For most people, it’s the first work day of the new year, and you’ve probably already seen or read several articles about hopeful New Year’s resolutions, what people will be doing to make 2018 their Best Year Ever, and even what went wrong in 2017.
Good news! This post is not any of those things.
Sorta not. 🙂
I’ve not yet set any goals, or made New Year’s resolutions – more about that below – but one thing I do plan to do going forward is to share more peaks into my life as the Wizard behind the curtain with my community. My hope is that by sharing more about what I’m learning along the way – through both successes and failures – I can encourage and equip you to make the most positive impact as you travel your own journey.
Out With The Old Year
Like many of you, I spent the last two weeks of 2017 winding down.
While I did manage a tiny bit of work the week before the Christmas holidays, for the first time in my life, I didn’t do ANY work during the last week of the year.
And that was a big deal (for me).
No work meant:
- I didn’t go into my home office.
- I didn’t schedule any calls.
- I didn’t answer my phone or respond to texts – except from family or friends.
- I didn’t open my To Do List app to review scheduled tasks.
- I didn’t go on LinkedIn to respond to invitations and messages, or approve any posts in the groups that I manage.
- I didn’t scroll through social media – except Instagram – although I did check in on Facebook if I wasn’t doing anything else, and I replied to tweets/DM’s sent to me.
- I didn’t read/respond to email to me/Unbridled Talent/DisruptHR – although I did briefly open emails on my phone to get that annoying red dot to go away. (Note to self: just turn off notifications next time, or maybe even delete the app.)
- I didn’t do my annual Goal Setting process.
In addition to opting out of work for a week plus, I also nixed a couple of personal habits:
- I didn’t watch the national news, and watched the local news only for the weather a few times. (Because I’m officially and old person, and that’s what my people, do.)
- I didn’t look at the feeds from my Twitter lists set up to track political happenings and commentary by reporters, politicians, or celebrities.
So, while this means I’m starting the new year goal-less, less politically informed (this is a very good thing), with a mountain of email to respond to, and a To Do List in need of triage, I’ve tasted something sweet, and I want more…
How Can I Avoid Burnout?
The truth is, I’ve felt on the verge of burnout for some time now – probably a year or two.
I’ve jokingly made comments to friends that I need a month long sabbatical, but in my heart, it’s felt more like I’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole of obligations and busyness, that a month wouldn’t even be long enough.
Yet those feelings of overwhelm haven’t meant that I’ve fallen out of love with my work, or with either of my businesses. In fact, I’m more grateful and in love with what I do than ever, and I’m looking forward to some exciting changes in both my personal business, and DisruptHR in the near future. (Which is fantastic. And daunting.)
The Allure Of The Sabbatical
So, how does a self-employed person (or any person, really) – responsible not only for supporting self, but an ecosystem of family, animals, and things – take time away from work to recharge and renew, while still being able to eat and live indoors?
When faced with something that I don’t know how to do, or don’t do well, I often look around me to see who I can learn from.
Whether you work in a corporate environment, or you’re self-employed, you can probably think of a few people in your world who seem to have the work/life balance thing under control. You can also think of a few people who are flaming dumpster fires. (This one is usually much easier.) We can learn something from both of these types.
For me, I see plenty of people (including myself), who are doing many things wrong. Trying to do everything themselves (guilty), not using systems to plan and prioritize their work (guilty), and not establishing and sticking to schedules and timelines (guilty), are just a few of the things that they (we) have in common.
I also can identify several successful entrepreneurs that I follow who are doing a lot right. For example:
- Michael Hyatt – takes a month-long sabbatical from his insanely successful personal brand business every year, and also takes several weeks of vacation during the year. Each year, he writes about how important his sabbatical is to recharge physically and emotionally, and for doing long-range thinking.
- Chalene Johnson – typically spends the entire month of December away from her many businesses to focus on family and friends during the month of December. She looks at this time as her “fallow season” – a time of rest and restoration necessary for future growth.
- Ryan Estis – steps away from his extremely successful speaking business for a month each year to recharge and refuel. He calls this the most expensive vacation of his life – that is worth every penny.
Plan It. Schedule It. Do It.
Thankfully, my short period of recharging recently freed up enough brain cells to help me to identify some consistencies among those that I see who are struggling to find whatever balance means to them, and those who seem to not only be doing it well, but thriving.
And since I like to break things down into threes, I’ve decided upon three focus areas to take my life back in 2018:
- Plan my days/my week based upon priorities to achieve goals – and stick to the plan.
- Create systems and processes for routine work, so I can outsource those tasks.
- Build teams to support both my personal business, and DisruptHR.
I’m starting 2018, by setting a big, audacious long-term goal: to prepare myself and my businesses to be able to plan – and take – a month long sabbatical in 2019.
What About You?
I’m sure that there will be some twists and turns in the journey throughout 2018. But, I’m going to focus on what I can control, which is making a plan, and working that plan. By doing this, I actually believe I can set myself up to take time away from my work, and have my life and my business be even better because of it.
Do you also want time to create more space to rest and recharge in your life? Your goal may not be a month-long sabbatical, maybe it’s a just a long weekend unplugged, or a vacation spent fully present with your family. Whatever your big goal is, identify a few virtual or in-person mentors you can follow and learn from, create a plan, and work the plan. There’s no better time to start your journey than now.