“Meilani,” you say, “How can playing hooky possibly be good for business?”
I saw this education and life oriented post on Twitter:
This got me to thinking. When I was in high school, I lived in a beach locale. I wasn’t on the beach, but I was close to many beaches, and this became impetus for me and my high school bff RockSandy to play hooky and go spend the day at the beach.
We were smart enough about it…that is, we didn’t skip on test days, or big assignment due days, and at the time, we could skip 3 days per semester with no consequences that we cared about enough to forego a blissful beach day. A 4th day skipped would earn us a zero in our classes, so we always kept count and only skipped the 3 days. I guess you could say we played hooky responsibly, lol. ..
Fast Forward to Adulthood
Did that make us bad workers, slackers or delinquents later on in life? Hmmmm…she went on to work as legal counsel for a big sports corporation and I become a graphic designer and public information associate for a public agency, so I’m thinking no. Today my business reputation as a solopreneur consultant is pretty good, and I am not haunted by repercussions of skipping high school to go to the beach. Now don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not advocating skipping school to today’s students! I am saying that taking care of our mental and emotional well being is really important in today’s busy business environments. ..
The Virtues of Playing Hooky
Life is too short to be always stressed out by business. After all, one of the perks of being a business owner or solopreneur is supposed to be flexibility in scheduling, though it doesn’t always feel like that’s the case – especially when we are doing it all ourselves. Back in high school, I was shy, and people thought I was just different. I liked comic books, reading, and dungeons and dragons back when being a geek was still something that made one unpopular, instead of being the new cool. Those skip-school-and-go-to-the-beach-with-a-real-bff days really did a lot towards keeping my spirits up. Now as an adult living in the age of technology and internet and wifi and cellular connections when we are always on and always reachable, those skip days are even more important. It’s so easy to fall into a routine of never taking time for ourselves, and that leads to feeling burned out, and losing our passion for our business. As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So play hooky every once in a while. Be sensible about it – don’t do it on days when you really need to be there. But if you are feeling burned out, do take another look at what “when you really need to be there” really means, and recognize the value of beating burnout and keeping the passion and productivity in your business. ..
How to Play Hooky Responsibly
1. Give Yourself Permission to Recharge Burnout can cost you much more lost productivity than a hooky day. This Forbes.com post sheds light on the causes and costs of burnout. It lists 10 consequences of burnout that have a big negative effect on your health, which in turn affects your business. Have you ever had a big crash in the afternoon after lunch, and struggled to work through it, only to find you made more mistakes and didn’t get your work finished? Whereas if you had allowed yourself to take a 20 minute power nap, you would have felt refreshed and ready to tackle that to do list like a boss. If you give yourself permission to take that power break without guilt, you can give your mind and body what it needs, and then get back to business refreshed and ready to go. Likewise, giving yourself permission to take a day off means you will allow your body and spirit to recharge without guilt. This can have a very refreshing effect on your body, mind and spirit that will enable you to get back to your tasks like a pro the next day. .. 2. Schedule in Hooky Time When you feel burnout coming on, plan a hooky day for yourself. Pick a day when you don’t have any appointments, and don’t schedule any appointments. Let your answering service take phone messages. You can always check them periodically in case of emergencies, but be sure you define “emergency” first – which events would be more important than alleviating your business burnout, and which events would really require immediate attention. .. 3. Go Somewhere Pretty Go enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch at a favorite cafe with a nice view.
Or maybe a nice spa day with a poolside mani-pedi is your thing. Treat yourself like a queen or king.
Or if you’re on a budget, go to a park or beach, pack a picnic, and bring a good book, or a sketchpad or notebook.
4. If you just can’t let go of work, then schedule a day of planning and do your planning somewhere pretty.
This way you can still go play hooky, and manage to do something business-productive too, to ease that guilt (that you really shouldn’t be feeling). Take a notebook, or if you really must, bring your tablet or smartphone – but turn off your chat and phone apps.
Use apps that let you do some offline work and then when you get home you can connect and upload. For example, the Google Docs app allows you to work offline, and there are some great Mind Map apps out there too. Personally, I love doing my planning using Mind Maps, they really help me visualize what I want to accomplish. Getting out of the normal workspace and going to a pleasant cafe or pretty outdoors setting can be a great catalyst for de-stressing, which will allow your creativity to flow, and that’s always a good thing when planning or strategizing a project.
See? Playing Occasional Hooky Can Be Good for Business!
In summary, first give yourself permission to destress and recharge, then take some time management and organization steps that will enable you to do so. That way you can play hooky without feeling guilty, and let your mind and body recharge and rejuvenate so you can go back to work feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Still Feeling Overwhelmed and Burned Out?
If you are taking steps to fight burnout and still feeling overwhelmed, it might be time to start outsourcing some of all that DIY work you are doing yourself. Contact me – I can help! Social media outreach, public speaking and networking, and graphic design are all services I offer to small business owners, solopreneurs and non-profits. We’ll discuss your budget and your needs and find a plan that works for you, so you can get back to loving your business and doing what you feel passionate about.