Here's the Secret to Growing Your Business During the Slow Summer Months Choosing to purposely do nothing at all with your time is actually one of the best strategies you can take to grow your business...that's right, imagine that: nothing.
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When it comes to growing a thriving business, we've been sold the hustle mantra for way too long. "If you aren't constantly working, your business is dying," is the battle cry for worn down, exhausted entrepreneurs who feel burned out. Stepping away from your business, taking an afternoon nap or choosing to binge-watch Netflix in the middle of the week might seem crazy, but choosing to purposely do nothing at all with your time is actually one of the best strategies you can take to grow your business...that's right, imagine that: nothing.
I recently stepped away from my own business for 10 days while my phone sat on airplane mode the entire time. No check-ins, no email pings from my team, just time away while the business continued to grow. You don't have to be constantly working on your business to see it thrive.
For far too long, people — particularly women — have been shamed for how they choose to spend their time, and I am not here for it. That's especially true because I've spent years reading through the research. Allow me to boil it down for you: We must understand how important it is to allow our brains the space they need to rest and play so we can actually run our businesses better.
The sun is coming out my friends, and we have all been waiting patiently. As you read this article, I'd like for you to keep one thing in mind, and one thing only: How will you introduce "play" in your life this summer? This is my challenge to you these next few months, because I'm guessing that like me, you've been spinning your wheels working, worrying and persevering.
It's time to exhale.
Let's move "play" to the tip top of your business priority list this summer.
Determining the difference between good and bad distractions
Firstly, let's acknowledge there are a lot of bad distractions out there. If a distraction is pulling you away from your priorities on a regular basis, then the benefits I describe above get thrown out the window.
But, here's the interesting twist you've been waiting for — we actually do need to have some distractions in our day. Not every distraction is a time-waster, and learning how to spot which ones we need to get rid of and which ones we need to keep is incredibly simple.
Give yourself a quick check-in. Step back and notice: Is this distraction nourishing or negative? Is it something that's good for me and allows me to catch my breath, or is it something that keeps me from finding the true satisfaction I am looking for in life?
And before you rush to Google "bad distractions," let me fill you in on a little secret: Only you can decide if an activity is nourishing or negative. You have to stop and ask yourself the question: How do I feel after I finish this?
Let's use the Netflix binge-watching example I mentioned earlier: If you binge three episodes of your favorite show back-to-back, it could be negative, or it could be nourishing. Ask yourself the question, and then listen for your own answer. When you've finished your mini binge-watching session, do you feel good and satisfied? Or do you feel sluggish and irritated?
Life is a choose-your-own-adventure story, so choose. But I will tell you this, if you leave that viewing feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to tackle what is ahead of you, then who is anyone to shame you for that decision? If anything, it sounds like it was exactly what you needed.
Learning the importance of play
As humans we tend to over-complicate our relationship with time, because we worry that if we aren't constantly hustling forward towards some tangible goal, we aren't doing anything worthwhile.
Play is essential for our brains, but we tend to undervalue it because it seems silly. We beat ourselves up for wasting time when we could have spent it being "productive." What's ironic, though, is that by giving ourselves space to enjoy time we actually become more productive.
When more frequent play is incorporated into our days, we actually see dramatic increases in creativity, attention and performance. For me, putting my phone on airplane mode during my vacation meant I came back refreshed with better ideas of how we can move the business forward. I was able to take some time to zoom out and look at the big picture of where we've been and where I want the company to grow. And the side bonus was that my team stepped up and started feeling more confident in bringing their ideas to the table even more.
Remember: We want to get rid of the distractions that pull at us and make us feel guilty, but we must allow for space and room for the distractions that benefit us.
That means take that vacation you've been dreaming about, run around with your kids or dog outside, plant something, sing something, laugh until your stomach hurts, color, work on a puzzle, play in the dirt, do a cannonball into the water (jumping is so boring). Whatever it is, I hope you make time to have some damn fun. You deserve it.