We all need time off from work to either “recuperate” or ‘recharge”, depending on your point of view.

Work Free Zone

The concept of a “Free Day” comes from the world renowned Strategic Coach program for Entrepreneurs. It is defined as a 24 hour “work free zone”.

The day goes from midnight to midnight and during this period anything or rather “everything”, work related is taboo. This means, absolutely:

  • No checking your work email account
  • Noo conversations about work with anyone
  • No catching up on industry reading
  • No planning
  • nothing work
  • Zip
  • Nada
  • Zilch.

If friends are coming for a BBQ dinner there can be no discussion of work related issues. I can hear the cries of horror as I write.

Many if not most people will cringe and declare “I can’t do that, no email? no reading? or even talking about work??”

I can almost feel some of you convulsing at the thought of not checking emails or texts. You may be thinking, "What if a client sends a text?" "What if I have this deal going on???"

What if, what if?

Exhausted?

Well, what if you end up in the hospital because of work induced exhaustion? What if you are so run down that your body triggers a switch leaving you with a lifelong chronic disease?

I lived the latter scenario. I worked like a dog and ended up being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It was most likely triggered by the stress of working 65-hour weeks.

Although it is a 24-hour day, you do sleep during part of it. The day is based on waking hours.

However, do not take advantage. Free time only means time away from work. It's not from mowing the lawn or getting your taxes done. And, you can take it on any day.

Personally, my Free Day is Sunday. I am used to putting in some work hours on Saturday but Sunday is sacred. I enjoy hobbies, my dog and do my personal chores.

Common Misconception

Free Days are so important. Unlike the traditional thinking on “days off”, they are based on a completely different theory.

Current culture believes that you must work hard. If you do you will be rewarded with time off or a vacation.

The big problem with this theory is that by the time you take that vacation, or day off, you are too worn out and exhausted to enjoy it.

It’s a common misconception to think that it is a badge of honor to not haven taken vacation in years or to work 70 hours a week with no rest.

To me, that is not something to be proud of, but rather, worried about!

Time off is not a reward, it’s a necessity!

Free Days are based on the principle that you absolutely need to recharge your batteries at minimum weekly to face the days AHEAD with the vigor and vision to make them productive, to have the time to unclutter your mind, remove any thoughts of work, get respite from any stress, and to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for any upcoming obstacles you may have to deal with.

When you look at it as a necessity versus a reward or badge of honor, it becomes clearer how important this day is.

Fresh New Perspective

Some of my best ideas and solutions have come to me during or after these days and in general my work days are much more productive and creative.

These essential Free Days provide me with a fresh new perspective that was contained in my subconscious mind but with all that mind-numbing clutter in there- could not come to the surface.

Truth of the matter is you can’t afford not to take a Free Day. Your brain needs to regenerate and can only do so effectively when it is free of work related issues. It gives your mind a complete respite from any obstacles or challenges you may be facing, (or to come), and relieves any stress (good or bad) you may have.

Free Your Mind

By doing this you free up your mind to create new thoughts and novel ideas and solutions that your conscious brain never could have otherwise without this time for it to breathe. You allow your subconscious mind the freedom and the space to create the kind of brilliant ideas that usually come to you in a flash, like when you have “aha” moments.

These cannot happen if your brain is so full of negativity, worry and fear, or just plain stress, that a normal workday may have.

Albert Einstein once said, and I paraphrase, “You cannot create a solution using the same mind that is created the problem”.

So, it’s only by clearing out the mind clutter that our brains are free to roam uncharted areas of the subconscious and where unique and inspiring ideas can form.

Just A Little Preparation

The Free Day is part of a week that also contains Buffer Days and Focus Days. Too long to be discussed in this blog, (and perhaps an idea for second installment) Buffer Days are preparation, meeting and task days where you perform tasks that are important and need to be done but are not revenue producing.

Focus Days are for work that you expect will generate income within the next 90 days and work you are already being paid for.

Time Management System

These 3 days constitute Strategic Coach’s “Entrepreneurial Time Management System” (ETMS). Because everyone’s responsibilities are different the System is completely personalized based on each person’s situation.

An activity can be a Focus for one person and a Buffer for another. For example, if you are invited to give a keynote address at a convention, the drafting of it may be buffer for someone in the industry coming to talk about their experience, however, if you are a speaker by profession, you are likely to be earning a living from that speech so the drafting of it would be a Focus activity.

Once you have mastered how your tasks are categorized your quality of life will begin to improve dramatically, you will be more productive, work less and make more.

Dramaticly Change Your Life

I can guarantee you that if you implement this one change in your life, take a Free Day every week, you will see a dramatic change in the overall quality of it.

Even if you do not work or are a stay at home parent, this System gives you complete control over your time, not the other way around which is how most people live.

In turn, you will sense a reduction of overall stress levels, the ability to generate innovative ideas, increased confidence and focus and more, generally within a month.

The benefits are cumulative so the more you use it the better you get at it, especially if you are using the entire ETM System with all 3 different day categories.

However, the Free Day, in and of itself is a powerful regenerative tool. It takes time to master but is most definitely worth mastering!

Start off with 1/2 a Buffer Day and work your way up if you cannot do it all at once, but promise yourself and commit to getting to the full 24-hour period.

I learned the ETMS some 10 years ago, and it continues to have the most significant impact on my life. I enjoy an outstanding work/life balance and am immensely productive on the right things at the right time.

You're In Control

Just imagine for a second how incredible it would feel to be completely in control of your agenda and how you use your time. How would it feel to control your time instead of it controlling you?

Enjoy your Free Days with abandon, without guilt or remorse for not “working”.

Just know that this time-out makes you a better “worker” and someone who controls their own destiny!

Please comment and share your first Free Day experience with others.

Want to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Time Management System? Reach out to me!

8 Million People Work At Home

Over the past 10-15 years the number of home-based workers has increased exponentially.

There are 2 types of home workers; (1) those employed for corporations and working at home often called “tele-commuters”, and (2) business owners and the self employed.

According to recently released data from the US Census (2018), 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017. That’s 8 million people!

The rise has been aided by improved internet connectivity and the demand for more flexible work environments. In fact, the number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years. The number of regular telecommuting employees (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 115% since 2005.

Increased Productivity

The same study showed that two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home have increased overall productivity.

What’s more-, 86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone at home as it is devoid of distractions like the noise, the water cooler gossip, loud colleagues or meetings that are a waste of time.

Sixty-eight percent of millennials say that the option to work at home significantly increases the value of a position and would greatly influence their desire to work for a particular company.

I do a lot of work in the franchise industry and home-based concepts are enjoying a growth spurt of enormous proportions. There is a home business for every skill you can think of from financial services to home cleaning, to décor, coaching and consulting, and literally hundreds more. A large proportion of home-based workers are women.

I have had a home-based office for nearly 20 years, and I must admit I love it. Many people who work in conventional offices comment on how lucky I am and that they too wish they could work from home. But, having a successful home office is a challenge and must be worked at.

Self Discipline Is Key

A home-based office is a wonderful place to work and can extremely lucrative provided you have the self discipline to manage one. Discipline is the key to success. You must still have a “work routine” even though you are not in an external office.

This means getting up every morning at the same time and getting dressed “for work”. It is not a license to get up late and work in pajamas. Your clothes have a large emotional and psychological impact on your productivity. When you are dressed for work you feel more professional. You do not need to be dressed to the nines, casual Friday attire is acceptable. You should be appropriately dressed so that if someone wants to meet you at the last minute, that you would be able to go out with some small changes or as dressed.

It also means that you do not do any chores such as laundry or cooking during working hours. You would not have this luxury in an external office so why would you at home?

Working hours are for business only- otherwise the day is a blend of personal and business tasks and nothing really gets done well. When work gets mixed with chores, the days blend into one another and people wonder why they are not productive or generating enough revenue.

This takes a high degree of discipline and commitment. It is essential to treat your home office in the same way you would treat an external office.

Dedicated Space

A home office is a professional space dedicated solely to work. It is not a corner of your dining room table but a distinct space that is equipped and organized like an external office. Ideally it’s a separate room, or a secluded space where screens can be used to delineate the office boundaries.

Dedicated Time

The next essential task is to develop habits that signify the beginning and end of the work day. I come to work in the morning and my day begins when I open the lights in my office. I am now at work.

At the end of the day, I close the lights and “leave” my office. It is only at this time will I do errands or chores.

You must develop some meaningful action, such as closing your computer or turning off the ringer on the phone, to signify that the work day is over. This is essential so that your working hours are more productive and when you leave the office your time is your own and you can enjoy it without guilt.

Days of the week will become meaningful and you will enjoy a balanced quality of life. While it may sound silly- I only wear jewelry on work days. For me, putting on and taking off my jewelry signifies the beginning and the end of the work day and differentiates work from play time.

No Better Place to Work

The reason people fail to be successful in a home office is because:

(1) they do not treat their home office with the same respect as an external one and/or

(2) they lack the self discipline required to create and maintain routines and structure.

It is critical to maintain a normal workday morning routine as discussed above.

Respect and discipline are the keys to home office success. There is a misconception that home businesses make less money and are small business. That could not be further than the truth. However, like any business it depends on the efforts of the owner.

Working from home actually adds challenges. But if you have the skills to meet them, there is no better place in the world to work.

In Part 2 we will discuss how to set up your home office for success.

Your Home Office

How do you make your home office a success? Share your ideas and comments below.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Your community helps you thrive. When you were little did grownups ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? I and many others heard the same question. We got it at school, on the playground, in neighborhood stores, and other places throughout our community.

Early on, the adults who spent the most time with you noticed you were skilled in an area and steered you that way. As you matured, you discovered you had multiple interests but knew your natural talent was driving you towards your “grown-up” job. After following the plan for completing your degree and landing a job, you began new your career.

Making A Change

A few years later and you’re stuck in a rut. Your career is okay, but something is missing. You used to love it, now it's monotonous and unfulfilling. Thinking about doing it for another 20 years fills you with anxiety. Something has to change!

After some soul-searching, you decide to start a business. Your skills are in-demand skills. You know you can help people.  Your goal - build a successful, profitable, business within one year.

You are excited at the prospect of using your skills to serve others. Spending more time with your children is the biggest bonus of this new venture.

 

finding your community

Finding Your Way

 

Need Direction

While working hard to become an entrepreneur, things have stalled - nothing is working. You've invested tons of hours doing research, bought coaching programs to help and put forth a consistent effort. But, it feels like you’re going in circles.

Always proactive you designed your exit plan eight months ago. It turns out your new supervisor is a micromanager, your employee morale is low - you want out ASAP!

You don't know which way to go. Now you're discouraged and thinking, "Now what?”

Next step

Wondering

 

Finding A Community

Figuring things out by yourself hasn't worked. Tired and feeling alone, you're craving a place to bounce your ideas and get constructive input - you wonder if it even exists?

Don’t despair - the Yes! Women’s Network was created to support you and other women - business owners or not.

Yes! Women’s Network embraces women at the different stages of their lives. It gives them a spot to gather - get support through education, inspiration, giving and the community.

Exhale, then join us at Yes! Women’s Network. We’re waiting for you!

If you'd like to chat or need any help you can find me here.

Pamela

Looking for Tools and Resources for your online business? Here are a few that we recommend.

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Have you ever wanted to work from home for Real Estate Agents? I started out in Real Estate as a licensed assistant in 1994. Yikes! That's a long time ago! But you'll now get the benefit of learning from someone who has been in the industry for more than 20 years about what it takes to succeed in this industry. I became a real estate virtual assistant in 2011 and my business grew from there as did my skills. If this is an industry you're considering, here's what you can expect.

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4 Simple Steps to Setting Up a Manageable System, Never Paying Full Price, Avoiding Marketing Ploys Stop overspending! Learn the shopping strategy to use coupons to pay for your groceries instead of your hard earned money. Simple 5-Minute, 4 Step Process Do this before you head to the checkout so that your cashier loves you!

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[Over $2,000 Value!] Step by step training to become a virtual assistant from your home through VA Labs presented through LeapFrogVA Academy training. Learn everything you need to know and interact with other VAs who are in the course as well. Don't miss the monthly LIVE OFFICE HOURS where you get the individual coaching you need and have your questions answered.

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