As a small business owner, it seems like the work never ends. Following up with clients, staying on top of technological changes, tracking your niche industry trends, maintaining relationships on social media... I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I always have to be “on”. Available and ready for the next opportunity to come my way.
Honestly, it can be hard to find time to take a break.
But consciously taking breaks and turning off your electronics isn't just good for your personal happiness—it's vital to your success in business. Your body and mind need to relax and refresh so that you can give the very best to your work.
When I first started my business, I would work until ten every single night. Then, I would wake up at six in the morning, grab my phone, and check my emails.
I was always tired. And grumpy. And frankly, no fun to be around.
It was then that I stumbled across Danielle LaPorte and her books: The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map. The books helped me to realize that it was ok to put myself first, and that my business existed to support me—not just financially, but also emotionally and physically. My physical well-being and my overall health needed to take priority over my business, not the other way around.
Danielle's take on business also changed how I approach my day. Now, I take lunch breaks. I don't work later than 7pm. And I schedule time to work out, get my nails and hair done, and enjoy other fun activities.
As entrepreneurs, our “down-time” is often filled with chores, errands, and knocking items off our household to-do list. I learned that "turning it off" meant shutting down my computer, powering down my phone, and taking a break from household duties.
My favorite day to unwind is Sunday. While I find it difficult to take a whole day off to just sit and be, I make sure my Sundays are full of relaxing and fun activities. I do not answer emails and rarely turn on my computer.
By taking better care of myself and learning to completely step away from my business, my mood improved, as did my experience as an entrepreneur. Financially my business is the best it has ever been, and I have the time and energy to foster fantastic relationships with my clients.
Try it for yourself. Block out some time to focus on activities that make you happy. If you’re not comfortable taking a full day off, try scheduling 20 minutes here and there to simply sit and be present. Get away from your computer, go on a walk, or read a book. Whatever you find to be relaxing, set some time aside in your calendar and do it.
Danetha Doe is a financial growth consultant for businesses specializing in fashion, beauty, and natural hair products. She helps clients improve their cash flow and profit margins, so they can expand and achieve financial success.
Note: This post was originally published in April 2015. It has been updated for inclusion in The Wellness Issue.