Business owners have a serious obsession with productivity.
And, with good reason. Generally, more productivity translates to a better bottom line.
I have several tricks up my sleeve for creating more efficiency and productivity throughout my workday. These strategies have allowed me to accomplish more without increasing my to-do list.
But, I return again and again to my #1 productivity booster, which I refer to as the 3R’s:
Rest. Relax. Refuel.
Before I created YBBL, I was in desperate need of a change. I was deep into the cycle of “feeling like I always needed to be working”. Somehow I feared that my business would “fall apart” if I stepped away.
I was working from the moment I woke up until I finally “crashed” at night. And, it wasn't even effective. Working all the time was making me less productive, less profitable, and generally miserable.
We all have times in our businesses that need more effort. But, my consistent over-working habits created the perfect scenario for burn-out. My nervous system was SO chronically stressed that it finally said “no more”. My body went into full shut-down mode, by way of an auto-immune disorder, which made work impossible.
Not good for business, not good for me.
Thankfully, there was a silver lining. I ditched my unhealthy work habits in favor of activities that supported my wellbeing. I focused on sustainable habits. I took more breaks. I put boundaries around my “work time”. And, I made sure that I was nourishing myself with good food, plenty of water, movement, activities that I enjoyed, and connection.
And, I kept repeating to myself: Rest, Relax, Refuel.
Creating new habits was key. But, to fully commit, I needed to release the negative thought patterns that kept me from connecting with my intuition. I spend a lot of time “shoulding” myself, when what I needed to do was lean-in and listen to my body and mind.
Once I let go of all the “external” voices and concentrated on listening to my own inner wisdom, things became more effortless.
Let's take a look at how you can get more R's into your daily practice and how you can prepare your business for your upcoming downtime!
My body sends clear messages when it’s time to recharge. I know it’s time to step away from my work when I’m “dragging”. Brain fog is also a CLEAR signal that I need to rest or reset. I also try to be mindful of other signals like hunger, thirst, and the need to rest.
Recently, I blogged on the Science of Self-Care. Understanding the effects of “hustling” and over-working on my body was a motivating factor in investing more down-time.
All work and no play leads to continuous activation of our sympathetic nervous system. Which leads to chronic stress. Chronic stress is bad news and harmful to the body. While in this state, your normal processes of digestion, liver detoxification, cellular repair, immune function, and reproduction are interrupted.
Symptomatically you feel:
😟 chronically fatigued
😟 irritable & overwhelmed
😟 unable to concentrate
😟 unable to sleep
😟 generally ill & sore
In short, you feel like crap. Certainly not your “Best Self” doing your “Best Work”.
All I wanted to do and COULD do when I was chronically stressed was crawl into bed, hideout under the covers, and pray that I would be left alone. I used to make up excuses to go home and take a nap in the afternoons, so I could make it through my evenings. 😟
Taking a break doesn’t always have to involve long vacations (although you SHOULD plan out a few of those each year). Carving out space to rest, relax and refuel throughout the week is part of your “sustainable business plan”. And, the key to a “happy life plan”. (It's made me WAY happier! Yayyy!)
By taking time away from our businesses we can expect:
🥰 Increased focus & clarity: Our brains are like a muscle and can “fatigue” with overuse. We need to plan rest times for our mind, like we need to have “rest days” when working out,
🥰 Increased creativity: Innovative thinking doesn’t happen when we are punishing ourselves by over-working. Take a short nap or practicing yoga nidra can boost our ability to tap into our creative centers. I like a short walk when I am feeling “stuck”.
🥰 Increased efficiency: Want to get more done in less time? Learn how to “work in focus-blocks” by using techniques like the Pomodoro Effect. This simple practice helps you hone your concentration; allowing you to do more and feel more productive over time.
🥰 Increased capacity for decision making: I make the best decisions when I am rested, fed, and in “wise-mind” (good emotional space). And, I can make really crappy decisions when I am overdoing it. I learned that lesson the hard way. Now I find it easier to take breaks, give my body what it needs to perform well, and ensure that I have support for the challenges that come with entrepreneurship.
🥰 Increased immunity: Burning the candle at both ends and lack of sleep generally guarantees that I will end up with a cold, flu or feeling blah. By activating my parasympathetic nervous system with self-care activities and rest, I am boosting my body's “immune-capacity”.
🥰 Increased space for assessing your course: Sometimes, we need to look at the “big picture”. Taking a break gives you the space to assess your plans and make adjustments as necessary. Without taking the time to reflect, you run the risk of maintaining work habits or structures that aren’t actually making you more efficient.
One of the hurdles that I discuss with clients is how to carve out the time in our schedule to take longer breaks.
To make sure you get to unplug, follow my roadmap:
Schedule it! One of my very first steps is to schedule my vacations and downtime when quarterly or yearly planning. I know that if I don’t pencil it in, it’s not likely to happen. It gives me that sense of excitement, something to look forward to when I am glancing through my calendar. It is also critical to help me plan my campaigns and projects around the times when I will be “out of office”. Why not plan my business activities first? Because I use my own best advice, which is to make sure that my cup is full so that I am better able to serve my clients. Plus, I usually come back inspired with new ideas to share...#winning!
Notify Clients & Staff. I like to give my clients and staff plenty of time to prepare for my time away. I’m protective of my boundaries when I am “out-of-office”. My downtime is a sacred space for myself and uninterrupted time to connect with my family. I turn my phone off and will check my messages once per day, in case of an emergency. Before I leave, I work hard to make sure that all my “ducks are in a row”, so that I can relax and unwind.
Set Up Automations. Use your tech to your advantage friends! You can set up an autoresponder for email! This helps answer common questions, communicate when you’ll be back in touch, let clients know who they can reach in your absence, and provide links to commonly asked-for resources.
Many of us are already planning and scheduling out our social media. I just confirm that I have my content scheduled for the time when I am away, plus I like to add an extra week before and after my trip, to make it easier for last-minute activities and catching up when I return.
Then it’s just a matter of tying up any extra loose strings before heading out: pay outstanding invoices, respond to emails, confirm plans with clients and staff, and get everyone what they need before you leave.
Plan For A “Buffer” When You Return. My secret for returning to work fully rested is planning a few days of downtime when I return. I need time to “reintegrate”. There is always laundry to do, grocery shopping, getting my kiddo prepared to return to school. Plus, I like to have a day to quietly respond to emails, check-in with staff before I do the “full-return”.
So remember, the more you create space to rest, relax and refuel, the more productive you actually become.
Listen to your body’s cues and give yourself space to gain perspective. You'll return feeling rested, inspired, motivated and creative again. It’s the perfect way to recharge so that your Best Self can do Your Best Work!
Hi there! I’m Jordan Eades, Holistic Business Coach and founder of Your Best Business LIfe. My passion is guiding women business owners who want to make a big impact in business—without sacrificing what matters most.
Your Best Business Life coaching provides the keys to overcoming overworking; allowing you to create a sustainable and profitable business, focus on the work that fuels your passion, unapologetically invest in self-care, prioritize experiences that light you up, and provide the support you need to thrive.