From the August 2001 issue of Startups

Now that it's August, I'd guess you're good and ready to go out of your mind-if you haven't already-from wanting to get away from your business and enjoy the summer a bit. This situation is particularly problematic for homebased business owners, given that you have to physically remove yourself from your own home (or at least from your phone or laptop) in order to give yourself a break.

Now, this article could easily turn into one that recommends you plan a vacation, a little R&R, a much-needed respite from all forms of technology and paperwork. And if that's what you need, by all means, get away. But if you're thinking that what you really need is just to spend time somewhere-anywhere-other than inside your home, thinking about the care and feeding of your homebased business, then it's time to make some adjustments in your life.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a homebased business owner is the isolation involved. On the one hand, you're free from office politics, interruptions and commutes. On the other, unless you've got employees or partners, you're by yourself for most of the day. Even when there are other people around, you're probably either selling to them or buying from them-not exactly breeding ground for a meaningful break from your business. And that can get old, just as it can get old to be in a noisy office environment.

That's why it's so important to steer clear of the kinds of routines that keep you chained to your home office 24/7. There are countless ways to accomplish this other than taking a vacation. Schedule appointments at a coffee house rather than in your home. Take an hour to run errands in the city or window shop for a new piece of office equipment. Sign up for a class (and not necessarily something business-related). Exercise. Call some friends over for dinner. Mow the lawn. Just do something other than obsess about your business, for at least part of your day.

I don't want to sound too self-help or anything, but it's all about making time for yourself. As with anything that requires a lot of hard work, you can't underestimate the benefits of balancing work with rest. Now if you don't mind, I think I'll take my own advice and shut down for the day.