If youâ€™re teetering on the edge of burnout from constantly overloading your WFH workday, chances are you have a permanent knot between your shoulders blades. (Weâ€™ll wait, if you want to give it a nickname.)
These days, weâ€™re all living in a time where hustle culture is front and center. Here at Acuity, we know exactly how easy it is to lose yourself in your passion, only to finally look up from client work to realize you havenâ€™t taken a breather for weeks.
We know how crucial and life-changing it is to go after what you want without mercy or reservations.
But we also know that thereâ€™s something even more important than your business.
Have you ever â€śrewardedâ€ť yourself with a job well done by finally making time to pee? What about scarfing down a microwave burrito in between Zoom calls, cancelling plans that are important to you because a client booked last-minute, or going hours and hours without a sip of water?
Youâ€™re not alone!
Take it from Vanessa Gomez, who so perfectly says what a lot of us have felt. (Sure, this was her routine pre-pandemic, but it still speaks to us now.)
"Sounds funny, but many days I don't even have time to have a drink of water or eat. I typically wake up and eat on the way to work, maybe a granola bar at 2pm, then I have to pick up something fast on my commute home and eat again in the car. This is what my typical day looks like for 14+ days straight, because I book myself out so much."
â€” Vanessa Gomez | Acuity customer
And Heather Kelly, who gets it, too.
"This may seem silly, but I wish I could incorporate more breaks into my day, even quick trips to the bathroom or water breaks."
â€” Heather Kelly | Acuity customer
Long term exposure to stress can do some wacky things to our bodies and brains. From headaches and a lack of concentration, to an amplification of depression and anxiety, the way you care for yourself actually matters more than the way you care for your business.
Hereâ€™s how to add a little more breathing room in your life, without backing down from client work or compromising what you want.
After all, itâ€™s always about working smart, not stressed.
1 | Add padding, buffers, and gaps between appointments.
When it comes to taking breaks at work, itâ€™s a matter of building breathers into your schedule. That way, your schedule doesnâ€™t run away from you before your first cup of coffee, steamroll your best intentions, and leave you feeling rundown when the day finally ends.
Rather than hoping you can make time to rest, make it a no-brainer with appointment buffers. For every appointment type you set up, you can choose how much of a break you get in between clients and calls.
One of our users, Annie, knows that breaks arenâ€™t just good for her, but for her clientele, too. (It means she has space to process, take notes, and brainstorm.)
"The downtime between calls is critical. Some of my clients who are new coaches or consultants jam as many calls as they can into one day, with no breaks. Logistically, when do you take notes? Personally, when do you pee? Eat? Take a breather? Sometimes, no kidding, I need to just lay on the floor and listen to music to reset. The buffer between calls will make or break your whole day."
â€” Annie P. Ruggles | Acuity customer
Youâ€™re self-employed, which means you should have the freedom to take longer lunch breaksâ€”not eliminate them altogether in the name of more work.
2 | Schedule more efficiently by grouping appointments.
Regardless of how many appointments you have each day, sometimes itâ€™s a drag to have one appointment at 8 A.M. and another at 5 P.M. (It can be tough to keep your brain in business mode for that long between meetings.)
When you automatically minimize giant gaps in your schedule, it still keeps the buffer times between appointments. But it also limits the availability thatâ€™s shown to your clients, so they can only book appointments that are clustered together with your other meetings.
If you have an appointment set for 8 A.M. and someone else goes to book, theyâ€™ll only see the available times around that same timeframe. That way, your schedule is the most efficient it can be, meaning you meet with more people when itâ€™s most convenient for you.
No more waiting around for later meetings. Instead, youâ€™ll have more time to make new moves.
3 | Prioritize yourself.
Weâ€™ve poured over our 2019 Acuity industry survey enough to know that 42% of our users typically find up to 5 extra hours a week by using Acuity. That said, giving you all the tools doesnâ€™t do much good if you donâ€™t take advantage of them.
If itâ€™s time to up-level the way you do business, itâ€™s also time to commit to your boundaries and prioritize your needs.
Itâ€™s so outrageously easy to get swept up in the momentum of big ideas that we forget to give a little balance to ourselves. Plus, it can be a little scary to grant yourself more grace.
A valid question that pops up for some people: If youâ€™re not running yourself into the ground, will you lose your competitive edge?
And the more valid answer: Absolutely not.
In fact, giving yourself some space from your work is the key to true, sustainable success.
Building in breaks for yourself is one of the best things you can do for your clients.
When your brain isnâ€™t a bowl of mushy cereal thatâ€™s been sitting in the bowl too long, you can deliver more to your customers (and set aside time for yourself to actually finish eating your cereal). Weâ€™re talking about work thatâ€™s higher-quality, which leads to more repeat customers, and higher profits for you.
The best part? You wonâ€™t have to utter the word burnout once along the way.
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