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Edition 359 – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

In that great ‘80’s love ballad “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, Chicago’s Peter Cetera sings in the opening verse:

Everybody needs a little time away
I heard her say, from each other
Even lovers need a holiday
Far away, from each other

I dug into my Spotify library on my phone and played the opening riff for a married couple at the end of a recent family business meeting. He was ribbing her about wanting to get rid of him at the suggestion that he take a couple of days to visit their son, who now lives interstate.

As I spoke Cetera’s words and my female companion sung along, Dad reached for the tissues and mockingly dried his eyes. It was great banter at the end of our meeting. However, there was more to it than that.

Mum had recently travelled interstate to visit their son. In a moment between just the two of us in our meeting, she reflected on how a few days out of the business gave her a chance to:

  1. Switch off from the day to day of the business; and,
  2. Reflect on what’s happening in the business now and into the future.

It’s a conversation I often have with the owners of small and family business and I’m usually treated to the same response:

I can’t do that – there’s too much to do around here!

In my client’s situation, Dad didn’t fail to live up to my expectations in terms of his response.

As I told my clients, here’s why you need to take time away from your business, even if only for a short period of time:

  1. Stepping away gives you the chance to see what functions when you’re not there and what doesn’t.
  2. When you step back in afterwards, you can identify where you need to focus your efforts around process improvement in the business.
  3. You de-clutter your head from the everyday of business and start to ponder the longer term issues that are otherwise smothered by the day-to-day.
  4. As our children grow up and move on, the number of opportunities to spend time with them will greatly diminish, particularly if they have moved interstate or overseas.
  5. You take advantage of one of the lifestyle reasons you went into business in the first place – which is to have greater control over your own time.

If you’re not factoring in time away from your business on a regular basis, your mind and body are no different to the car that never gets serviced. It starts to run rough first, becomes inefficient over time and eventually breaks down. Weird analogy? Maybe. Have I seen it before? Absolutely? Have I experienced it myself in the past? Sadly, yes.

It’s still early in the New Year. Take a moment this week to factor in a short break away from your business before the middle of the year. By planning it now, you’ll have a small reward to aim for, before you start to burn out.

This Week’s Tip

“Ideally, a couple of days away should not be spent at home.
All you’ll find are more jobs to get on with, which defeats the purpose of the break.”