Do you work 7 days a week? Do you feel compelled to answer client communications 24/7? Do you feel like there’s too much on your plate to actually take a vacation?
I have had quite a few clients who, when we first began working together, never took time for vacations. This pattern can lead to lower energy, less enthusiasm, and ultimately, to burnout (never a good look when you’re trying to project your best self to clients and prospects!).
To give you an example, I had a client who, when we first began working together, worked 7 days a week. One of our first steps for her was to set boundaries between her personal and professional lives. She was able to begin leaving the office at a reasonable time to enjoy dinner, and was able to begin taking weekends off consistently, and even vacations. As a result of taking better care of herself and having better balance between her personal and professional lives, her business grew and she saw even greater revenue!
Are you wondering how that could happen for you? As people begin to take better care of themselves, to train their teams to support their boundaries, and re-establish appropriate boundaries with clients, they often grow much happier (no surprise there, right?). They’re taking better care of themselves, are happier, and as a result, enjoy their work more. Plus having adequate time off means that focus and productivity can rejuvenate and it’s possible to maintain a higher quality of work over the long haul.
When we’re happy and taking care of ourselves, everyone around us can tell. If you want to show your clients that you can support them in having the wonderful life they desire, you’ll be a more attractive advisor by modeling positive qualities. Plus you will set a positive example for other team members and create an upbeat environment that breeds more success.
On the other hand, without adequate rest and time off, our productivity and quality of work suffer (not to mention our physical and mental health!). This is not new information, but in our culture where work stress, little sleep, and long days are often badges of honor, trying to make these changes can at first feel like you’re swimming against the current.
Ready to take some personal time out? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Think through how much time you’d like to take, and how often you need a break to be refreshed and revived? How long do those breaks need to be? As an example, you might decide you’d like to have at least a long weekend per month, and/or a week off per quarter.
When you carve out specific time for a vacation, make sure to also think about how much time before and after the break you’ll need to catch up on phone calls, email, and to focus for the week ahead to transition back to work mode. We all want to squeeze as much fun and relaxation out of time away, but that cushion time is crucial so that we foster a smooth transition back into work mode and preserve the benefits from taking time out in the first place.
Step 2: Look at what needs to change in your business model (if anything) other than setting up your calendar to enable the time off that you want. In order to succeed, client education and training around boundaries has to happen first. Your clients won’t automatically know what the boundaries are, and will follow the example you set — for example if you tell them you’re available 24/7 they will reach out to you 24/7.
If that expectation has been set previously, the next step would be to begin setting new expectations, such as receiving responses only during business hours (client emergencies excepted, of course). If you let them know that your office hours are 8:30am-5:30pm and that they can get questions answered during those hours, they’ll get trained to expect responses only during those hours.
This is a wonderful opportunity to think through your client services policies and to decide if they reflect and support the work/life balance you and your team desire. And whether you’re new in your practice or will be onboarding new clients in the near future, remember that it’s much easier to educate people from the start!
Step 3: Educate your team so that they can set you up to win. This is an important step for your team to ensure that you can fully relax and unplug while you’re away knowing that everything will be taken care of in your absence. (For support with delegating effectively, I invite you to read this previous post).
Final step: If you’re flying somewhere for a vacation, BUY THE TICKET! Commit to the lifestyle that you want.Make reservations in advance, and pay up front to support your commitment. When I have a trip on the calendar and I’ve paid for it up front, that action motivates and excites me, even if it’s 6 months down the line.
To help you set up boundaries and better work life balance, reach out to me today: firstname.lastname@example.org