I achieved it, a month off both work and social media…. well not 100 percent off, because you know, let’s not be crazy now. But as off as I could be, especially on the professional side.
Not to mention, the constant lack of Wi-Fi issues and connectivity challenges – which mostly took it out of my hands – wasn’t a bad thing. Switching off shouldn’t be bad, right? For the first time in my life, I got good at letting that frustration go. I’m pretty proud of that. It’s definitely an achievement for me.
However, a core goal in my entrepreneurial journey is a commitment to taking a month off over Christmas and in the middle of the year. I will always work hard, but I know it’s critical to stop, spend time with family, go on adventures, catch up with friends, and probably the most necessary – take time out with my brain minus external distractions.
I’ve never been very good at chilling out, but I’ve also been working hard to build a business long before the day came to actually do it. That’s meant I’ve been working seven days a week for as long as I can remember.
All my blogging and social media participation in most of my roles as an employee, have been in addition to the work I do, so to keep it all up, has meant office hours are a distant memory. Luckily today, having a strong social media presence is something valued by brands, but it wasn’t then. Let’s just say I have a very patient and understanding husband.
Where my adventures took me
This last month saw me wandering around Sri Lanka with my family for 19 days – a completely amazing country – and then 36 hours after we got back, I headed off to Paris and Marrakech to catch up with some remarkable friends I met working in London in the 90s. We don’t see each other nearly enough (some ladies I hadn’t seen for 18 years!), but it’s like no time passed when we did get together. A sign of the best friendships.
It was my first trip to Marrakech and I absolutely loved it – what a magnificent place – although I will not be going back in July – 45-47 degrees Celsius during the day is nuts! Even this tropical gal couldn’t cope.
Both adventures were soul food, mainly because I got to finish some conversations with my husband () on the first trip, but most importantly, it gave me time to think.
I found that winding through the hills of Sri Lanka – constantly mesmerized by the life and beauty of this country – is a terrific thinking spot, with ideas constantly trickling into my brain. Some floated in and came straight out the other side, while others hung around for a while, morphing, changing, marinating.
The really good ideas got a little more attention, usually resulting in me picking up my phone so I could jot the best ones down for later reference. It’s all there, ready to be acted upon now that I’m back.
Giving my mind the space to think and reflect is something I have always needed, but this crazy, full, chaotic life we are all living today, just doesn’t leave any space for it. Add to this the fact I’ve been struggling to come up with conclusions on so many things these last few years, and on this trip, I got closer to answers.
I have learnt that the answers to our questions are always best answered by ourselves versus asking for other’s opinions. Don’t get me wrong. The opinions of other’s is definitely valuable, but we have to take all of the external inputs and meld them with our own insights, because that is when the insights come.
The constant challenge is, we’re just not giving ourselves the time for this melding of internal and external stimuli. We only hear the external, and that’s a miss. Well that’s the case for me and I know many people around me struggle to do it too. And yet, it’s too important not to prioritize.
So, I’m back and ready to get stuck into the crazy second half of this year, but it was great to step out and have some space to think. Have you had a break yet? Planning one? Where do you do your best thinking? I’m usually in the water, but this time, driving was the key…
All I know is, if you’ve been forgetting to prioritize this, silence is a gift that will give you so much in return. Definitely the best ROI I know.
Big idea image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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