Holiday season is just around the corner. Will you be taking a genuine break from your health and fitness business? Will you switch off fully and go off grid?
When I was four, my dad gave up his paid job and set up his own business as an insurance broker. For the first few years his office was in our dining room, so work was everywhere, which drove my mum mad. This was well before the days of email and internet, but I remember that even when we were on holiday my Dad would sneak off to a call box to make ‘essential’ phone calls. After he opened offices and had staff, he used to ring the office at least once a day when we were on holiday. For a short time after these phone calls you could tell he was distracted and not really ‘with’ us.
Having run my own business for sixteen years and with all the blessings and curses of modern technology, I can imagine how my Dad would have felt. It is so easy to think, ‘I will just check my emails, it will only take five minutes’. What you forget is that for the next two hours you are stewing over the one email you read from an unhappy customer or worrying about the post on Facebook from a competitor, announcing they are opening up just down the road from you.
I have 5 rules for a happy business. In this modern 'always on' world my second business rule is probably the most challenging but easily the most important.
You must take holidays and your holiday must be 100% free of business.
So here is the challenge, can you genuinely go off grid:
Only me and my family
Free 100% of business
Free from all social media: Facebook, twitter, Whats App, Messenger!
Get new perspective
Refresh mind, body and spirit
Inspire, get new ideas
Dare to be unavailable
When you run a health and fitness business we give and give, always putting others first. It is essential you build in proper time where you can re-charge. Carve out at least 1 or 2 weeks to have a holiday. Spend time with just friends or family and do nothing what so ever that relates to business.
Turn your mobile phone into a 'dumb' phone and camera and ignore all the other communication devices on it. Days off and holidays should be technology free, so no emails, Facebook, internet, etc. I turn the emails off on my phone, delete the Facebook App and don’t go anywhere near the internet. At first it feels really tough, but after a while your body and your mind will thank you for it.
There is increasing evidence to suggest that being constantly online and available is detrimental to your health. It can lead to being stressed out, exhausted and perpetually teetering on the brink of a cold, or something worse, because your immune system is being fried.
When your business is ‘closed’ and it is outside office hours, unplug from technology and engage with your physical surroundings. It will help you to rest your brain and to feel refreshed when the next working day starts. I love active holidays. Its pretty hard to check your emails when you running or skiing or windsurfing!
I love being outdoors and it always puts things into perspective. Walking up a mountain reminds me that there is more to life than running a pilates business and that we are just small little dots on a very big planet!
I get some of my best ideas when I'm away from work and away from technology. If a business idea pops into my head while I'm on holiday then I use the voice recorder on my phone, quickly capture my idea, and then forget all about it and get on with my time off. The secret is to let business thoughts that drift into your brain just drift off again. Try not to start over-thinking or worrying about issues. Do you best to let it go!
If you are going to stay good at what you do, focused and enthusiastic, you have to have complete breaks. Some of the most successful business people in the world also relish their leisure time. Look at Richard Branson for example.
So dare to be unavailable. Put an out of office message on your email. Put a sign up of social media saying your unavailable for a couple of weeks, change your answerphone message to say you are shut. If you are genuinely worried that you might miss out on the deal of a lifetime while you are on holiday then ask someone to monitor your messages for you. If you are a sole trader with no other staff then there are some great virtual PA services out there. You could also ask someone you trust to deal with enquiries while you are away.
It is completely healthy and permissible to turn your back on your business for periods of time and to enjoy your family, friends and the things you love to do. So this summer #Go Off Grid.