so be ruthless and get the support of your team, assistant, or spouse to keep you honest.

 

Lastly, in the combination of inner awareness and practical action ... give yourself permission to be OK with creating this empty space and sane schedule.  It might feel uncomfortable, but that is only because it is an unfamiliar habit you are forming.  Bask in the fact that you are honoring yourself, your business, and those you serve by empowering yourself to be in the flow.


Paula Gregorowicz plucks women business owners off the hamster wheel of overwhelm, struggle, and self-doubt and guides them to a purposeful path of building authentic and successful businesses using a unique blend of practical action and inner awareness called Intuitive Intelligence®.
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