Unplugging from the business that you’ve built from the ground up can seem like a daunting task for the committed entrepreneur, but we should never downplay its importance.
After all, there is plenty of evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, indicating that entrepreneurs who can take a break and unplug from time to time are happier, healthier, and more productive than their stressed-out counterparts.
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I recently tried to take a few days off and gain some perspective on the strategic direction of my business. Distancing myself from operations was harder than I expected, but along the way, I discovered three tips that helped me relax.
1. Ditch technology
Perhaps unsurprisingly, disconnecting from technology is the first step to truly relaxing. Of course, this takes a bit of commitment.
I’m practically attached to my iPhone and iPad, and the prospect of distancing myself from their constant flow of information was terrifying.
For the first few days, I locked both of them in the hotel room safe and distracted myself with the wonders that the resort had to offer.
There was a constant and unyielding curiosity about what was happening back at the office, but I was able to get over it by reminding myself that my team had things covered. By mid-way through my trip, any separation anxiety I felt had melted away, replaced by a feeling of liberation.
The process of distancing one’s self from technology requires effort and commitment, but the results are rewarding. I found that ditching my phone helped me to remain "in" the moment and aware of the world around me.
What is interesting is the fact that when I placed myself in the current moment, my thoughts became deeper and sharper than before.
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I realized that before disconnecting, I had been wandering through my days in a distracted haze, never fully focusing on one thing at a time. Going forward, I’m going to try and block out a few hours each day as cell phone-free time in the hopes of gaining more focus.
2. Explore different interests
The vast majority of my time is spent reading, writing, or thinking about business. However, I’ve found that focusing exclusively on business is limiting, for obvious reasons. I set out to explore other interests and materials to expand my perspective.
While on vacation, I dove into Jon Meacham’s “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.” While not exactly light reading, it did give me a fantastic insight into the rich history of a fascinating individual.
Interestingly, while reading the book, I couldn’t help but draw interesting ideas and insights that apply to my life and business. This change of pace provided me with some ideas for future articles that I’ll be posting over the next few weeks.
3. Trust in your team
In the past, I haven’t always been able to depend blindly on my team to remain proactive in my absence. This isn’t a knock on them, of course. It’s simply a function of our overall organizational maturity and direction.
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Now, however, I have a seasoned team that can not only survive in my absence but thrive. I think that should be the ultimate benchmark of good leadership. Successful leaders work to make themselves as unnecessary as possible. After all, the best thing a leader can do is make those that they serve more successful.
This took a considerable amount of effort and required me to make some very difficult choices about the composition of our team. However, this trip reinforced for me the value of those tough decisions. Having a team that you respect, admire, and trust in your absence is invaluable.
The process of unplugging and relaxing is something that entrepreneurs like myself should try and incorporate into our normal schedule.
Vacations in exotic locales obviously aid in the process of relaxation, but to realize the long-term benefits, we must find little ways to fit moments of solace and introspection into our daily routines
If one week of relaxation is as helpful as I found it to be, then one can only imagine the impact that a more balanced daily routine would have on my state of mind.