It may seem ridiculous to say it – but I think you need more time off work.
Yes, I know you’ve just had a four day weekend. Immediately preceded by er…another four day weekend.
But let me ask you a question. How much did you get done in the three days between Easter and the Royal Wedding? If you’re anything like me the answer is, a lot. How much do you get done in the couple of days before you go on holiday – when you’re really focused, when you’re crossing things off your to-do list so fast your pen is a blur? Is it possible that you could achieve as much in a really focused four day week as you currently do in a sometimes-not-very-focused-‘cos-there’s-plenty-of-time five day week?
There’s a Canadian business coach called Dan Sullivan – www.strategiccoach.com if you want to take a look. Sullivan advocates a system of focus days, buffer days and free days. Focus days are what you’d expect – at least 80% of your time that day is focused on your business and on what brings you income. Buffer days are essentially admin days – and free days are precisely that. Days where you do no work – days that are specifically there for you to re-charge your batteries.
So let me ask you another question – this time about free days. When was the last time you had one? When was the last time you had a day that was absolutely dedicated to recharging your batteries? When you pleased yourself and said, ‘Friday May 6th – that’s a day exclusively for me.’
I’m not advocating living your life selfishly. What I am saying, is that occasionally, you need to take some positive time off. So was your last free day:
A) in the last month
B) in the last three months
C) in the last 12 months, or
D) I can’t remember…
Let me know your answers, and let’s hope we don’t get a majority of D’s…
I’ll also be interested to see the differences in the sexes. In my experience, women are better at taking positive time off than men. When we lived in London Dav would periodically announce that she was going to the Sanctuary in Covent Garden. Last month she disappeared off to Thorpe Park Spa for the day. Somehow men seem to find this idea of having an indulgent day off a bit difficult. That said, I’ve just spent three days playing golf (in Blackpool!) and I feel wonderful – revitalised, re-charged and ready for anything. (Although that may have had something to do with the result…)
So with the summer here and the met office confidently forecasting unremitting good weather through to September, grab your diary and cross a few days out. Book yourself some free time – and then positively plan what you’re going to do with those days. If you don’t do that you’ll drift into the office to open the post, or switch your laptop on and start checking the cash flow. And then the day will be gone.
Remember this: success is a product of what you achieve – not how long you sit at your desk. If you’re running your own business, you’re in the results business, not the ‘time spent’ business. Taking positive time off will benefit you in the long run – and that’ll be reflected in your bottom line. Besides, as the old saying goes, no-one lies on their deathbed muttering “I wish I’d spent more time at the office…”
On that cheerful note, I’ll leave you until next week – absolutely confident that there won’t be a single D…