Jones Business Solutions Ltd | Stop! Pause. Recharge.
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Stop! Pause. Recharge.

Stop! Pause. Recharge.

Last week I took 5 days off. The last time my husband and I had a break together was before Covid! I spend a lot of time recommending mini breaks, fitting in family and lifestyle activities to clients and colleagues. It’s not all about the work – even if like me, you totally love what you do. Turns out I need to tune into my own messaging a bit more! 2023 has been a tough year (thanks to Cyclone Gabrielle amongst other things!) and rather than head into the end of the year in a state of collapse I decided to take some time out at my busiest time of the year.

Crucially we had booked accommodation and the dog into the kennels, so I was committed to going – I almost wavered and cancelled, but so glad I didn’t! Those 5 days ended with attending a funeral for someone still working full-time at age 63. My days away gave me time to reflect, along with doing ‘not much’. Here are some thoughts that came to mind.

Turn down the dial

What are the little things that you can do on a short break? Making time rather than filling up the day and night means you can truly relax and ‘go with the flow’. Slowing down your thinking as well as your movement creates space to decide on the things you would like to do the most. And it is OK to do nothing too – and in fact can be quite liberating. Sleep in, laze around….do it!

We hadn’t made any plans. No activities scheduled. Taking the time to slow down and relax helps you spot the little things that provide calmness and joy. Leisurely walks, enjoying a pot of carefully made tea, visiting elderly friends not seen for a while, an ice cream cone while sitting on the lake edge, re-reading a favourite book – all good things that rejuvenated me. (And getting the Xmas shopping all done – what a stress-free bonus!)

Stick to your ‘out of office’

How many of us are guilty of setting up our ‘out of office’ messaging – and then completely ignoring it! If you are away from work put things in place so you take a proper break. Continually checking and responding to emails is not the answer! Turn off notifications. Use flight mode on your mobile. Don’t take your laptop. Identifying your weaknesses with how you waver and do work ‘stuff’ when you shouldn’t be means you can then put a strategy in place to minimise or eliminate it.

It’s only work! It will be there waiting for you – heck yes! Take an extra day to catch up if you can (extend your out of office for that first workday back). Set up some good habits once you are back at work to ringfence time spent on work activities to your defined work hours. Schedule your breaks ahead of time – and commit to them. A lengthy summer holiday doesn’t work for everyone – but long weekends or 3-5 days off are achievable – tell yourself this – book it in!

Take time to reflect

We visited my daughter; she has 3 children aged 8, 7, and 6. As part of enjoying their evening meal they all share from their day three things – the highlight, the lowlight, and the hero. Johnny, recently turned 6, carefully explained these as being the best part of the day, something not so good, and someone who helped. His highlight was Nana Jones (me!) helping Mum by picking them up from school and listening to him read ‘The Wonky Donkey’, couldn’t think of something not so good, and the hero was his teacher for helping his friend. Beautiful! Such a simple approach to reflect on at the end of the day.

The funeral I attended was very sad but had lighter moments too. Instead of the usual hymns we sang along to Monty Python’s ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’ Turns out it is one of the most popular funeral songs in Britain. Timely reminder to check in with friends, make time to catch up, play time as well as work. We never know when our time might be up. Fit in those moments that become new memories. Be generous with your time for family, friends, workmates, and business colleagues.

To sum up

Our lives can get too filled up with busy-ness. Slot in some breaks, switch off properly and re-energise. Taking meaningful time-out to pause and enjoy the simple things will stand you in good stead for what’s in store next. Be like Johnny! Oh – and the best business books to read on your vacation – NONE!

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J Harris, American Journalist