Effective Solopreneur: The Power of Taking Breaks

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level
of awareness that created them.” -Albert Einstein

I see it way too often: Solo business owners, accustomed to wearing many hats, working too long, often without breaks, and so overwhelmed that they haven’t noticed how ineffective they’ve become.

Ineffectiveness is the grim reaper for a solopreneur. Previously, I blogged about the paradigm shift toward more conscious business ownership and stewardship.

In the outdated business models, the route to success is paved only with hard work, struggle, sacrifice, and more hard work. Action, any action, no matter how off-base or  inappropriate was better than no action at all. If you just kept taking action, at some point you’d have success, and course-correction was a necessary daily ritual.

The above description is nothing new to anyone who worked for a high-tech company during the last 20 years~the experience is like non-stop unproductive chaos. It always amazed me when any of those tech companies made money, since it seemed to happen entirely *in spite* of the lack of focus or productivity!

In the new paradigm for conscious businesses, the route that brings the fastest and most effective results is driven by inspired action. Chaos is replaced with calm knowing. The outcome is always kept in mind, and course-correction is rarely necessary.

Inspiration, however, comes to those who are centered and have enough quiet time in their day to hear their intuitive guidance. To receive the guidance for inspired action, successful solo business owners *make* time for regular respits from their work.

Every successful business person, especially solopreneurs, has had to learn to create a regular schedule of quiet time. Thomas Edison was known for taking naps during the day.  Others employed various forms of meditation, including mindful moving meditations or walks in nature.

Regardless of the method you use to get *quiet* time away from your work, it is important to schedule these breaks even when you think you’re too busy to take time away from work. In fact, it’s usually THEN that you need that quiet break the most!

The benefits of regular breaks from your business, whether 10 minutes or 10 week sabbatical, go beyond the obvious: When we are too close to the problems in our business, we can’t see beyond them to the potential solutions. Trying to force a solution under those stressful circumstances actually keeps us stuck longer.

When we step away from problems, we shift our vibration enough to be out of the energy of the problem, and closer to the energy of a solution. Sudden flashes of insight and inspiration are more likely to happen when we are relaxing, and breathing deeply, than when we are under stress and breathing shallowly. Taking breaks improves your energy vibration and the oxygen flow to your BodyMind (the intelligence that functions in every cell in your body).

If you are small business owner or solopreneur who hasn’t been taking breaks, start scheduling regular breaks away from your work area.

If you are a business owner who has been taking regular breaks, drop us a comment below to share what works for you and the benefits you’ve experienced as a result.

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24 thoughts on “Effective Solopreneur: The Power of Taking Breaks

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention AffirmingSpirit Blog » Blog Archive » Effective Solopreneurs: The Power of Taking Breaks -- Topsy.com

  2. This is very true. In fact, I can honestly say I actually get a lot of inspiration and good ideas after a good nights sleep, and also after a session of yoga. I think when your mind is clear, you allow the goodness to enter.

    • A good night’s sleep! Brilliant, Sheila, how could I forget to mention that? Of course, any time we allow our bodies to fully relax it helps us to shift energy.

      Abraham says that our bodies re-emerge into non-physical and we are more allowing when we sleep. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been distraught about something, had a good cry, and fell asleep only to find the *entire* issue resolved upon awakening! Then, I had a good laugh about letting something upset me so much when it was really in the process of resolving.

      Thank you, Sheila, for your great comment!

      Many blessings,

  3. Ooh – such a great point to make Nancy!!

    When I am doing a lot of work at home, I make a point of going to the local coffee shop. That requires a walk along the river – some decaffinated inspiration time – and a walk back along the river!! :0) Of course, I take my laptop – I’m not mad!!! Imagine how much inspiration I’ve clocked up on the walk!! lol

    AND Thanks for the reminder – I love the SCHEDULED break idea – that’s a new thought I’ll give a go!

    Love & Blessings


    • Joel, thanks for the laugh…

      Of course, I take my laptop – I’m not mad!!!

      LOL! Laugh aside, that regular walking is not only great for your body but also your problem-solving skills as a solopreneur. Have you noticed how many ideas you get on the walk to and fro? Inquiring minds would love to know… :o)

      Try scheduling regular time, and let me know. Some folks *swear* that having a dog has gotten them on a break schedule when nothing else could. I’ll have to consider that, but in the meantime, I think I’ll go pet my kitties =^..^= !

      Many blessings,

  4. I work out of my home, and rain or shine I do walk every day. I also do laundry, wash dishes, and prepare meals in between client sessions, and all the other parts of my business. I often get up from my computer to wash dishes or my face and have an insight in the midst of a mundane task. However, your article is reminding me that I am ready to be more mindful about my energy and break times. I am aware that, even in my own surroundings, it is all too easy for me to be on-line for hours at a time without moving, and to feel I must finish projects at the expense of skipping my yoga practice. It amazes me how easy it can be to model the very structure I left behind ten years ago. I appreciate the mirror being held up by someone other than myself so that I can remember what I chose to create now!
    Thank you, Kathleen

    • Thank you for your comment, Kathleen.

      As you’ve pointed out, even mundane tasks can free up the mind to see a solution that was hidden when deeply focused on your work. I’ve found the same to be true, and I actually *time* my chores to give me the breaks I need. There’s something magical in the repetitive motion tasks, such as sweeping a patio or washing dishes. Come to think of it, washing dishes puts you in contact with water~that magical substance for energy shifting. :o)

      Many blessings,

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more, Nancy. When I take a break and let go of those things that I feel like I have been focusing on forever around my business, the creativity flows with ease after that break!

    I take 4-mile walks down by the Willamette River, connect with the beautiful nature here in the Northwest, go for a great meal at my favorite restaurant & truly LET GO of all those projects I am thinking about. These breaks do wonders for my Mind, Body & Spirit!

    I always encourage my coaching clients to take that “me” time to relax, rejuvenate and recharge their spirits. And when they do … look out – ANYTHING is possible in terms of what they can achieve. (And of course, they are feeling more joyful which attracts to them more of what they do want and less of what they don’t!)

    Amen to taking breaks!

    P.S. And by the way, when I take my cross-country road trips and am gone for 3 weeks or more, my business thrives! Why? Because I am doing something I love and feeling free & joyful!

    • Love your comment, Maria, especially this important point:

      of course, they are feeling more joyful which attracts to them more of what they do want and less of what they don’t!

      Above, I pointed out vibrational shift~which is that we let go of what was holding us hostage mentally, and in that process our natural joy has a chance to rise to the surface. Once we are in a place of peace, joy, and appreciation, we have so much more energy at our disposal for finding solutions.

      Here’s to cultivating JOY!

      Many blessings,

  6. Bravo Nancy!
    I think this should be posted as a public service announcement for everyone, not just business owners…breaks to have that bit if time to re-connect to our inner self is like taking the time to pull into to the gas station to refuel….you won’t get far if you don’t !

    I home school my 2 grandchildren (ages 10 & 12) and have coordinated my work schedule with my teaching schedule…we make it a point to take breaks together just prior to the more difficult subjects…do a bit of deep breathing, stretching, have a snack and are ready to move on, refreshed and centered!

    Be Blessed!
    denny hagel

    • You’re right, Denny…no one would get far in their car if they never took time to refuel. This is even beyond the physical need to take a break: Stepping away allows your brain to let go of stress, worry, anxiety, etc. and embrace new solutions that would otherwise not be available.

      As a home-schooler, I bet you have lots of opportunities to get the kids outside into the fresh air and nature so that what they learn has a chance to sink in and the break refreshes their spirit! Way to go, Denny!

      Many blessings,

  7. The delicate balance has been deciding when to pull myself away even when the clock tells me to must press on; when I listen to the clock I have often realized hours later that pressing on was the equivalent of “chasing my tail”.

    In my core business of writing and instructional design, there’s a bit of a catch-22: when not being attentive to being caught-up in activity, I breed inattention and literally need to “break” the cycle. Awareness bells and wind chimes can serve as helpful reminders.

    A mindfulness technique that you have reminded me (thanks!) to use more consistently is to pause when I’ve completed even a small “to do” just to re-center and consider whether the next item on my list is something that should get my attention at that moment.

    I’m glad to have “found” you and others like Kathleen Casey and was just thinking how wonderful it would be to “be” with you, both.

    • Hi, Jeanne,

      Glad that you came by to comment! Your first paragraph really hits the nail on the head:

      The delicate balance has been deciding when to pull myself away even when the clock tells me to must press on; when I listen to the clock I have often realized hours later that pressing on was the equivalent of “chasing my tail”.

      This is exactly my point: Pressing on, pushing through, trying to force an outcome is far less efficient and effective than recognizing the struggle and taking a break. Countless times I’ve sat frustrated in my office, stewing over a problem and thought, “There’s got to be a better way!!!” Then, I go for a 10-20 minute walk, during which several solutions come to mind, and I walk back into my office with a refreshed view and solutions. One of them always works. :o)

      Spirit-based Solo and small business owners who want to connect with other successful people, be uplifted and inspired, and brainstorm solutions benefit from Quantum MasterMind, a weekly phone meeting that offers much more than traditional mastermind groups. Click on the link and join us!

      Many blessings,

  8. Wow. I wish that I had read this approximately six weeks ago.

    Because I love my work (that hardly feels like work) I would work hour after hour in my home office. Break? I would not even answer my personal telephone line because I was “in the moment” and did not want to lose my momentum. I worked this way for several months and now I am paying the price–burned out.

    I will never work at that pace again. I returned to my morning work out; however, I will schedule a couple of additional breaks throughout the day. Thanks Nancy.

    • So sorry to hear about the burn-out, Rachel. At least now, you *know* and you’ll be much less likely to do it again.

      Enjoy the time you take for breaks, and look for fun ways to incorporate them into your day. You’ll notice your productivity soaring because solutions will come to you quicker, and WHEN you are actually working you will ENJOY being there!

      Thank you for sharing your story so others can learn from it!

      Many blessings,

  9. Ouch, Nancy!

    Listen, I am not good on this one.

    I love working so much that I do not take as many breaks as I should. Then when I shut down, I end up not doing a single thing for a couple of days.

    However, I would rather be a marathon runner than a sprinter.

    Thanks so much for the reminder.

    Iyabo Asani,
    The Inner Genius Coach.
    Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach´s last blog ..On Iron Mike Tyson

    • Being a marathon runner, as you say, isn’t a problem in an of itself…

      The question remains: Are you as effective when you go non-stop without taking regular breaks as you would be IF you scheduled regular time to just *BE*?

      For myself, the answer was unexpected. I had no idea how ineffective I had become UNTIL I started taking time away. I started noticing I was working LESS, but getting MORE done! Many times I didn’t even realize I was *stuck* until I took a break and came back refreshed. Then, I starting reading accounts of famous successful people who took naps (Thomas Edison) or walked ( Soren Kirkegaard, Julia Cameron, –this is the most common “break”) or otherwise gave themselves quiet, alone time before making big decisions (Andrew Carnegie).

      It’s important not to confuse action with effectiveness, though. Solopreneurs can take all kinds of action that is pointless, timewasting, and frustrating. They seem (and feel) busy all the time. However, to get your head in a place where you are making calm, clear decisions and then taking action from that place, most people benefit from taking regular breaks.

      Thank you, Iyabo, for stimulating the thoughts about Allowing Success!

      Many blessings,

  10. I completely agree and feel sad that I am often off course! I wish to pray more, get clarity more, and share more love. I know the Universe will take care of me and my business as I get clear and ask for support.

    • Thank you for commenting, Auretha!

      Rather than read this post and use the energy to feel bad about your efforts, what IF you chose to think of 1 action (5 min a day) you could do to more yourself in the direction you want to go? Maybe…5 min of quiet at the start of each day, 5min to do self-love mirror-work mid-day, or 5min to pray at the end of each day? Which one feels best for you?

      Many blessings,

  11. Thank you Nancy. Just for clarity, I didn’t say I felt BAD but that I felt SAD, which is energy in motion (emotion)I choose to let it move through me without judgement so that I can get back to feeling joyful again! (www.hendricks.com) Above I set intention to do those things I mentioned, I also did some PRAY RAIN journaling and that felt REALLY great too!

    Thank you for your tosses- all are wonderful. What I loved about your article was the “spinning your wheels” concept that I have noticed when I lose track of what I want and getting in the Spirit place where I can hear direction and take inspired action! Excellent article!

    Thanks for your Presence!
    Auretha Callison http://www.intuitionstyling.com

    • Good for you, Auretha, for recognizing emotion and letting it flow through you! Thank you for clarifying.

      Many folks reading this might not be doing that (yet) and need the examples that I set forth, so I’m leaving those for those who need them.

      I appreciate your kind words and hope that others get as much value from reading these posts!

      Many blessings,

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