The Importance of Taking Time AWAY From Your Business

by Ruth P
33 replies
No, I don't mean taking time off to enjoy life (but of course that goes without saying!) or even to help you feel more productive when you start again. What I mean is taking time away from your business to help you see direction more clearly.

This is what I've been doing for the past week, though I wouldn't have even considered it if I hadn't been moving home and without broadband!

A lot of you who have been in this for a while probably have this sorted, but personally I've been making money on the internet for two years but have never excelled as much as I could have because I've always had too many projects going on at once. I spend a few hours a day doing project X, a few hours doing project Y, and then try to fit in Z on top of it all. This might work for some, but it doesn't work for me.

Sometimes, in the momentum of daily life and business, you forget about what you really want, the long term direction of your business, and get stuck in the daily tasks.

If this sounds familiar then I highly recommend you take a step back from your business, if only for a day, to get back to the reasons why you started in the first place. Don't spread yourself too thin - this really is a business and we should always be striving to improve it: to work more on what we're good at, what makes us happy and what makes us money, and forget what isn't working, and doesn't help us feel fulfilled.

I feel as though this week has already helped so much already, and I'm still taking a few more days to formulate a really focused plan for when I'm properly up and running again. I'd love to hear your thoughts or how you took time out to become more focused too.

~Ruth
#business #importance #taking #time
  • Profile picture of the author ucajack
    Well ruth you make sense because i also experienced this. I also faced situations when i was too engrossed in my work and caught up with its problems and then i had to take forced vacation because of some circumstances and then while traveling cobweb in my mind cleared and solution to every problem arrived by itself.

    So taking time off is immensely beneficial.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Ruth,

    I clean house - mentally - quite frequently. Sometimes I forget what I am moving toward with my business, my goals lack clarity and detail. So I step back and reassess.

    Usually I take a few days off every month where I just sit in a quiet room. I shut the phone off, disconnect from the internet and analyze why I am doing what I am doing.

    Ryan Biddulph
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    I am glad I'm not the only one!

    I also like the idea of completely being disconnected. Although I'm taking time off right now, as you can see I'm not completely disconnected

    It seems as though time off and reflection, and even rethinking, are essential parts of any business.
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    • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
      Originally Posted by Ruth P View Post

      I am glad I'm not the only one!

      I also like the idea of completely being disconnected. Although I'm taking time off right now, as you can see I'm not completely disconnected

      It seems as though time off and reflection, and even rethinking, are essential parts of any business.

      I want to go to a beach without a laptop or a cell phone for a week soon. I think it's very important to recharge your energy and start fresh again!
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  • Profile picture of the author bevasllanaj
    Yeah, I have studied so much about time management, to try to organise my time as effectively as possible.

    But when you mentally process the volume of information that you need to get through to run an IM business on a daily basis, even the most organised mind could explode!

    My new strategy is also taking at least one day off per week, just to let it all sink in..........
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  • Profile picture of the author Duncan
    I enjoyed being compulsively working on my business until my family told me I was never around. I have a schedule, and I created a balance in my life.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    bevasllanaj - One day off a week is definitely a must I think. I don't do it every week, but lately I've gotten a lot better at it!

    Duncan - That's another problem! Also, taking the time away this week, I've remembered some of my main goals that I'm working for, goals like travelling, meeting new people etc. Sometimes we get glued to our computer screens and forget the bigger picture.
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  • Profile picture of the author medgar
    Ulp. If I take time away from the computer I am always thinking about what I SHOULD be doing instead of what I am doing. I am still getting my business off the ground and there is always lots that needs doing.

    My offspring have gone, so there are no kids to worry about. My wife is a busy woman in her job, so things seem to sort themselves out. I enjoy the work,I do, so that helps.

    Should I feel guilty? Sorry, I'm to busy for that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    Medgar - I feel the same as you, and it's true there's always stuff that needs doing. But sometimes I feel if I don't take any time to re-evaluate then I end up wasting time on tasks, forgetting the overall goal and forgetting to take time to figure out how to work smarter instead of harder.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Pettit
    Reminds me of the principle of Sharpening the Saw.
    Sharpening the saw precludes the saw from doing any work, but it does the work better. And "the saw" in this case is yourself. As Ruth points out, not just so you can work better, but so you can see your business in a fresh light and hopefully gain directional insight. Excellent post!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    Excellent analogy thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author John_Paduchak
      One thing I wanted to add to your discussion is something I've been doing recently, which is taking time to do more mental planning and preparation. Jack Canfield says that 1 hour of mental prep work is equivalent to 7 hours of actual work. I haven't proved that out yet, but it seems so far that there is a great deal of truth to his statement.

      John
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        I'm just back from an "unplugged" vacation. No computer, laptop, cell phone or TV for over a week.

        It was great - no stress and lots of fun with family and friends. Flew home yesterday but not going to dig in to work again until next week.

        Guess what? Nothing bad happened - I missed nothing. I made money while I was gone - no one got bent out of shape because they couldn't reach me (or, if they did, they're over it).

        Loads of good things happened. I watched the space station cruise overhead twice - reconnected with family members. I also learned some things - like you shouldn't be laughing while driving a 4 wheeler fast over a muddy pond bank or you end up with mud in your mouth (my grandson swore it was duck poo).

        I'm calling this my "stop the world, I'm getting off" vacation and I plan to do it again every few months. I came back rested, energized and with a healthier perspective about both work and life.

        kay

        EDIT: Perhaps the biggest benefit of all was realizing I was looking at my business as an entity - and it isn't. What I do online daily is a means to an end - it's what allows me the ability to "unplug" when I want. Today, thinking about what needs to be done next week and next month I realized my focus is a bit different and priorities slightly changed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rogerboy
    I like to bring my laptop on holiday with me, I end up using it very little, only to check emails in the evening. Part of the reason I want to make big money is to be able to travel the world and not be stuck at a boring desk job.
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  • Profile picture of the author abhayam
    While in business like IM, there is so much to do. There is no end to what we can potentially do. Unfortunately, like Ruth mentioned, it is easy to get distracted with so many projects, instead of focusing on one.

    However, taking a step back from our daily grind of business helps us to see the forest. Sometimes, the forest we see is what we never intended to build in the first place! Not that we did not know how to build a outcome of our dreams, rather we digressed from our original intention.

    Thank you Ruth for sharing your valuable thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    Very true, abhayam. And you're right, I never intended to build this huge forest. Some of the trees are a little overgrown - I need to cut back
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    I take 5 days breaks every so often..and I feel so much more relaxed for it....When I come back part of me doesn't wan to switch the computer on again......Then I slowly get into it again and start spending more and more time on it....
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  • Profile picture of the author mistermint
    Interesting, I remember the top salesman of a big company never worked past 2pm in the afternoon...it was said he worked so efficiently that he got more done in a shorter space of time than his colleagues..

    Sometimes we simply can't see the wood for the trees!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    That's interesting because I tried that for a couple of weeks once. I worked 'til 1pm every day and WOW was I productive. It's because there was such a fixed endpoint in mind, that I didn't mind working a little harder since I knew I'd be finished soon. When you don't have any limits at all, you work mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends and so on... you tend to get less productive as there's always that thought in your head that you can get round to the task "later on".
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    yeah I recall once my INT connection was down so I had to go the the library......1 hour a day..I was soo focused and got everything done in that hour..... It was enough and I felt so much better for it.

    Look at me now...wasting time here....:-( bye
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  • Profile picture of the author Mad Dogg
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    • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
      Originally Posted by Mad Dogg View Post

      I like the idea..but how do u fight the restart that has to happen after u didnt do your habits one day?
      Yeah this can be difficult sometimes. But my feeling is that if I took more of these breaks, I'd actually find it easier to be productive and get back into my routine every time. Time will tell I suppose - I'm starting "work" again properly on Monday!
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      • Profile picture of the author Vogin
        In the beginning of summer I told myself "Hey, time to get serious with the online thing".

        At the end of summer I told myself "Hey, time to get effective with the online thing".

        So I work 4 hours a day, each day, no more, no less. I'm seeing results already, after 1 week...
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    repetition..make it a habit.... Keep working at it. Like "getting fit" you never get fit you are either getting fit or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    Wow I am impressed with your focus Vogin!
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  • Profile picture of the author solvision
    This part is so important, yet so many people forget about it. What were you doing that last time you came up with a great idea? I bet you weren't working hard on some specific task.

    Those awesome ideas we all tend to have come at the strangest times, and they come during two things i've found;

    1) when our mind is allowed to wander
    2) when we are doing unrelated things, that trigger new synapses in our brain to connect, and suddenly we have a Eureka! moment.

    Make sure you spend a few hrs each day unplugged, and at least 1 full 24hr period each week. Stepping back, and doing something else can make much more benefit for you than hard work, if you'll let it.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulie888
      You have made a great point here. I read an article recently about some medical research that was done regarding how the human brain is wired. The human brain NEEDS rest and rejuvenation, and keeping it constantly occupied without any breaks in between is not good, and as a matter of fact (just like you've pointed out) we often get our most creative and ingenious ideas during our downtime, when we're asleep, walking/exercising and NOT doing any work!

      The research also goes on to say that the pervasive habit people have of constantly keeping themselves occupied with their smartphones, iPods and other gadgets is not giving their brains the normal breaks and rest that humans need to have, and could actually hurt productivity instead of increasing it.


      Originally Posted by solvision View Post

      This part is so important, yet so many people forget about it. What were you doing that last time you came up with a great idea? I bet you weren't working hard on some specific task.

      Those awesome ideas we all tend to have come at the strangest times, and they come during two things i've found;

      1) when our mind is allowed to wander
      2) when we are doing unrelated things, that trigger new synapses in our brain to connect, and suddenly we have a Eureka! moment.

      Make sure you spend a few hrs each day unplugged, and at least 1 full 24hr period each week. Stepping back, and doing something else can make much more benefit for you than hard work, if you'll let it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
        Originally Posted by paulie888 View Post

        The research also goes on to say that the pervasive habit people have of constantly keeping themselves occupied with their smartphones, iPods and other gadgets is not giving their brains the normal breaks and rest that humans need to have, and could actually hurt productivity instead of increasing it.
        I definitely feel the effects of this. If I have a spare moment I often end up checking my emails on my phone etc but I know that it isn't good for me!
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    • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
      Originally Posted by solvision View Post

      This part is so important, yet so many people forget about it. What were you doing that last time you came up with a great idea? I bet you weren't working hard on some specific task.

      Those awesome ideas we all tend to have come at the strangest times, and they come during two things i've found;

      1) when our mind is allowed to wander
      2) when we are doing unrelated things, that trigger new synapses in our brain to connect, and suddenly we have a Eureka! moment.

      Make sure you spend a few hrs each day unplugged, and at least 1 full 24hr period each week. Stepping back, and doing something else can make much more benefit for you than hard work, if you'll let it.
      Very, very true. In fact this reminds me of something I heard about Einstein taking power naps when he needed to solve a problem. Seems as though the best way to connect things and come up with new ideas really is to get away from everything for a while.
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  • Profile picture of the author shess
    This is so important to remember. Don't wait till something happens and you get that wake up call that you should have spent more time enjoying other aspects of life.
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  • Profile picture of the author humbledmarket
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    Originally Posted by Ruth P View Post

    No, I don't mean taking time off to enjoy life (but of course that goes without saying!) or even to help you feel more productive when you start again. What I mean is taking time away from your business to help you see direction more clearly.

    This is what I've been doing for the past week, though I wouldn't have even considered it if I hadn't been moving home and without broadband!

    A lot of you who have been in this for a while probably have this sorted, but personally I've been making money on the internet for two years but have never excelled as much as I could have because I've always had too many projects going on at once. I spend a few hours a day doing project X, a few hours doing project Y, and then try to fit in Z on top of it all. This might work for some, but it doesn't work for me.

    Sometimes, in the momentum of daily life and business, you forget about what you really want, the long term direction of your business, and get stuck in the daily tasks.

    If this sounds familiar then I highly recommend you take a step back from your business, if only for a day, to get back to the reasons why you started in the first place. Don't spread yourself too thin - this really is a business and we should always be striving to improve it: to work more on what we're good at, what makes us happy and what makes us money, and forget what isn't working, and doesn't help us feel fulfilled.

    I feel as though this week has already helped so much already, and I'm still taking a few more days to formulate a really focused plan for when I'm properly up and running again. I'd love to hear your thoughts or how you took time out to become more focused too.

    ~Ruth
    That is so true. I definitely need my day away right about now. Especially those times where you guys sow and sow and work and work but you see no reward.

    I also see the biggest issues I have is spreading myself out too thin. Having too many things I want to pursue ending up pursuing nothing or not at my optimal performance. I guess I got to reevaluate my pursuits and plan as well as stop procrastinating.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Pettit
    It's a lot easier to stay motivated about work when your work is the natural outflow of Who You Are. When work is one of the facets of your balanced life--living, loving, laughing, growing, resting, learning, exercising, working, and all the rituals you have for yourself to give your day(s) structure and an element of control--we don't burn out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruth P
    Very true Sparkie, thanks for your thoughts.

    I just wanted to update everyone. Today was my first day back at "work". I had a FANTASTIC day, was really focused. I think my time off helped.

    On top of this, I'm truly looking forward to what I'm doing tomorrow. In my two weeks off, I cut out a few projects from my list, and I now have time to more or less dedicate whole days to certain tasks. It feels so good knowing I have one task to do tomorrow and my mind doesn't constantly need to be thinking of a million and one other things to do
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  • Profile picture of the author itsallwhite
    Ruth, I like many others am guilty of this, every couple of weeks I remind my self I need to focus, outsource and reduce the amount of projects I am involved with....and then I go and start another one!

    I also agree that taking time away from your business and having some relaxing time if vital for the long-term success of you/your business.
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