This week in honor of Microsoft’s National Entrepreneurship Week, we’re looking at tips and suggestions every entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, needs to keep in mind. Today, our focus turns to the importance of down time.
Every minute of your calendar for the next two months is booked solid. Your taxes are due, employee reviews are looming and your son’s choir just made it to the regional competition – not to mention all of the usual day-in, day-out activities you need to do to make sure your business keeps moving.
Every entrepreneur has been there, and the cliché of when it rains it pours has never felt more accurate than in those times where you just want a moment to breathe.
Take that moment. Set aside time from your day to focus on yourself and your mental health. Time-off is necessary to help your brain function at top capacity and to increase your stamina, productivity and success.
Your vacation days are necessary to help you recharge, refresh and return to work ready to excel. However, taking this time off may not be an option for some, whether because there is no available vacation time left for the year, or because there is no one else who can handle the business.
If you don’t have time to take an extended period of time away from work, consider the below options for adding a little down time into your every day.
- Unplug when you get home. When you’re at work, focus completely on work. When you’re at home, focus entirely on your family and your hobbies. Dedicate yourself to keeping your lives separate to allow you to recharge with your loved ones.
- Meditate. Spend 10 minutes at the end of your day sitting quietly, not checking email or watching television, and just think. Let your mind escape, and give yourself a few minutes of reprieve.
- Journal. Bullet journaling is all over the internet right now, and for good reason. The ability to track your habits, express your thoughts and plan your days, all using only five to 10 minutes a day, is appealing. Since journaling is a completely customizable experience, there are ways to make it work for you no matter your lifestyle.
- Relieve some physical tension by giving yourself a quick DIY massage. Put a golf ball under your desk and rub your feet back and forth over the ball. The size of a golf ball is perfect to create a relaxing foot massage. Kneading the base of your hand under the thumb can also help to relieve stresses in not just your hands, but in your back and shoulders, too.
- Read a book, do a crossword, or work your brain in another leisurely way. Activities that require concentration can be great for relieving stress because they give you a few moments away from whatever is bothering you. It’s hard to stress about an audit when you’re trying to figure out 42 down.
- For every hour at your desk or computer, spend 10 minutes walking around. Do a few laps around your office, go downstairs and circle your building, walk out to the parking lot and back – it doesn’t as much matter where you go, so long as you are away from your desk and not checking your email. Detach for 10 minutes to boost your brain’s thought power.
- Go outside. Get a little Vitamin D and lift your spirits, by taking a quick trip outside on a sunny day. Eat your lunch, get some steps (see #6) or take that conference call from a picnic table.
To avoid burning out, regularly schedule downtime for yourself. Whether you have five minutes or 8 days to spare, having a plan in place to recharge your batteries can be enough to get you through the hardest days.