Ever since I became a full-time freelance writer, I haven’t taken many full days off. If you’re going to be successful as a new entrepreneur, you have to let go of the idea of having regular days off. The concept of weekends as they exist in the corporate world do not exist in the world of self-employment, which I personally think is a fair compromise for being able to do something you sincerely love.
With that being said, taking time to rest and re-charge is crucial. Running on an empty tank of energy and inspiration leads to work that is less than your best, which doesn’t benefit anyone. While it can be hard to allow yourself time to relax, it must be done. Before the end of the year, I’m actively balancing my work and days off. I’m happily preparing for a busy start to 2017, so I am prioritizing time to relax so that I can be my best self for all upcoming projects.
Even though I fully comprehend the importance of taking time to re-charge, I always feel guilty doing so. I’ll call this feeling “day off guilt.” I’m certain that many of you frequently feel the same way. No matter what job(s) you have, most of us feel like we can’t take days off. And even when you have a day off, many of us pack our schedules with errands, appointments, and chores. Rarely do we ever use our time to get more sleep, practice a favorite hobby, or spend more time with our friends and family. Instead, we maintain the fast pace of our lives when we should be restoring our minds and bodies.
If this sounds too familiar, I want to give you permission to start using your time off to be the best version of you. In 2017, focus the hours of your days off on leisure and renewal. There are numerous reasons (which I’ll cover in a moment) to get rid of your “day off guilt,” and start making your health a priority. To complement my personal goals of keeping life as simple as possible in the new year, I’m going to ensure that I balance my work load with proper rest. I want to deliver the best blog posts and the highest quality work to my clients. I can’t meet that goal if I don’t take adequate time to renew my mind and body. It took my move in to self-employment to gain this level of self-awareness and acceptance. Now that I’ve made this discovery, I insist on making time for time off.
Why Time Off is Good for You
My needs are not unique in any way. You need regular relaxation as well. The quality of your work will suffer if you don’t leave time to restore your mind and body. If you need a little more convincing, I’m not the only one who makes this argument. Studies show that allowing yourself to take time off boosts productivity, decreases stress, and is beneficial for your brain. These three benefits are only a sampling of the reasons you shouldn’t take pride in always being busy. Our American workplace culture leads us to boast about our unrelenting, full schedules. It’s time to change that way of doing things.
Prioritizing Time Off in 2017
Here is your challenge: starting right now, brainstorm ways that you can achieve a healthy balance in your workload and your relaxation time. Don’t make it a resolution (we all know New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well), but instead make it an active project for yourself that begins immediately. Start thinking of the unnecessary tasks you can eliminate from your schedule. Can you do things in an easier way, or delegate certain tasks? Are you spreading yourself too thin among multiple commitments? Don’t be afraid to step away from things that you know deep down need to be taken off of your schedule. From my own experiences, I know that this is uncomfortable. But if you are being honest with yourself, I’m guessing you already know which commitments can’t stay on your schedule.
While subtracting tasks, don’t forget to add in your planned time to relax. Taking this step in your planning helps ensure you won’t replace one busy activity with another. Think about the activities that will serve you the most. Are you always tired? Schedule an additional hour or two of sleep. Lacking creativity? Make time for your favorite hobby. No matter what you choose, be sure that you are only adding activities that will help restore your mind and body, and help you feel more refreshed when you return to your work. After finding the right balance for you, you’ll be able to see how this new way of organizing your schedule helps you feel better and helps you produce your best work yet.