The following is a guest blog written by Lauren Black. Thanks, Lauren!
Client work had become the bane of my existence. Even with working crazy hours, I felt like I could never get ahead with my own business tasks. My marketing was sporadic and lacked a strategic plan. It was more like, “What am I going to write about this week?” (that was if I even had time for writing that week). I knew something had to change.
My husband was scheduled to work two 12-hour shifts one weekend. Rather than my typical weekend cleaning, I decided to use those two days for business planning and to figure out a better system for my business. I spent the next two days away from my desk, computer, and phone at a folding table in my living room—brainstorming with dry-erase markers on the sliding glass doors, soul searching with pen and paper in a notebook, and rigorously planning the best path for me and my business.
I had so many “aha” moments as I worked away from my desk and distractions. No housework, no client work, no notifications. I’ve coined this a Bosscation… a chance to take a break from your usual hustle to catch your breath, strategically plan, and make space to think. If you’re able to book a hotel or Airbnb for a Bosscation, that’s great, but even a coffee shop will do.
So what can a Bosscation do for you?
1. Gain a Fresh Perspective
Have you ever pulled into your driveway and realized you don’t remember any of your ride home? Scary, right?! Routines can put your brain on autopilot—whether on the road or in your business. When you repeat the same tasks, from the same workspace, you trudge through the day without creating anything new. Tunnel vision can confine you to single-minded thinking. Stepping away from your everyday reality will open your mind to a fresh perspective. Stimulating your senses with new sights and scents can trigger more creativity, allowing you to problem solve and brainstorm in a new way.
Perhaps you’ve been stuck on the issue of how to find more customers. Then you spend time working from a coffee shop and notice all of the regulars ordering muffins and fruit, on top of their usual brew. BAM! You realize that you don’t need more customers, you just need to sell more to your current customers. Problem solved.
2. Renew Your Mindset
Similar to your fresh perspective, stepping away from your daily grind can help you renew your mindset. If you’re overwhelmed, stressed, and tired, then you won’t be functioning at your full capacity. Projects that should take you two hours may take four. Four bitter, frustrating hours that make you feel like you hardly accomplished anything by the end of the day. You may think that temporarily halting client work will set you behind, but it will actually make space for more efficient work when you return to your desk. That will help you ditch the overwhelm and you’ll feel more rewarded for what you’ve accomplished.
We often have “aha” moments in the shower or on a walk because we actually have space to think and create, rather than stressing over our to-do list. Getting away from your standard routine will trigger “create mode” so you can think smarter. I’ve made it a non-negotiable in my business to work outside at least one day a week. (Yes, even in the Florida heat. Luckily the community pool has Wi-Fi and a covered patio.) I usually accomplish more in my one day outside than I do at my desk since I feel more relaxed and can focus on the task at hand.
3. Be Intentional with Your Goals
Now that you’ve got a fresh perspective and a more positive outlook, you can evaluate your goals from a better state of mind. Don’t judge yourself for what you haven’t accomplished. Instead, look at what you have achieved. Then take some time to soul search and ensure your current path is aligned with your long-term desires. What would you like to be known for? What are the non-negotiables that you don’t want to break from? If you’re going through life on autopilot, it can be easy to get side-tracked. No one plans to accumulate $100,000 of debt; it slowly creeps in one charge at a time. The path you take now determines the destination of your future, so being intentional with your goals is critical.
Want to get paid to speak at conferences? Start small by adding in guest expert presentations and podcast interviews. Want to host a conference for local business owners? Start networking and hosting small workshops. Look at the big picture and then think about what milestones you need to reach to get there.
It’s tough to do long-term vision casting in just 30-minutes between client calls and emails, while you’re frustrated about a customer refund request and are wondering what you’re going to make for dinner. You must make space to really think things through and get to the core of your desired destination.
4. Work ON Your Business, Not Just IN Your Business
“I don’t have time to work on my business,” you tell yourself. You’re so caught up in the daily grind and client deadlines that you neglect the best thing for your businesses—planning. Whether that’s planning your content so you know exactly what you’ll be writing and posting this quarter, planning that new idea you were once excited about, or planning your quarterly goals. If your planning looks more like a few scattered stickies and a notebook full of half-baked ideas, something’s got to change.
Spending intentional time away from your clients and customers can create space for planning. Rather than being reactive and doing the minimal to get by, you can now be proactive and strategic. If you plan your content or your next offer one piece at a time, it’ll likely feel disjointed and may not support your long-term goals and vision. You need uninterrupted time to plan, so you’re not distracted with every popup and ping.
My Challenge for You
Take some time away from your computer, Wi-Fi, and client requests to let your creative juices flow. Renew your mind so you can have more clarity and focus when you get back to your desk. Trust me, your clients and loved ones will thank you for it.
Lauren Black is a creative strategist who helps entrepreneurs break free from their daily grind to plan for success. Having worked in the analytical corporate world and the creative design industry, Lauren combines right-brain and left-brain thinking to create strategic business solutions. Lauren currently runs Legacy Loft, a graphic design & branding studio, and Elevate & Cultivate, a community for design professionals. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.