How to Unplug Without Ruining Your Business?

Think of your business like it is a friend. Given the relationship right now, how is that friendship? What kind of results do you expect?

The past 12 weeks have been a roller coaster. If my math is correct, half of that time was spent battling a stomach flu, fever, head cold, and lack of sleep. When I wasn’t sick, you didn’t get much use out of me, however. It seemed as if a heavy fog surrounded my head and I had to use maximum brain power to get anything done.

I’m glad those 12 weeks are done, as you might imagine.

Looking back to gather the learning experiences, I realized how often I pulverized my body. I ate junk for most dinners and breakfasts–high carbs, no fruits and veggies; went to bed late, like consistent 2am late, and woke up way too early. I worked many 50 hour weeks, and I also beat myself to death exercising almost every day, even if I was sick (my workouts aren’t easy).

I treated my mind and body like a machine, as if I was a T-101 terminator model–the Buddhist monk terminator version, of course. Because of this, all compartments of my life felt the effect. I especially felt removed from my business. My creativity juices were low and my patience ran thin. I sat at my desk most days wishing I was somewhere else, such as the beach, hiking, or reading out in the park.

A few breakdowns later, I finally listened to the signs.

Is Your Business a Machine?

How often do you treat your business as if it was a machine? You continually press on and work through the pressure and overwhelm because of the need to profit. I know the feeling: “If I don’t work, then I’ll fall behind in my business and loss my income.” But if you continue in this manner, like a machine, is the profit even worth it? That’s what I did. So I paid the consequences and battled 6 weeks of being sick, uninspired, and overwhelmed.

As I write this article, I’m not even sure I have fully recovered. Do I feel rested? Am I centered in my heart and clear in my mind? Hmmm??? What I do know is that I need more time. Instead of pressing on and trying to make my business and life work, I’m unplugging, resting, and getting more sleep.

Is this what you need to do? You can’t keep going like a machine in your business. First of all, you’re not a machine. You need to care for yourself with rest, relaxation, and time away from your business. Lastly, your business is not a machine. Your business has its own presence and heart. Think of your business like it is a friend. Given the relationship right now, how is that friendship? What kind of results do you expect?

The results I received from the friendship with my business, coupled with other areas of my life, was my sickness I talked about earlier. So I stepped back and unplugged. I honored the truth and accepted the relationship, and decided time apart and nourishment for myself is the healthy road.

Maybe you should do the same.

Time to Unplug

You need rest; you need to sleep. As small business owners, we overlook sleep and relaxation. The consequence is an unhealthy relationship with your business. If that “blackness” grows, it will soon spread into other areas of your life. Can you take a leap of faith, disconnect from the madness and whirlwind of details, and trust that you need to unplug?

Here’s how…

1. What “to-do’s” can you implement right away that will cover your business so you can take a week off? What makes your business work and profitable are the relationships you have with your clients. Therefore, what little things can you do now that will maintain those relationships while you are gone for a week?

For example, I let my clients know that I’m away for week. I also wrote in advance a few blog posts and newsletters. You would have never thought that I was gone…but I was. Creating little systems like this will free up tremendous amounts of time so you can take time off.

2. Plan your rest and relaxation. Yes, I’m serious about this. If you don’t plan your leisure time to some extent, you will gravitate back to work because you love what you do. For example, I have planned trips to Rhode Island to see the mansions and to Boston for some city fun: Mike’s Pastries here I come! I also planned a few naps, meditation time, house projects (I enjoy these), and time with friends. What’s your agenda going to look like?

3. Unplug and go acoustic in your business. This means doing low level activities, if you really need to, and process emails in a time chunk. Take a 15 minute block in your day and clear your inbox. When that 15 minutes are up, no more email. It’s best to not bring your smart at all, if the temptation is too great.

It’s preferable, however, to not do anything biz related at all. Try to make that happen :)

Now here’s something for over the horizon that I want you to think about: what help do you need, so when the creativity juices are low and you are feeling removed from your business, that will give you more freedom to step away and take time off when needed? Brainstorm all of the functions in your business, and then see which ones someone else can do. Make it a goal to eventually delegate what you can.


Noteworthy

I recently wrote a book. It’s called, Opening the Flow of Money, and the book shows you how to create a financial breakthrough without losing your heart.

This book tackles many common money problems that each of us face:

  • Money running out faster than it comes in
  • Working hard, but have nothing to show for it except debt
  • Where does all the money go?
  • Insecurity and struggle of having enough

When you want to create a nourishing livelihood and open the flow to ongoing money in your life, you need to treat money/income like a relationship, as if it was a close friend.

Each chapter includes plenty of humor, stories, heart centered teachings, and nitty-gritty action steps to help transform your relationship with money and make it healthy.

By the end of the book you will feel renewed, re-energized, and inspired to take control of your money situation and make the changes needed to have on-going financial wealth.

Are you ready for a healthy and prosperous relationship with money? Check out the book for yourself:
Opening the Flow of Money

P.S. The link to my book is currently available on my sister website, Creative Wealth Building. I’m working on offering it here at Big Heart Small Business.