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Taking Time Off to Get More Done

work See if you can relate to this. You push and push and push, burning the candle at both ends – the early bird meets the midnight oil burner. Day after day – six, seven days a week – week after week. Finally, you reach a point where your mind and your body say, “Enough already!”

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We recently experienced this, so we listened … for a change. We crashed! We took some time to decompress. We often don’t realize how tired we are, how much we need the time away from our work.

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georgeWhen I was a graduate student, I worked in the Undergraduate Advising Office. As one weekend approached, I asked the Dean how his weekend was looking. He replied, with a little frown on his face and his shoulders drooping slightly, “Ugh. It’s not good. We have plans on Friday night and again on Saturday.” Or he might say, “Oh, I can’t wait. We don’t have anything planned for the whole weekend!” I didn’t understand his thinking at the time, but now I see the wisdom in it!

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So that’s how it went for us last weekend. It was great to wake up in the morning and realize there was nothing on the to-do list – nothing we had to do, nowhere we had to be.

We work crazy hours like many, if not most, business owners … especially those of us in the early stages of our businesses. But at a certain point, it becomes counter-productive.

We spend time doing what we do, but we don’t do as much as we could if we got a little rest, some time away to decompress. So we realized that we needed to learn from this.

As bigg goal-getters, we push ourselves to extremes. But we learned it can be counter-productive. On top of our business keeping us busy, we’re pretty social people. But sometimes it’s good to say no to just about everything and just have time to yourself.

We admit that we aren’t so good at work-life balance. We do a relatively good job of integrating our personal and professional lives. We can turn on a dime – talking about work one minute and moving to the personal the next. But we need more than that as we learned this past week.

We realized that the only way that we will take the time off we need is to treat it like everything else we want to get done. We put it on our calendars!

We’re saying “No” to seven days week. We need a day off every week. God did. Why should we think we don’t? Every other week, we’re setting aside two days.

Now it doesn’t mean we won’t work per se. It just means we won’t have a to-do list chockfull of things that we must do.

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georgeI love to do research. I find it very relaxing. While I try to fit in a little research time every day – and to some extent I’m always in research mode looking for show topics – it’s great to do research at a leisurely pace.

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marylynnAnd I’m a gadget girl. I love to play with my techie tools. That’s one of my roles in our business. I enjoy looking at new technologies and seeing how we might use them in our business. When I’m just searching and having fun, it doesn’t feel like work.

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So we’re still integrating work and play. We’re just planning our play better so that it feels more like play and less like work. Because you know what they say about all work and no play!

When we work, we want to be highly productive because our work is still a means to an end, not an end in itself. We love our work, but we love it more when we’re refreshed.

And we get more done. This week, we’ve accomplished a whole lot because we had more energy because we took time to decompress. So that’s your motivation … take some time off so you get more done!

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When it comes to our personal finances, we hear a lot about savers and spenders. But there’s a third category we rarely hear about. And it’s the one we really should strive to be. Join us next time to see what it is.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Now plan some time off! Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00335-022009.mp3

Related posts

I Need a Day Off

What We’re Sacrificing to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

(Image in today's post by biewoef)

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The Need to Lead – Part 2

career_opportunities On The Bigg Success Show today, we continued our discussion with Douglas E. Welch, host of the popular Career Opportunities, podcast. Last time, we discussed why Douglas has declared 2009 the “Year of the Leader.” Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeOne of the challenges we face is getting started. You’ve talked about inertia – we tend to remain inanimate unless we really push ourselves. One of your quotes that I love is that we need “leadership over laissez-faire.”

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douglasThere’s the old phrase that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. I see that every single day. It is so important. Newton had it right – objects at rest tend to remain at rest; objects in motion tend to remain in motion. I find that if I can get someone in motion, making the smallest step, the next step becomes all the easier. There is something about momentum and forward movement that builds on itself. Unfortunately, inertia builds on itself too. We can become really sedentary in our lives in a variety of ways – both physically and mentally. That’s part of the reason I write the column. Sometimes when I write, I picture myself giving that stone just a little bit of a push downhill. If I can get it to roll a quarter of a rotation, maybe it will start to roll a little bit further. That’s something we need to do in our own life and also cultivate in others.

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marylynnLeaders are admired for their ability to keep pushing, taking all the steps necessary to keep progressing toward goals. Does your knowledge in this area stem from a time when you didn’t push yourself enough?

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douglasI have to admit that I face this problem every day. I think we all do. There are days when we just want to sit down and do nothing. We just want the world to go spinning around us and not have to worry about whether we have groceries in the house or if that check has come in from that client. It just gets a little overwhelming to us. I grew up in a very small town – a rural town – in Ohio of about 2,000 people. Frankly, in a town that small, there’s a lot of inertia. There’s not a lot of push to go on. I found out very early, though, that I get bored very easily. If I don’t have a constant set of stimulus coming in, I can very easily settle down and just let the world go by me. So as part of learning about myself, I realized I have to have a new book to read, something new to watch, a new place to go to, a new area to go for a walk. I have to constantly have that new input so that I can continue to create the output that I do create such as my column, my podcast, and the other stuff that I do.

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georgeThat’s a great way of looking at it. Look at the inputs – the actions that you take – and then the results will come at some point.

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douglasThat comes from an artist coach that I had become friends with many years ago. I worked at Walt Disney Imagineering for five years as an IT professional in the computer department. One of the biggest perks I got at that job was that I had access to all of the art coaches that all the creative people did. One of the things we discussed was that you cannot output art or other great things in life unless you have enough input coming in. Those are the raw materials that you use for your creation. I really took that to heart and have lived that particular philosophy for a long time now.

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georgeAnd if you can’t afford a coach, find that friend who may be a little bit ahead of you in life or in their career. I have a friend who I meet for coffee. We would always say we needed to get together more often, but it never happened because we didn’t make it happen. So we finally said that we would meet at a particular time every month. That’s what made the difference – getting it pre-planned.

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douglasI started a whole new event here in Los Angeles specifically for that reason. It’s LA Friday Coffee. It is coffee and casual conversation between work and dinner. We meet at various coffee places all around the city. But at its essence, that is my attempt to get myself out on a Friday night to meet and talk to people that I don’t see often enough.

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marylynn
And boy you just can’t beat coffee!

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george
Unless it’s a martini!

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douglas
Anyone who follows my Twitter stream knows that I’m into coffee!

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george
We have to be, doing what we do. Right?

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douglasIt’s weird. I’m a geek in all things. When I find a new interest, I geek out on it as much as I geek out on technology or anything else I’m interested in. So I’ve read up on roasting coffee, how to make coffee, and the perfect espresso shot. My wife’s family is Sicilian and we’ve been to Sicily so I’ve tasted real coffee. That whole geekness kind of filters into my whole life as well.

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george
I’ll bet you make a mean cup of coffee though. When will it be ready? We’re on our way!

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Thanks Douglas for sharing your thoughts with us. He has started a free online resource called Career Camp where members of his community can share their expertise. We highly recommend it to you!

And thank you for taking time to read our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00333-021809.mp3

Related posts

The Need to Lead – Part 1

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Are You a Leader or the Leader

Crisis Creates Opportunity for Great Leaders

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A Sure-Fire Way to Stop Innovation

island We read the transcript of a great speech, entitled How to Get Rich, given by Jared Diamond at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. It offers some great lessons in history, economics, and innovation.

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He asks the question, “What is the best way to organize human groups and human organizations and businesses so as to maximize productivity, creativity, innovation, and wealth?”

Now wouldn’t we all like to know the answer to that question?

He says that in the thirteen thousand years of human history, we have thousands upon thousands of “natural” experiments. To answer his question, he looked at extreme examples of societies in isolation.

The isolation begins

About ten thousand years ago, the places we know as Australia, Tasmania, and Flinders Island were connected – people could freely travel back and forth between them. Then the glaciers melted.

Even though they were only about 200 miles apart, the water-going craft of that era couldn’t traverse the rough seas between these three islands. So the 4,000 people of Tasmania and 200 people on Flinders Island became completely isolated from the rest of the world.

The isolation ends
In the seventeenth century, these two islands were “discovered” by the Europeans. The first to be rediscovered was Tasmania. It was noted that, at the time, the society was the least technologically advanced and most primitive group of people in the world.

They had no fire. They didn’t have any tools. They didn’t even know how to fish. In fact, archeologists have shown that they had less technology than they had ten thousand years before.

So, you ask, what about the 200 people on Flinders Island? When it was discovered around the same time, there were no people there. They became extinct.

Our islands

So we learn that small isolated groups don’t innovate. They may even regress. This historical example got us thinking about islands that we create, often without even realizing that we’re placing ourselves in isolation.

Field

Discoveries aren’t isolated to a single field. If you only talk to people within your field, if you only consume content in your space, you’re missing out on a whole world of ideas that may be fruitful for your field.

Media
Many people only consume media with which they agree. Seek out the opposing point-of-view. When you do that, you’ll either reinforce your beliefs or you’ll start to discover other alternatives.

People
Universities often don’t hire graduates of their own programs as professors. They fear it will lead to nepotistic thinking. Let’s learn a lesson from their policy. Get outside your circles of friends and business associates. If you work in the for-profit world, get to know some people in the non-profit world. If you work in government, make sure some of your influencers are in the private sector.

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georgeI’m a pretty social person. But looking back on my former businesses, I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled because I didn’t spend enough time seeking out ideas and alternatives outside my sphere.

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It’s so easy to get so busy running your business, working your career, or managing your life that you fail to invest important time in connecting yourself to people, places and things that expand your mind.

Islands are a great place to visit. Just make sure you don’t get stuck there.

What islands have you seen people create?

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00264-111308.mp3

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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

tribes
On The Bigg Success Show, we’ve been talking with Seth Godin about his incredible new book, Tribes. So far we’ve discussed:

Part I: what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why quality trumps quantity

Part II: why Seth became a leader, the power of one, and the importance of leverage

Today we wrap up our conversation. Let’s get to it!

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Change and chaos creates opportunity

Read more

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Get More Information in Less Time

info Best-selling author Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post called The growing productivity divide. He described some must-haves for your tool kit in today’s knowledge-based economy.

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We recommend you check out his full list to see how you stack up. Today, we’re going to highlight three tools for getting the information you need.

Your daily reading regimen

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georgeReading is so important. Warren Buffett says so. I remember one of the patriarchs of the venture capital industry telling me that he was aghast that many of his young staffers read only The Wall Street Journal every day. He told them they needed to expand their horizons and read at least one additional daily paper.

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Seth Godin suggested that you should read at least five blogs a day. There are so many resources online to keep up with content that’s important to you. Don’t get stuck in either the real or the virtual world. Read online and offline!

RSS

He also asked if you have an RSS reader. We might ask an even simpler question – do you understand what an RSS feed is? If you don’t, don’t feel bad … but learn what an incredible tool it is. 

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marylynnThere are a lot of sites I like to keep up with. What I love about RSS feeds is the content comes to me; I don’t have to go to it. With my RSS reader, they’re all in one location so I can easily scan the headlines. It saves me a lot of time.

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Lee Lefever of Common Craft fame has a great video tutorial that explains RSS in Plain English.

Problogger  Darren Rowse also has a great explanation of RSS on his site if you prefer to read about it.

Alerts

Do you know how to set up a search for a certain word, phrase, or subject? Alerts help you collect information without having to go get it. We have an article that provides a number of applications to set up alerts.

One great way to test out alerts is to set one up for your web site or your name. For example, we have an alert set up for biggsuccess.com and bigg success.

Subscription

You can get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success by subscribing to The Bigg Success Weekly – it’s free!  And when we say “weekly”, we mean it. We don’t abuse the privilege you’ve trusted us with. Subscribe now and get our free Bigg Goal-Getters Workbook!

Search for the information you need

Seth Godin also emphasized that you must be effective at searching the internet. You can use some shortcuts to get to the content you’re really looking for.

For example, quotation marks around the phrase you’re searching helps refine the search. If we type bigg success, Google will search for every instance of the word bigg and the word success. When we tried this yesterday, Google returned 20,500,000 pages.

By typing in “bigg success” with the quotation marks, Google searches for that phrase as one term. So it only returns instances where the two words are together. That search “only” returned 19,500 pages.

The Smartest Searcher has a post that discusses even more techniques to refine your search further.

You can get more information in less time if you know how to use technology to keep up with the content that’s important to you. It’s an essential skill in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Next time, we’ll discuss leadership in crisis. Until then, here’s to your bigg success! 

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00246-102008.mp3___

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