This month we are discussing the idea of taking breaks from work. It is an interesting subject for me because I’ve never taken a break in the sense that I’ve shut my online shop down or put a hold on taking orders for a certain amount of time. To me, that would be considered a “break from work.”
I don’t know if it is actually possible to really take a break from work …
If it is, the consequences are serious unless someone takes over for you while you are in break mode. Unlike a regular job where you have vacation days and you are completely away from your work and very likely can get away with doing no work whatsoever whilst on vacation – such is not the case for the self-employed, small business owner. No one expects that if you work at a coffee shop, you’d have work to catch up on or do on your days off… it’s just not like that. The expectation, I believe, IS different for the self-employed. Probably because there is such a huge overlap between personal life and business for entrepreneurs.
For myself, I don’t find that I require, or desire long stretched of “time off”… the beauty of being self-employed is that you can create your own schedule and set your own work hours – and most of the time, this is flexible. So while I do feel I work hard, I don’t FEEL drained or in dire need of a vacation.
All of the time I have gone on a trip someplace – near or far – I’ve left my shop open for business. It can take a while to bounce back from several days off the grid but it just never seemed worth the shut down to me. A simple “only checking my messages once a day” would suffice. When we have the freedom to schedule our own time, we can work smaller breaks into our days or weeks and we can take time away from our desks as needed –the way I see it real long-term breaks are not as necessary in this sort of work-style.
It actually stresses me out more to think of being totally disconnected from my work for any extended period of time… Does that make me a workaholic?
But what about just time away to clear my mind and rejuvenate creativity? It doesn’t work that way for me. Having the business rolling continuously is the thing that keeps me inspired and motivated. I get more done when I have more to do. I can still go out and take trips or breaks – but I like to keep business on track as much as possible.
So while I haven’t ever officially shut my shop down for any length of time – I have had days or weeks where I am “quieter” or not working as much – but very much still open for business. At this point I feel that if I were to take a longer break – and shut my shop down for a period of time – it would be out of necessity, not desire.
It is interesting to hear how others feel about separating their personal lives and desire for vacation with their business lives and desire for business. Seems these decisions are dependent on the person, their business and the particular moment of time in question. Another wonderful thing about being self-employed is that things are always changing and you have a great deal of say in how they do.
image credit: The Merriweather Council