Last week I did something daring – I took two days off. And when I say off, I mean off. I didn’t startup my computer or review my email on my iPhone. I turned off Slack notifications and I even resisted the urge to check Twitter and Facebook.
The first day it was easy, because I was at Universal Studios and my focus was elsewhere. The second day was tougher, because I was closer to home and the doubts were creeping in. What if a customer had a question? What if a client needed something right now? What if I was missing my friend’s excited announcement on Facebook? If she posts and I don’t comment within a few hours, she might think I don’t care or that something bad happened to me. I was driving on the Los Angeles freeways, after all.
On the third day, I turned my computer on and held my breath while my email downloaded. There were requests and questions, but not one angry “where in the world are you!” message. There was news on Facebook and Twitter, but nothing earth shattering and the only thing my friend was concerned about was whether or not I’d had a good time at the park.
Wow. It’s almost as if no one missed me at all. That kind of hurts. At the same time, it’s kind of a relief.
When you run a small business taking time off can be especially scary. If, on top of your Indiemade business, you also have a family to care for and / or another job, taking time off can be downright terrifying.
We tell ourselves that the fear comes out of our work ethic or possibly the fear of losing our jobs (or customers) if we’re not constantly taking care of business. But deep down, what we’re really afraid of is not being needed or missed.
Here’s the hard truth: if you’re good at what you do, your business and / or household should be able to run just fine without you, at least for a couple of days. Is it possible that you’ll lose a sale if you don’t answer a customer’s question within 24 hours? Yes. Is it possible that you’ll lose your mind, get sick, throw your back out, break out in a rash if you don’t take a break? Yes. And if you get really sick, then you’ll be away from your business, family and friends for a lot more than 48 hours.
If the holidays have you too overwhelmed to even think about relaxing, plan to take a break the last week of December. Pick a couple of days in a row and even if you can’t actually go away, tell your family and friends that you’ll be out of town and unreachable. Hide your phone. Build a wall around your worktable and do something totally mindless. Read. Watch TV. Play games. Go for a walk. Treat yourself to lunch out. What’s important is that you get some alone time and that you occupy your mind with activities that don’t benefit anyone but you.
Yes Virginia, it is okay to take break from work (even work you love) around the holidays. It’s not only okay, it’s vital for both your health and the health of your business.
From all of us at IndieMade, we wish you a happy, and relaxing holiday.