It’s Really OK To Take A Step Back
Published: March 8, 2021
There are times when you just have to take a step back. Take some time to clear out the mental clutter and all the other junk rattling around in your head. I’m not talking about a nice nap next Saturday afternoon, or ducking out early for the day. I’m talking about taking some real time away from — well — everything.
We are not machines. We are not robots that can keep running 24/7 without proper rest. So why do we think we can work like that? Even robots and machinery need regularly scheduled care and maintenance. However, there’s a catch. With machines and robots, there’s someone there, usually a mechanic or engineer, who can recognize potential problems ahead by reading data or examining the current output. You’ve never heard of a machine saying “But I can’t stop now! I have so much to produce today.” That would be scary.
Read Your Own Data
Are you getting short tempered? Have you had to apologize lately to someone for “overreacting” or snapping at them? Unfortunately, in the business world it all too common.
Then you start looking into courses on “How To Keep Cool Under Pressure” or worse yet, questioning your management skills. Just adding more tasks and stress.
Maybe right now little things are setting you off. Things or situations that wouldn’t normally bother you. Maybe it’s that one little thing — that straw that broke the camel’s back — the last straw.
It’s like that guy in Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life. The last “wafer thin” mint made him explode.
I’ll give you a for instance. Last Thursday my daughter came to me with a magic marker that was all dried up. Asking me to fix it. Under normal circumstances, I would just explain to her that if you leave the cap off, the tips dry up and they end up being useless. Instead I snapped at her and gave my opinion of the way she takes care of her things. She’s 6. She didn’t deserve that. (Of course, I apologized to her and made things right. She forgave me.)
I knew it was time to take a break. So I took a long weekend. I put out an OOO notice, made sure the team was all set and took Friday off. And I did absolutely nothing. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing. I spent time with my kids, made some scented candles, watched a couple of movies and took a nap. What I didn’t do was open my email, reply to any messages or even think about next week. I was just in the moment for the last two days.
And you know what?
The world did not fall down.
It’s now Sunday afternoon and I feel incredible. Relaxed. Ready for the week ahead.
Recognizing those times when you are stressed, over extended, or just plain tired is crucial for success. It’s not only good for you, but also for the people around you. Don’t let it get too far down the line. You’ll only end up hurting yourself, your relationships, your staff and your business.
You Might Think It’s Impossible To Take A Step Back
If you’re like me, your inbox is rarely ever quiet. I’m certainly guilty of thinking if I just push through, then I can get more done. I can get “caught up” (which is an illusion).
What is “caught up” anyway?
And then there may be times when the inbox does seem to be slowing down. Getting quiet. That’s when panic sets in, and you start thinking everything is going to hell in a handbasket. So you need to investigate. Find out what’s going on. Are you losing business?
Then there’s the homelife, the kids, homeschooling, the pandemic, groceries, bills to pay …and the beat goes on.
The fact is, it’s NOT impossible to take a step back and regroup. This is just something that many entrepreneurs and business leaders convince themselves of, until they burn out completely. You have to take care of yourself first. Before anything else. If you’re sick, weak, and tired — if you are not firing on all cylinders — then what good are you anyway? Furthermore, decisions won’t be made rationally and you’ll end up dragging yourself day after day until you end up hating pretty much everything you’ve worked for.
I speak from experience.
Also, if you’re worried about things running smoothly while you take an extra day to yourself, you might want to think about hiring or even outsourcing an executive virtual assistant. They can keep things running for you while you take a moment to chill.
So there are options.
Don’t Wait For A Crash- Schedule Your Step Back
After this last weekend, I vowed to schedule myself one of these every two months. Just a long weekend of relaxation, hobbies, and spending some time with the kids. Looking ahead on the calendar, I went ahead and blocked off a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It gives me something to look forward to.
Now this isn’t a time to do anything. No weekend trips or visits, no home projects. This time is just for you to do…nothing. Read a book, watch some silly Adam Sandler comedies, sleep a little later, and for the love of all that is sacred, go UNPLUGGED. I know, I know, I didn’t mean to use sacrilegious language. Please accept my apologies.
In short, don’t wait until the last minute. Make taking care of you part of your routine.
To your health and success,