This Christmas I managed to take 11 glorious days off work. This is pretty much unheard of as a freelancer, so I’m pretty proud that I made it work. If you’re curious to know how I managed this, I recently wrote a blog about protecting your time as a freelancer.
When you’re running your own business, you don’t get to say “that’s not my problem” about literally anything. Even when you’re done working for the day, you’re always thinking of ways to expand, evolve and grow. This part is normal. But getting so bogged down in the day-to-day that you can’t see the forest for the trees is not.
Switching off can be hard. But distance from your business is so important. Taking a step back and letting your mind wander can help you to decide how you want to move forward.
I might know that I need to switch off and take a step back, but saying is easier than doing. Here’s how my 11 day vacation went…
Day 1: I was pacing up and down wondering why I couldn’t just keep working. Like, who is really stopping me?
Day 2: I read a book from cover to cover and it was the best thing ever.
Day 3: I didn’t even feel the need to check my email, and I could breathe a little easier.
Days 4-10: Books devoured, food savoured and long walks in the park.
Day 11: *Breakthrough*
With the new decade looming, I started to think about what I wanted my life to look like in 2020.
I was hardly surprised to discover I don’t want to spend the whole year living to work. I wanted a little bit of balance and time to enjoy things.
Slow and steady wins the race
Bill Gates once said that we vastly overestimate what we can achieve in one year, and vastly underestimate what we can achieve in ten years. The turn of the decade has forced many of us to reflect on everything we have achieved in the past 10 years. How much of it was planned? And how much of it was a happy accident?
Hustle culture has taught us that we have to make lists, set goals and then work doggedly to achieve them. Bullet journals don’t allow us to leave anything to chance. We no longer clean the house, we “Hinch”, and there’s a dedicated notebook to keep us on track.
But I have to wonder what we’re missing out on when nothing is left to chance. The best moments in my life has always happened because I was idle and open to new ideas. And this is the attitude I want to take into 2020.
Let the house get a little messy, leave some space clear in your schedule, and give yourself time to discover what you really want from life and work.