‘The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it”  Jim Goodwin

You may have noticed that I was not “around here” the last few days. We took the last half of the week off for the  Fourth of July holiday. The ability to take time for myself and my family is a very important part of everything that I choose  to do with my life.

It should be for you also. The problem is, for most of you it’s not. Why don’t you take time away from your pursuits of vocation? Probably for the same reason I never did for many years.

You may miss something. Your competition doesn’t take time off. You don’t have time to take time... And so it goes until you get so unbelievably burnt out that you hit the proverbial wall. By then, you are in need of recovery, not just relaxation. Letting yourself get to that point also kills every bit of productivity, mojo, drive, and anything else you may have had going for you.  So, what do you do?

Just like anything else, you have to be purposeful about making yourself take time off. The most successful people in the world DO NOT burn the candle at both ends. The work about fifty to fifty-five hours a week on average. They also take good breaks and vacations throughout the year.

So, how does one take time off?

  • Plan it. Seriously, take a day a week for a start. Begin with a full twenty-four hour period to begin with. Do the same with your family time and vacations. When they’re throwing dirt on top of you at six feet under, your family won’t care about or want to remember all the hours you spent at work. Think about it.
  • Unplug thyself! Can you do it? No Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Pinterest, email... None of it, for a defined amount of time. Leave your phone somewhere away from you. Take time off of constantly checking up on your work world. It will still be there when you get back.
  • Set up real emergency contacts. Have one to two people be a filter for REAL emergencies. Make sure they know the difference between a true emergency and, well, regular work. Can it wait? Probably. Give them your spouses phone number or a friends.
  • Take time to mentally unplug yourself from everything you are taking time away from. This is hard, but you can do it! Make yourself focus on your family, friends, where you are, a great book, anything else. This is massively important. Why? Because, it rejuvenates your mind. Your grey matter will be happier. You will think more clearly. Your family and friends will appreciate you focusing on them. Your dog will definitely like it!
  • Consider the rewards. When you purposefully take time off, you are refreshed and become a better you! You will have new ideas come to you. You will have a new perspective on problems and people. This is inevitable and the best part! You’ll actually be able to come back and work better and smarter! Oh yeah, you won’t die of a heart attack or develop an ulcer. Bonus, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, work is massively important, but allowing yourself to take time off is just as important. It is something you’ll never regret.

A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps.
Charles Goodyear

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Comment by Jeff David on July 9, 2012 at 3:35pm

Very invigorating. Thank you for your words. It's tough to explain the burn-out that I felt a year ago. Not until I began my writing and my involvement with 48 Days, did I get that change in perspective.

Just this afternoon I was listening to one of Dan's Podcasts. He spoke of using your time deliberately and scheduling it out. I have spent so much time reacting and putting out fires that I have got nothing done.

Thanks again,

Jeff David

Comment by Robert Clinton on July 9, 2012 at 1:13pm

Sounds like a very rejuvenating week for you brother. You're absolutely right on... Taking time away and being very intentional about how you do it, can open the door for a fresh new look, clarity, and peace of mind to help move back into your work with an insane amount of productivity! Welcome back :)

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