We’ve all bought into the dream.
You know the one. With the attractive pictures. Of you (or me) sipping a pina colada, resting on the beach, while cash pours into our bank accounts because we run an auto-pilot home business on the Internet.
We’ve all realized it isn’t as rosy a dream to live through.
Reality bites. Early. Web entrepreneurs discover that there’s a ton of work to put in first, before that dream of relaxing on the beach comes true. And so, some of them give up and abandon the dream. The rest of us put our head down, nose to the grindstone, and prepare to give it our best shot.
Everyone Needs To Relax
You may enjoy the work you do. Or some parts of it, at least. The rest becomes a “necessary evil”. But hey, someone’s got to do it.
As you grow more successful, outsourcing the bits you no longer enjoy becomes an option. And then, things become much more fun.
It’s fortunate that I found the work I love to do. It’s also no accident. It happened intentionally. In little steps. Saying “No” to one thing after another as I found it wasn’t as much fun or exciting as it first appeared.
But even if most of my ‘working day’ is filled with things I enjoy doing, it’s still necessary to take some time off to relax. To tune out. Turn off. Shut down. And do something different.
As we near the end of every year, we tend to look back on the past 12 months to evaluate and assess what sort of progress we’ve made. Surely you do something of the kind too. It’s only natural. The period of introspection and analysis gives us some valuable feedback on how we’ve been performing, plus a healthy dose of motivation and direction for what we plan to do in the year ahead.
This year, a question I’ve added to my checklist is:
Did you take enough time to relax?
And my answer was a resounding “Yes”.
Here’s why that’s such a good thing.
Why Relaxing Matters
Running a business, even an online business that’s not too big, can be a roller-coaster ride.
Exciting highs. Heart-breaking lows. And as we juggle responsibilities, fit all we have to do into a crowded and shrinking work day, shifting and adapting to a constantly changing playground, battling the effects of recessionary trends or hungry new competition, we experience stress.
If it keeps on accumulating, we start to feel the ill effects. Sagging enthusiasm. Frequent tiredness. Fading optimism. Bleaker outlook for the future. Even serious health problems.
Relaxing frequently has never been more important. Here are some reasons why.
* De-stress: Functioning under a constant burden of stress is like trying to fly an airplane with the wheels unlocked and the flaps down. There’s more ‘drag’ and greater resistance against which much of your energy is wasted.
* Get Creative: Your best ideas often pop-up when you’re most relaxed and in free thinking mode. While working under adverse conditions may provide an adrenaline surge to meet deadlines, it really isn’t a great way to spur creativity.
* Evaluate and Assess: Relaxing from time to time lets you spend some time reviewing your performance and seeing how well things are going. Do they need adjustment? Is some part out of balance? Are you doing what needs to be done? Should you delegate stuff? These answers are easier to find while you relax.
* Celebrate: Taking time in your hectic schedule to break away from work and rejoice in what you’ve accomplished can be a forceful drive to achieve even more. If you can’t do this daily, shoot for at least once a week. And if you can’t find something big to celebrate, why, revere the small ones!
* Rejuvenate: A short ‘vacation’ from the hustle and bustle of your typical work-day can help ignite the passion and excitement that got you started and fired you up in the early days, when running a business wasn’t so much a chore as a joyous adventure. Capture that spirit, in a small way, through relaxing breaks from the routine.
How Can You Relax While Running a Business?
So you’re convinced that you need to relax. But you’re (very reasonably) concerned about how to go about it. I mean, someone’s got to mind the office, right?
Well, yes. But the nice part about running an Internet based business is that many components of your routine can be handled through a combination of automation and outsourcing.
No two businesses are exactly alike, and you may have unique needs that won’t fit a mold. But if you look hard enough and critically enough at your current processes and systems, you’ll realize there are some which are repetitive enough to automate – and others that are well-documented and streamlined enough to hand over to a helper.
Take inbound email, for instance. You can set up rules in your email client that handle specific messages with standard sequences. A query from a customer can be routed to be automatically dealt with by a software script that replies to the email with a set of frequently asked questions, and a link to use in case the answers aren’t in it.
A complaint or request for assistance can be routed to a help desk manned by outsourced employees or assistants who can respond using pre-defined templates. So even without you in the office to deal with email, most queries get handled promptly.
You can replicate a similar system across various activities and responsibilities that keep you tied to your desk all day. Definitely this takes some planning and action. You will have to analyze your present system, document the way you handle specific issues, and see if they lend themselves to either automation or outsourcing.
Sooner or later, your online business will reach a point where this becomes necessary if you are to scale and grow. Or even if you are to find much needed respite from the daily grind in the midst of managing your successful business.
Being proactive about seeking out and identifying areas for optimization, and then putting systems into place that will leave you out of the picture, can help you take relaxing breaks without compromising the efficiency of your business in any way.
Photo courtesy of Lost in the RP on Flickr.
Very interesting article. I think it’s a great eye opener and I especially loved the benefits we gain by taking time off. I think taking a step back from the daily grind truly allows our mind to view the big picture and this in return can give us insights we would not of had if we were continuously working. When were a piece of the puzzle we can’t see the whole puzzle, however once we take that step back the whole puzzle becomes visible which equates to enriched creativity.
I totally agree with your post there, online business is not as easy at it looks, we need to put in limitless efforts for our online business success. People tend to fail because they never give their best shot. Moreover, if you’re in online business you need to learn one thing. “Learn how to fail”. Failure is the stepping stone for your success. Learn from your failure and it will make you a much successful person..:)
Planning is very important in online business. However, many of them do not execute their plans. Other than that, online marketers or business owners should be courage enough to take risk because i feel the person who is willing to take the risk will work more harder towards his success
Anyway great post there Dr Mani
Hi Dr Mani,
Great post and excellent advice. I think one of the tough things about trying to relax is how counter intuitive it can seem to do so. Our whole lives we get it drilled into us how very hard work is a major key component to success, so we have a hard time relaxing or even shutting down. Most of our role models have taught us how to work hard but not how to rest 🙂 I also think in our modern world of 24/7 internet connectivity it can be hard to tear away from it all and relax.
One of the things that stood out for me the most in your post is how relaxing can give you a much needed change in perspective. I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me. I’m stuck banging my head against a problem for days, I take some time to relax and step away from the problem, and when I’m not even thinking about the problem the solution just pops into my head. Many of my greatest insights have come during relaxation times.
Thanks again for reminding me of what I really should be doing more of. Time to go relax!!!
You really are more creative when you take the time for a “deep breathe” I also believe that outsourcing and automation are key.
Well, Mani – I don’t want be stress, I need to relax, thanks for your advising.
I don’t outsource anything, but still manage to take three naps in a day. One thing I have noticed is – I do much more when I take those naps in comparison to those days when I don’t take any nap.
Ah I wish I could relax maybe if I did it would help with my bipolar. Maybe 2012 will be the year that I finally trust someone and team up with someone to run my blogs jointly.
Happy New Year everyone
One would think my business would be an easy one to run and relax to at the same time however like any online venture it can be very stressful.
I am glad to have found this post, Dr. Mani, very helpful even though my business is in the area of relaxation. Sometimes we are so involved there are times we don’t feel we have the right to relax or can afford to relax as things will get behind.
I use healing music to guide me through my weeks and days, sometimes taking an hour at a time but as I was reading through your message, Dr. Mani, I realized I can still improve. Being an expert in certain areas doesn’t make us perfect as we still have room for improvement in whatever we do, I am one of those people.
So thanks for sharing this message and I want to take this opportunity to wish all your readers a prosperous and healthy New Year. And Dr. Mani I wish you all the best in the work you do in helping others in the world.
Hmm, I always knew that taking the time to relax was important for business reasons, but I did not know they are that important! You make very compelling statements as to why taking the necessary ‘break’ is very necessary.
Any business venture is stressful, but the online world does make it much easier for an owner to ‘take care of business’ when he or she is not present. Although, it is still easier said than done, that is why we are all in the entrepreneurship field.
I definitely agree. I can get so stressed sometimes over the huge goals I want to accomplish and never sit down and just relax. Usually this is more productive anyways, and a heck of a lot more enjoyable. It’s good to be working like crazy at times, but everyone needs to step away every now and then. Thanks a lot!
Having time to relax is really important for all of us. Too much work is not good for the system. There’s always a need for us to unwind and recharge so we can work out so good on our next plans.
it’s time to relax. you are spot on about the hard work in the beginning. relaxing helps clear your mind and come up with new ideas just like you have said.
Hi Dr. Mani,
As usual you are full of great and practical advice. It is hard to let go of aspects of my business and outsource but I am learning each day especially as I have to deal with two babies. I love what I do and you are right; relaxing can be a pain sometimes. But if I can make it to that place in that photo there, I’m sure I won’t be hard pressed to relax 🙂
Thanks for your ideas and tips.
The problem I have is that, if I do manage to free up time I end up filling it with something else, usually a new idea that I want to develop.
The fact is that relaxing can be quite boring, some people like doing it others would rather get back to their business 🙂
You need to be able to relax and have others takes on some of the responsibility. Being in business for yourself can be overwhelming, but if you learn to outsource you will find relief this article is great
what I really need to learn is when to work and when to relax. I haven’t really set up a schedule, I just kind of work on my online business a few hours a day, sometimes longer, just whenever I feel like starting to work on it. I love the freedom of being able to just sit down when I want to work on it and relax the other time, but I also feel like that freedom hurts me too. I find myself relaxing a little too much at times instead of working on what I need to be doing.
Great article! My problem is once I arrive at work I have difficulty leaving. I love work, even know I need to strike a balance!
In my opinion,first of all we should make prioties for our plans ,how to do and when to do .then we set a regular plan to relax. in thios way we spre time for everthing even though relaxation.