This will be my last blog post for the year. Holidays are looming close and we are closing the office for two whole weeks. I must confess I am looking forward to some down time. It’s been a crazy busy year, one that I’ve really enjoyed but one that has given me very little time to relax, reflect and switch off.
How do you go switching off from the many tasks screaming for your attention? It’s a tough call for a business owner, I know I have trouble unplugging, that to-do list seems to nag inside my head, especially as the year progressed and the workload increased.
Having regular downtime is vital to a leader, not only outside of working hours but during the week too. It gives you the opportunity to step back from smaller issues and tasks of running a business and recharge your own batteries. It is worth remembering that as a leader you are a person, not just a position. Being fully recharged enables you to be on the top of your game. Having a tank half empty or worse means you are not going to be bringing your best to the table. It also means you are going to get run down, worn out and easily distracted.
I started the year out well, one of my resolutions for 2015 was to spend one day a week away from the office to collect my thoughts and focus on the strategic running of our business. It took a little bit of adjustment but soon everyone was comfortable with it. I was relishing the space and freedom of a day free of interruptions with time to think, write and plan.
My productivity and creativity increased, it’s interesting how many great ideas come to you in the quiet. My time of solitude has in turn benefited everyone in the office, we all have a clearer understanding of my time in the office and their capacity to handle day to day issues. It has also given me the opportunity to focus on what is important for me personally as well as professionally. Down time is right up there at the top of the list.
Giving yourself time for pause and reflection can quickly become an important part of your work week. I now have tasks that I delegate for the office when I want to collaborate with others and I have tasks I put aside for my day working from home when I want a distraction free zone to create, innovate or write. They are very different spaces to work in, both are equally as valuable.
Spending time alone to write or work on new products or programmes gives me the opportunity to really get my mind around how things should look before I share with others. Having that clarity reduces any second guessing on my part and makes my explanations so much clearer as I delegate tasks to others.
It hasn’t always been easy to take my quiet time, weeks went by where I was caught up in the workload and going on auto pilot. But I never lost sight of the goal of some quiet time in my schedule.
Now the end of the year has arrived and I have two full weeks of down time. I’m going to make the most of the opportunity to unplug, step away from my business and reconnect with other aspects of my life.
A resolution for 2016 is to begin the year off on the right foot. I have already blanked out one day per week for quiet time. Let’s see how we go.
Enjoy the festive season, unplug and recharge your batteries. You’ll be pleased that you did.