This is not a message for you. This is a message to us. All of us who are managing more than is necessary in the name of productivity.
As entrepreneurs, we know that the number of roles we play in our business can take an awful lot of time and effort. Even once we’ve delegated tasks and responsibilities to other team members, it sometimes feels like that time was just freed to be eaten by other to-dos. From masterminds to employee management to visibility , it can sometimes feel like we are on a constant wheel of activity, bending to the whim of whatever the business needs. And conventional “advice” seems to reiterate the idea that this is just a part of running a business - it will almost always need you in a way that will require that you get used to the constant grind.
I know for a fact this is not true.
For you to be your best self as an entrepreneurship, all of that hard work must be offset by rest. It is a necessary component of the cycle - for you to be able to keep going, first you’ve got to stop. You have to take the time to rest, re-evaulate, give yourself space to breathe and think and take care of yourself and your family. Chances are, if you don’t make it a priority, your body will force you to. Sometimes that’s shows up as burnout, lethargy, or even illness. But the lesson remains the same - your are not a machine. You are a human being with thoughts, emotions, and common needs that mean space away from your business is just as important as the time you spend in it. So how do you do that?
I get it. We’re all busy. And it can feel like there isn’t enough time to finish the never-ending to-do list, let alone building in time to do nothing. But the thing is, you do have time - it’s just a matter of where that free time lives. For me, that’s often first thing in the morning. If I am going to read, or exercise, or lounge, it’s got to be before the workday starts or I won’t prioritize it.
ASK YOURSELF: What part of the day is my lowest energy point? Could I use that time to rest, or take a walk, or hell, eat at a table instead of standing up?
2. HEED YOUR BODY’S WARNINGS.
It can be easy to ignore our internal gauge telling us it’s time to slow down, but it’s rare that we miss the signs altogether. When you start feeling extra tired, or irritable, it may be that your humanness is showing, begging you to take a step back to stop doing things so that it can catch up. When you start feeling those twinges of “not quite yourself”, it is often your body warning you that it’s on the verge of a shutdown. It would behoove you to answer that call on the first ring.
ASK YOURSELF: Am I feeling out of sorts lately? When’s the last time I was intentional about taking a break?
3. RECOGNIZE WHAT IS AND ISN’T THE WORK.
This is the hard one. There are so many YouTube videos and webinars and trainings and books and articles that it can often feel like “rest” is just “not actively working”. Not only can this be a form of procrastination and/or fear masquerading as doing a different kind of work, it’s also faking your body out into thinking that it’s resting. I for one am notorious for saying, “I was off” when I really meant “well, I wasn’t REALLY working”. The reality is all of the working on the business still isn’t rest. It’s still work. Can you tell the difference?
ASK YOURSELF: When is the last time I took a day off from doing ALL work? What activities am I participating in that are pretending to be rest when it’s actually another form of work?
Give yourself permission to slow down and reject the notion that you have to earn rest. It is a necessary and vital component to you showing up in the world as your best self which ultimately contributes to your business thriving.