Friday Inspirations: November 5, 2010

Fridays used to be different when I worked a regular 9 to 5 job. I craved the weekends like I did when I was a kid. In my regular full-time job(s), I couldn’t wait to make up for all the lost time I wasted at work.

Sad, I know. But true.

As an entrepreneur, the weekends are completely different for me now. Every day provides a new opportunity, week day or weekend, to work on honing my craft, network with other entrepreneurs, and get more gigs.

Here’s the thing: The desire to accomplish when you are the boss is so strong and seductive that days can fly by and nights too. That might be good for your business right now, but in the future you and your biz will suffer.

Why?

It’s almost impossible to maintain that kind of stamina. Even marathoners need to take a break after that kind of workout.

Why it’s tough?

If you’re reading this, chances are you are an entrepreneur who’s working hard day and night to make a living with your business. In this economy you cannot afford to take time off and rest. Have you checked out Twitter lately? It seems like everyone and their sister is climbing the ranks of self-employed success.

Why you need to do it anyway:

I’ll admit. I’m guilty of being a self-employed workaholic. Some nights you’ll find me sitting in my pj’s staring straight into the eyes of my computer with a look that comes from not blinking for several hours. My lips are parched and I have the discipline (to forgo food and water) that I imagine a surgeon would have. But that’s not healthy for anyone and not good for others around you I might add. You might be full of energy and stamina right now, but eventually you’ll burn out. Then, how are you going to get through the other 364 days in the year?


Here’s how to get disciplined about chilling out once in awhile:


1. Get someone (a friend, spouse, even a pet) to pull you out of the fog that is your work life. This means having them wake you up and reminding you that there are more important things than work. When you start cocooning into your own little workaholic nest, having a friend call or a spouse take you out or even a furry friend beg you to take them for a walk. This may be the motivation you need to get away from your desk and get back into real life.

2. Schedule in fun as a reward for a tough task tackled. Remember when you were a kid and you got stars for good grades? Weren’t they motivating? If you have an insane fear that doing nothing and having fun is going to make you permanently lazy, then establish some rules. Rules like if I accomplish this huge 2200 word article by the end of this week, then I’m going to take the day off on Friday and just be. Believe me, this works. After resting, you’ll be up and ready to go again in no time.

3. Take a short vacation. You don’t need to go anywhere fancy or far away. Just schedule a day or two (say the weekend) and don’t do anything work-related. Here’s why it’s important. For one, you’ll have time for your overtired brain to rest. And for another, you’ll realize when you get back that the world did not implode because you took a vacation. Maybe it’s a difficult thing to accept, but all the same, it’s important to realize that you’re not THAT important.

4. If you’re really work obsessed and can’t tear yourself away, then do this. Find a way to go on vacation and do a bit of work at the same time. If one of the things you do for your business is blog, then choose a vacation spot where you can interview someone or take photos for a post. You can also find an inspiring place to work like a library or a new coffee shop. Anytime you go somewhere new you’re giving yourself a mini break-one that I’m sure you entrepreneurs are due.

For more ideas on relaxing, check out this post by the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

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