Remember weekends? Those sets of two days at the end of work-weeks back when you had a job where you actually worked for someone else? You know, weekends: those two-day breaks when you didn't have to work and you could just go out, hang with your friends, sleep in, go to the movies, do nothing? Those.
I forgot all about those.
The solopreneur hustle is 24-7. It's heady, it's fun, it's work. And I don't know about you, but when I get in the work mode, I *really* get into it. I get so into to it that I can't stop. It becomes a habit that is hard to break. A habit that precludes breaks.
As a person who loves getting things done, it's so hard to turn it off, when the engines are churning at full-steam, when the To Do's are getting ticked off the lists at warp-speed, when the kicking of ass and taking of names is going just so great. So hard to stop and yet. And yet, one must. And it ain't easy.
Taking breaks is hard to do.
I admit that, weekend-before-last, I had a hard time relaxing when we were over at some friends' on a Saturday night playing cards. I had my phone next to me on the table because, even if I was playing cards, I was still working. Everyone around me was talking, laughing, and I felt separate, pre-occupied, mind still ticking along, participating in the conversation and yet also still coming up with business ideas, Pro and Con'ing them in my head, spinning out blog posts. You know, the works.
After about 45 minutes, I realized, with amazement, that I was laughing myself to tears over some ridiculous thing happening at the table. With amazement because, from how good that belly laughter felt, how surprising and relieving, it had clearly been too long since I laughed that hard, since I let myself go that completely.
Work is wonderful. Work is a habit. Work is a straitjacket.
Weekends -- whole days that are not-work -- are essential.
Yesterday, Monday back from a three-day weekend, was a GREAT day. I worked from home all day in the quiet with no meetings or calls scheduled, no site visits, no commitments other than to work methodically and happily through my list. At a certain point, when I had my gorgeous lunch of leftovers assembled in front of me -- leftovers from all the cooking I'd done over the weekend, I realized that I was doing exactly what I wanted, what suits me. Because I was rested from taking three days off in a row, from gardening, playing, going to the County Fair, napping, reading, I could see my work clearly and with enthusiasm. With fresher eyes. Because I took a break.
What is a weekend, indeed.
Three consecutive days off allowed me to re-focus on what really matters to me even more than a kick-ass business, #4 on my manifesto: a kick-ass life. One that includes baking something simple but gorgeous & awesome to take to the Fourth of July party, and harvesting from the garden and eating and sharing the wealth, and biking to the County Fair for an afternoon of nerding out in the 4H tent, and devouring (hahaha) The Girl With All the Gifts, my latest obsessive post-apocalyptic read, and spending time with family and friends being the me that is not *just* the business ringmaster. Being delighted. Laughing.
Weekends are almost exactly like taking a break from coffee, which I've done occasionally in the past. The only good thing I can say for giving up coffee is that when I've gone back on the shit, damn, I'm aware what a great drug it is, how delicious, how much I love it.
The same is true for work. Take a break and enjoy other things you love. Take a two-day break (I'm telling myself) every 5 days, so that when you come back, you realize what a great thing work is, how delicious, how much you love it. Your business, your life, will thank you for it.