• Susanne Birgersdotter

Entrepreneurs always carp about having too much to do with so little time. When running a business, it is too easy to get lost in the chaos – meetings with the investors, marketing people and suppliers, designs to perfect, reports to analyze, and goals to set. There is always a full list of to-dos in your calendar, and not one day is spared. Foregoing days off and breaks in favor of working to finish an urgent task, reduce a backlog of tasks or just to learn more about the business are not uncommon to entrepreneurs, most especially those who are just starting off a new venture. Thinking that working harder and longer hours will get them to the goal sooner. This is where they get it wrong.

To most entrepreneurs, achieving the proverbial work-life balance is an almost impossible feat. Every hour of every day is important and needed to accomplish something. There is not a minute to spare, not a day to waste. We tend to think that, if we work hard today and for the next few weeks, months or years, we’ll have a grand time enjoying vacations and lazing around without a worry in mind. It might be necessary for business people to work extra hours and extra hard for a certain period or for a few months or weeks in a year. It is perfectly understandable if an entrepreneur starting off a business will hustle day and night to get the company going. But when toiling nonstop becomes the norm, it also becomes unhealthy.

Today’s technology – numerous communication channels, social media platforms and information overload, make it so hard to unplug. The virtual dimension of business processes means ceaseless connection, access, and business developments. The internet will not shut down and the world will not stop spinning. In an era where the world never sleeps and work hours is set to 24/7, it is just impossible to keep up. But we should. A day in a week, an hour a day, a few minutes in an hour. We must take the time to sit back and remove ourselves from the demands of the system, the business, our careers. One must enjoy a few days in a month to focus on the person that you are, not the brilliant entrepreneur, the strategist, the go-getter. But the creative, loving, and carefree you.

Breaks and downtimes allow us to rejuvenate the spirit and the body. Taking a break from all the chaos and pressure will re-focus our lenses to what really matters. We can be lost in a battle of decisions, only to realize that the choice is as simple as letting go of both. A weekend spent with your loved ones will also leave us happier and more enthusiastic to face the challenges head-on. It will also give us time to appreciate what we’ve accomplished and be grateful for our blessings.

Here are some tips on how to enjoy downtimes without the guilt;

Planning – Plan your tasks ahead. Have a list of what needs to be done, when, and where. This will give you a better picture of what your week or day would look like. Try to accomplish urgent and important tasks first. Include your downtime in the list and stick with the plan. Clear your list and enjoy your downtime guilt-free.

List and Forget – Just before you leave for a day off, create a list of to-dos for when you get back. This might also include reminders of tasks to finish and follow-ups. Having a list will help you forget work, at least for the duration of your break. No lingering thoughts and worry about work or forgetting about it will bother you during your day off.

Delegate – You simply can’t take it all. Delegating is a process of passing tasks to somebody else who can do it better and faster than you can. It is also a way to free up time so you can enjoy a day with your family, an undisturbed hour, or a weekend pursuing a hobby.

Eliminate Time-wasters – It may be an overbearing investor, an overly complicated logistics plan, or a time-consuming hiring process, time-wasters aren’t worth to hold on to. They will sap your energy, resources, and time. Letting go of time wasters will give way to better options and you’ll be surprised how your schedule is trimmed down.

Forget Perfection – Perfection is an illusion. There is no perfect time, a perfect design, or a perfect career. Everything is an ongoing process. Your business will never be perfect or stable enough for you to afford a vacation. Plan that vacation now, delegate, make that list, and take that well-deserved break.

Life is not a race, it’s a journey and we should enjoy every minute of it. This is the same with business. Setting a goal will only guide us and give us the directions to take. But it shouldn’t be our only focus. Let us also strive to enjoy the journey, the experience, and the life we make out of it.