You are always “ON”
Taking some time off but not going on vacation? Nah, why would you do that? But deep down I knew it was time to give it a try. Being a solopreneur for so many years and working from home means that you are always ON.
There are no real “office” hours. Yes, you have the liberty to choose your hours but often this turns into working late in the evening and during the weekends. There is always something to check, a mail to answer or a project you would like to finish.
I’m the kind of person that keeps going, from one project into another one, from one crazy idea to the next. Because that’s what you do right? It’s all about working hard and being very busy. That is the norm society approves upon and that you know works.
This approach indeed worked for me for the past years. But something just didn’t feel right anymore. We had moved to South Africa for that exact reason, to step away from being busy and to slow down.
However… slowly but surely, longer working days started to creep in again. I started to work on the weekends more often and I was moving towards a much busier lifestyle than I had in mind.
Stop – Breathe – Listen – Reflect – (re)Connect ?
It was against my nature, but I knew the only way to find clarity was to take a break. So that’s what I did. I took my planner and blocked out the two last weeks of June to take the time to… Stop, Breathe, Listen, Reflect and (re)Connect ?
I asked myself a couple of difficult questions. Ok, the questions are not really difficult it’s usually answering them that is the difficult part ?
Where did I want to see myself in the near and far future? Where was my journey with “a Backyard Hiker” taking me or where did I want it to go? What lifted me up the past months and what did I dread doing?
Taking that step back was the best move I’ve ever made!
I managed to stay away from work, I was honest to myself, had long chats with my husband about the next steps, went on long walks, and allowed myself to slow down.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that working longer hours and sacrificing the weekends wasn’t at all aligned to the bigger purpose I had set for myself. I had to change my strategy once again, I had to find clarity in the way I wanted to go forward.
It resulted in coming up with a business strategy for the next 6 months, a new logo, and more clarity in my purpose. WHY am I doing this all?
Gaining that clarity gave me the peace and calm I needed – without really knowing that I needed it to be honest ?. I know exactly what I need to focus on when. I no longer feel that I’m running around in circles and that I HAVE to go from one thing to another. My days are more structured, and my productivity got a major boost. I switch my computer off around four in the afternoon, I manage to keep my weekends free and I’m even trying out a 4-day workweek!
But most importantly, it’s aligned again with the way I want to live MY life and it feels good!
Want to give it a try as well but not sure where to start? Here are some of the steps I followed:
- You need to plan when you want to hit that pause button. And preferably before pause hits you. I choose a moment when I had just finished one project and wasn’t going to start a next one soon.
- Let your tribe know that they are not going to hear anything from you for the coming weeks but that they can expect to hear from you again on a specific date you’ve set beforehand. I planned to take the last two weeks of June off. Then I took July to work out my new strategy and I had let my tribe know that they could expect a newsletter again on the 1st of August, after my creative break.
- Spread the news of your temporary absence on all your social media platforms. Don’t worry, you’ll not lose any followers. And if you do lose them, they weren’t your perfect followers in the first place.
- Make sure that you don’t have any work obligations. None at all! Not even the slightest thing. This is a non-negotiable. It is the most difficult part but a crucial one. Set boundaries for yourself.
- Put notifications in on the channels people are most likely to contact you. Autoresponder on your e-mail, DM for Facebook or Instagram.
- Take that time off to really take off. Go for walks, read inspiring books, listen to podcasts, enjoy to just in silence and reflect. Ask yourself those difficult questions but don’t push for the answers. They will come automatically
- Spend some time alone. Allow yourself to stop!
- Most importantly, enjoy your break.
Do you still find it scary just to think about it? But you know this is exactly what you need? Then let’s chat about it, I know how it feels like ? Book your free virtual coffee date with me today.