I’m going to ask you to do something for me…
Right here, right now, I’d really like you to…
Stop whatever it is you’re doing (other than reading this blog, of course) and just be still for a moment…
Put down the phone, minimise the 103 windows on your computer, turn off the music and just stop…
Do you feel that?
Your heart rate slowing…
Your breathing becoming deeper and less erratic…
Your muscles relaxing and your mind beginning to quieten…
Feels good, doesn’t it?
Now don’t freak out, but what you’re doing right now is called a break, or a pause.
And no, you’re not going to get into trouble for taking a minute or so for yourself.
Because I am officially giving you permission to pause…
Permission to take a break from your busy mind and hectic schedule without feeling guilty.
Here’s a little newsflash for you…
YOU ARE HUMAN.
I know your secret, but don’t worry… my lips are sealed.
As much as you are to others, you are not a superwoman.
Us mere mortals aren’t created to go and go and go.
Sure — we’re strong, brilliant, creative and inspiring, and we can do it all and more…
But even the hottest car in the lot breaks down from time to time.
I’m not saying you can’t be a superwoman some of the time, but let’s be real…
That bustier and cape would get pretty uncomfortable from time to time.
I’ve witnessed so many women burning out in business…
And most of the time it’s because there’s this belief that you don’t deserve to pause from time to time.
It’s some misguided belief that if you stop for one second and leave your business unattended, it’ll crumple like a house of cards.
It won’t. But you will.
In case you didn’t already know, you have the right to pause whenever you feel the need.
Now, there’s a difference between needing a break, and “needing” to binge watch an entire TV series…
If you find yourself doing the latter on the regular, you’ll need to ask yourself why…
But taking timely, effective breaks is one of the easiest ways to increase your productivity (a.k.a GET STUFF DONE!)
Pressing pause on things on a daily basis allows you to refresh, renew and get re-inspired.
Sounds lovely, right?
No, things won’t fall apart… (if you’ve built an automated, streamlined lifestyle business).
In fact, you’ll actually be doing yourself, your family, friends and even your clients a solid.
Everyone knows you can’t go 100% when you’re burnt out, yet we still continue to burn the candle at both ends.
Working longer does not equal success.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again…
Work smarter, not harder.
A Stanford University study cited by CNBC found that productivity per hour drops sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that putting in any more hours would be pointless. And, those who work up to 70 hours a week are only getting the same amount of work done as those who put in the 55 hours.
When I give myself permission to pause and take a time out, my brain starts generating new creative and fun ideas for my business.
Ideas that would never have got air time in my otherwise overcrowded mind.
In all honesty, my best business-growing ideas and strategies are more often than not dreamt up at the beach, on a dog walk or over a glass of wine…
Would you believe me if I told you that I came up with my ‘Doing Day’ workshops one winter’s evening in front of the fire cradling a G&T?
When it comes to allowing yourself to pause and re-energise, learning to let go of the guilt is the hardest part.
But trust me. Once you start reaping the benefits of breakin’ it down, you’ll never go back.
Here are the ways I press pause on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK
WorkScore research cited by HRD found that women who take a full lunch break rate up to 10% higher levels of wellbeing and are 10% more likely to prioritize their well being than those who never take lunch breaks. Women who took regular short breaks were found to be 16% less depressed and 15% less anxious than those who don’t.
If you believe skipping lunch is a necessary sacrifice for success, I’ll stop you right there.
Enough with the self-sabotage!
You are human. And humans need food.
And let’s be honest…
That hour spent picking at your lunch over your desk is NEVER productive.
Swap that for an actual lunch break. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe even just 15 – 30 minutes…
Eat your food, check your phone or go for a quick walk… then get straight back to work.
Added bonus: no more crumbs on your keyboard.
WORK IN 90-MINUTE BLOCKS
According to science, our brilliant minds work best in 90-minute blocks.
And it makes sense, doesn’t it?
You know the feeling…
When the page starts looking fuzzy and distractions are flying in left, right and centre.
It’s going to happen. You will lose focus.
So why fight it?
Instead, go for a quick walk in the fresh air, sit outside with a cup of tea or call a loved one for a 10-minute chat.
Then, set your alarm for another 90 minutes and get back to it.
I like to think of it as a bit of a race, like ‘how much can I get done in 90 minutes?’
You might surprise yourself with how motivating this can be.
This point has absolutely nothing to do with fitness, weight loss etc.
Although feeling good in your own skin is a seriously awesome side effect, it’s what exercise does for your mind that’s the key here.
Getting your sweat on is an awesome way to give your mind a break on a daily basis.
And it doesn’t have to be extreme ‘Biggest Loser’ style workouts either. A dash around the block or a quick and easy at home circuit will do the trick.
Walden University reports that exercise improves your brain power, from building intelligence to strengthening memory. Studies also prove that physical activity boosts creativity and mental energy!
Remember — most of us spend a huge amount of time at a desk over a computer. Both your body and mind will thank you for getting up and active on a regular basis.
As horrific as it sounds, going tech-free in actually super liberating.
RescueTime found that most people spend on average 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones, picking it up around 58 times, every single day!
How much are our lives dominated by screens?
Amongst all the online noise and chaos, allowing yourself to unplug, pause and destress once a week will do wonders.
All of your followers and clients will survive without you on their phones and laptops for one day…
Better yet — schedule your social media in advance so no one has to go without your gorgeous pics, inspiring quotes and awesome offers.
PLAN A ‘DATE NIGHT’
Do you see your loved ones as much as you’d like?
As human beings, we need physical, human contact.
Don’t isolate yourself in order to achieve a profitable lifestyle business…
It’s time spent and conversations had with our family, friends and partners that really inspire and motivate us!
Whether it be a BBQ with friends, coffee with your mum or a gym class with your daughter, schedule dates to catch up with those you value most.
After all, without their support, where would we be?
Ideally, I’d love for this one to be in the weekly, or even daily section, but that’s not always realistic.
As female entrepreneurs striving to make an impact on the world, we’re busy.
And if we’re being really honest, it’s not often we put our own wellbeing at the top of our priorities list.
It’s got to stop.
HRD cited research done by WorkScore in Australia which found that 80% of women place the wellbeing of others above their own, 70% frequently anxious and 65% say they have high general stress levels.
Your wellbeing is the most important thing to the success of your business.
Make it a priority to do something once a month that’s just for you.
It can be anything: a massage, night on the town, a nice meal at your favourite restaurant, or even a guilty pleasure movie night.
Lock in this monthly treat and I assure you, you’ll work harder and more productively with something exciting to look forward to.
TAKE A HOLIDAY
Medianet cited research by WorkScore which found that one in five employees hadn’t taken leave in the last 12 months and 60% felt anxious, guilty or overwhelmed before taking leave.
You’ve worked hard all year long and smashed some major goals, so don’t forget to give yourself annual leave.
I completely understand that taking a 4-week holiday isn’t something everyone can afford to do, time or money wise.
A great and fulfilling holiday doesn’t have to be long…
Although for now it will need to be somewhere local.
It doesn’t even need to involve you leaving your home if you don’t want to.
It just needs to be a designated period of time during which you can commit to not worrying or working on your business.
How long this period can be will depend on the size and expectations of your business, as well as your industry.
But it can be done.
Automation and social post scheduling play a huge role in executing a laptop free holiday, but I can tell you from experience… it’s 100% worth it!
So there you go. By the power vested in me by myself and the female entrepreneurial community, I hereby announce you free to take a break.
It’s not legally binding, but it is the permission you need to stop being so hard on yourself and start treating yourself with the respect and love you deserve.
If you’re building a profitable, lifestyle business like mine, it will survive.