Give yourself a break: Why removing yourself can actually improve your business

July 25, 2018
by Lawrie Breen

Time. It’s probably the most discussed aspect of business today. As the world becomes busier and there are more and more demands on our time, it can be difficult to fit it all in. In business this is especially prevalent, as competition increases and the pressure to deliver becomes intense, there always seems to be something that’s demanding your attention.

The question I often hear from other business owners is: How do we fit it all in? My response is different than you might think. It’s my firm belief that to be as effective as possible, sometimes removing yourself from the equation is the best way to achieve a result.

The first response to that can often start with “What the….” but let me explain why I think it works.

Work on, not in, the business

It’s really easy in business to become tied up in the day-to-day. We all understand that and it’s hard to remove yourself from that workload, especially if it’s your own business.

A strategy I employed years ago that I find most effective is to block out time every week to work on, not in, the business. I stick to this regardless of whatever pressure I’m under that week. It gives you the opportunity to think about what’s happening in the business, to look back at your strategy. Are you achieving the things you set out to achieve? Are there areas in the business that need your attention? Or conversely, are you dedicating too much time to something that’s not working?

You need to find what works for you, but for me, I block out 2 hours a week where it’s just time for me to focus on our business, people, and processes. I’ve found it’s really worked for me over a long period of time.

Leave the technology aside 

The next point might sound a little strange from the owner of a technology company, but the reality is that the rise of the smart phone and associated technology means we’re now more connected than ever before. It’s improved so many areas in our lives, however, the side effect of always being connected is that it becomes pervasive: It’s hard to switch off and it can become a distraction.

So, when taking time out of my business the key for me is turning off the distractions, removing myself from my technology too! Do it, and the first thing you’ll notice is that it instantly clears your mind. There’s no social media, email, or other technology-related distraction. Clearing your mind gives you the advantage of having a laser-like focus on what you’ve set that time aside to do. It will pay dividends in terms of maximising the time you’re spending.

That goes for phone calls as well. For me, I leave it so that I’m out of the office for those 2 hours. I can be reached if absolutely necessary, otherwise I’ll be back online later that day. This gives me the time to truly focus.

Utilise this approach across the business

For those of you already using this approach, the next step, in my mind, is to look at how you can roll it out further. I’m a big believer in empowering your team; I focus on giving them the environment in which they can do their roles and manage their part of the business with little interference.

We’ve got an amazing team at Inland Digital and, to my mind, they’re a great resource to work out how we can do things better. So my plan is to see how I can empower my team with the same approach, giving them the time to think about how their area of the business operates. I think it will pay long-term dividends for our business, giving us new opportunities for growth and, ultimately, help us to keep improving on how we deliver for our customers and partners.

Get away, it helps!

The final thought I want to leave you with is this: Working 365 days a year is hardly conducive to a successful business! Give yourself regular breaks, take the time to rejuvenate and recharge. It will benefit your business to have you refreshed and firing on all cylinders, while also giving you the chance to mull over your business challenges from the pool side, rather than the desk. There’s plenty of research on the long-term benefits, so don’t forget yourself in all of this; make sure you take a break!

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