How-To - Jun 28, 2017

How to carve out “me time” (and why it’s important)

Tips and tactics to help you unwind so that you can become a better entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurs often work long hours, trying to do everything themselves and assuming they’ll be able to slow down once their efforts pay off. “If you keep operating that way, you’ll either plateau or you’ll burn out,” warns Valeri Hall Little, a business-efficiency designer whose company, intandem, helps business owners streamline operations so they can focus on what they do best. “We need that downtime to rejuvenate, to renew and to have the energy to do more.”

To help you find more “me time”, she suggests the following:

1. Be mindful of your energy

Knowing when you’re naturally poised to produce will help you understand when you’ll be at your best – and when to take a break. “If you’re a morning person and you go right into your inbox at 9:00 a.m., you’ve just depleted and wasted the prime energy-and-focus time of your day,” explains Hall Little. She recommends using your peak-productivity periods to tackle the most important items on your to-do list (think: product development, generating leads and the like) rather than getting bogged down in time- and energy-consuming minor tasks.

2. Change your scenery

Take a 10-minute walk around the block to help reduce the negative effects of long-term sitting (which include increased blood pressure, higher blood sugar levels, and weight gain). Better still, invite a colleague to join you for a non-work chat. “Nothing will block you faster than not taking care of yourself. Get up and move,” says Hall Little. “It’s like putting gas in your tank.”

3. Delegate what you dread

Struggling with tasks outside your skill set takes you away from your expertise, so seek out ways to automate or delegate them. “Delegation is hard for business owners because a lot of them are control enthusiasts,” says Hall Little, who advises her clients to start small and slowly add to the delegation list.

4. Unplug

Whether for a few hours each day or over the entire weekend, turn off your phone and step away from the laptop. “You’re not just an entrepreneur,” explains Hall Little. “You have other people in your life and will benefit from spending quality time with them.”

5. Do a test vacation

Extend a weekend by a day or two and see what happens. “If you’ve built a business that stops without you, you’ve put yourself in a risky position,” warns Hall Little. Spending a few minutes jotting down what can and can’t be done in your absence will give you a better idea of what needs to change so your company can grow.

“Remember, you are a human being,” says Hall Little. She encourages entrepreneurs to ditch the busyness-means-success mindset and focus on refuelling themselves to drive their business forward.