How do I switch off from my education business?

How do I switch off from my education business?

Schools are on half-term for me next week, which means I am not technically working. However, there are some things I need to get over the line in order for my businesses to move forward, which I will fit into my week. But I am, for the most part, planning on switching off and spending time with my girls and with Ed.

I’m sure the idea of ‘switching off’ for some entrepreneurs is an alien concept. They might argue that you simply cannot switch off from your business and, to an extent, I agree. When I am not working, I still think about my businesses, I still think about other ventures I have, I even do work (but I am very intentional with my time and do things at times when I know I can work productively and get things over the line quicker). But I feel it is possible to switch off and intentionally make time and space for other things.

It is a skill. It is something you have to learn. It is something you have to practise.

It’s taken me a very long time to get to a point where I feel like I can switch off. My laptop has certainly done some travelling. Let me give you some tips on what you can do to practise switching off and hopefully you will be able to comfortably enjoy some down time!

Start with Saturday

When my eldest daughter was born, Ed was working full time in the week and I was left with Hattie, so no work was being done on my business. Saturday was my work time. Eventually, May came and I realised that I needed change my game plan. I decided Saturday was a non-workday. It was the one day in the week that I had where I just focused on doing something with my family. It’s easy, especially in teaching, to use Saturday as a day to catch up on all that admin, or that thing you keep putting off. But you’re not in teaching anymore – take Saturday to recharge.

Capture your ideas effectively and come back to them at a more suitable time

When I say ‘switching off’, I don’t mean turning your brain right off! Ideas will always come to you – in fact they will probably come more freely if you’re not sat at your laptop – so when that moment of inspiration hits you, where do you capture it? It’s so tempting to just whip out your laptop and start making things happen there and then. But capturing those ideas and coming back to them at a more appropriate time makes all the difference. I make a quick note in the app Evernote. I write down all the things I am thinking in that moment. I make good notes that are useful to me and if I can’t write in the moment, I will leave myself a voice journal (that’s a new thing I have discovered). This all means I haven’t ignored my idea; I haven’t thrown away my thoughts, but I have done the brain work and can come back to it later to turn it into a ‘thing’.

Get your systems and processes in place

Rather than being reactive, you should put systems and processes in place. You can do this even if you are a one-man operation. If you knew that every weekday between 10am and 12pm you check any customer service emails and social media comments, you wouldn’t need to hop online on an evening or weekend to do it because this job is being done 5 times a week – which is more than enough. Blocking out time for all your tasks and sticking to it will do two things: help you to know that things are being done on a regular basis and stop you from trying to multitask.

Have something else to focus on besides your education business

I don’t just mean spending time with your friends and family. I mean something like a project, something big that gives you no time to think about your business. Right now, for me, this is cleansing the house. Clearing out the old to make room for the new. It’s a big project and when Ed and I are working on it, there’s no time to talk shop.

See the benefits in switching off from your education business

There are some huge benefits to switching off that you might not yet see. You might be stuck in the thick of things now, and that makes it hard to see what is possible when you take a break.

When you switch off from your education business you:

  • Prevent yourself from becoming burnt out
  • Give yourself space to think about the bigger picture
  • Can see where you need help (and where you can get it)

Whether you have a team or you are alone in your business, you are a leader now and leaders need time and space to do a lot of thinking. Getting off the treadmill for a while will give you that space.

When you take time to switch off, you will reap the rewards. But you have to make switching off a priority for you and practise, practise, practise. For more tips on how to switch off, listen to this episode of the Education Business Podcast. I’d love to know how you get on.

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