Real Business readers can click here to download the full complementary ebook from which this advice is taken “How to get to the top and stay there”.
It may seem counterintuitive to think of free time (time away from all business-related thinking and activity) as essential to productivity.
However, more than 20 years of experience with entrepreneurs from over 60 industries has shown me that entrepreneurs are at their most creative and productive when they’ve had real time off. They make better decisions, see opportunities more clearly, and as a result, make more money.
Free time allows you to recharge your batteries and approach problems and opportunities with renewed ingenuity on your return.
Conversely, when you’re tired, everyone else seems stupid, and even simple tasks seem more onerous and take longer.
If you looked at your whole year, 365 days, and then made free time a genuine priority, by taking a number of days for working completely off the board, you’d have to be a lot more focused and deliberate in order to accomplish your goals in the remaining time.
You’d find more strategic and efficient ways to get your work done. You‘d say no to time-wasters and to activities and people who don‘t deserve your best attention.
To be absolutely clear, what really gives you a competitive edge in today‘s knowledge economy is the ability to combine ideas and technologies in new ways. It’s this creation of original solutions that clients and customers are willing to pay for. And you can’t do that when you’re at risk of burnout.
Doug McPherson is one example of a Strategic Coach client who realised this. Doug multiplied his income ten times, after achieving his initial goal of 20 per cent revenue growth in the first year. He’s also expanded his free time to the point that he now takes six weeks off every year, plus weekends.
So if you really want to grow your business, you need to get away from it.
Of course you can’t do this if you don’t have a team that can run the organisation when you’re away. But here’s the kicker – if your business can’t run in your absence, then you don’t have a business, you’ve just got a job.
In my previous article “Sinatra didn’t move pianos!” I talked about the importance of delegation, and how you can approach it. One of our sayings at Coach is: “You never know how good your team is until you leave.” If you‘re always there as the go-to person and decision maker, your team will never gain the confidence from having true responsibility and accountability. And if they make mistakes, well, let them! After all, your greatest innovations as an entrepreneur were probably a result of learning from your own mistakes.
When you go away, and your team finds ways to handle whatever situation arises, they feel a tremendous sense of ownership personal investment in busieness. You might be surprised at how often we hear entrepreneurs who’ve figured this out say, with a big grin on their faces, “My team is happy when I’m gone — they get more done!”
Though it may seem like a radical concept, the time you take off is always more than made up by the productivity gains. I’ve seen this in virtually every industry and with every size of entrepreneurial business.
So make it a priority to plan for and take more time off. I promise you it will be worth it.
To learn more about the Strategic Coach programme, see case studies of some top performing clients, and download your complimentary copy of the full e-book “How to get to the top and stay there”, simply click here.
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