I took my second Entrepreneur Recharge Day on Wednesday, May 16th. My last one was March 21st. What worked? What didn't?
I made a plan for the day. This included my overall goals for what I wanted to accomplish, the specific tasks I wanted to tackle and what I would consider a good outcome. We tend, as most entrepreneurs do, to over plan our days. To fill up the to do list with more than we can take on. My day off was no exception. In this case, though, I set goals, but I also had a "if I get just this accomplished, it will be a successful day" goal, too.
My day started with packing my family off to work/daycare/school with my husband. I then spent two hours doing business planning - a large 2012 initiative that is taking shape needed some form around which to get started. I handled a couple of client requests, things that were urgent but not emergencies. Then, I went off to recharge. I decided to pursue sewing, which is one of my hobbies. It has some repetitive tasks that I can use my hands to do but let my head to noodle new ideas, so for an hour, I cut out sewing patterns. Then, I ran to the community center pool, swam 500m in 20 minutes, and ran back, for a total run of just under 2.5 miles. After lunch, I went to my sewing machine.
In retrospect, I chose a challenging project and this offered me several bouts of frustration. This probably was not the best choice for the day of recharging, and I think in the future I'll select a project that offers me creative challenge without frustration. I don't mind changing design or adding new features or stretching my brain, but I hate fighting with fabric. I sewed for three hours and upon finishing my project (the first of three I had planned to at least start) I decided I wouldn't start another before the end of the day. I reconnected with my e-mail and voice mail and made my way to an evening business networking event.
What I accomplished in the day off was right on target: I mapped out a large plan for some big changes. I also had the chance - while running, swimming and sewing - to reflect on these plans, to assimilate them into my subconscious as I move ahead. Doing this immersion-incubation idea process allows us to accept and welcome big changes.
I've shared that I've reinvented business several times in my professional entrepreneurial career, each time reinvigorating the business and work with new life. I'm about to embark on that again, but like most, it takes me a while to come around to the idea of big change.
I also took the day to make, to create, to do something as much with my hands as my head (my head gets the lion's share of work at the office). I stood up most of the day (sewing involves a lot of standing) which is also a change of pace for me. If you sit most of your day, stand up for your day off, and be active. If you're already active at work, make your day a chance to sit quietly and have more reflective, or learning opportunities.
How did the next day shape up? I came in on fire and ready to reload. In the first few hours of the day after your day off, try to evaluate what worked well the day before - did you have a chance to get out of your surroundings and feel more creative? If so, do that. You don't have to work AT your desk - if you prefer and have the ability to move your workstation, get up, literally, and go stand somewhere to work for a while. Pop in to another office or conference room for a change of scenery.
It's important that the day off not be a weekend-style day. You shouldn't pop out for a few errands, for instance. You want to pursue things that are physically active, that have personal meaning (golf plus a webinar or business book, gardening plus volunteering) that take you out of your usual business mindset but still allow you room to noodle change and ideas.
It was a successful entrepreneur recharge day, and I got back to work today with a renewed spirit, a sense of real accomplishment in the pursuit of bettering business. Try one for yourself!