The importance of building self-care into your schedule

Quick! Name your business’s most important asset.

Did you say your products? Your services? Your customers? Your platform? I’ll bet you didn’t say “me.”

Here is the thing, you really are your company’s most valuable asset. You are the one thing that is going to drive your business to the million-dollar mark. And anything that’s going to get you there is worth a little TLC, right? How do you show yourself love and respect?

All work and no play makes Jill… on track to burn out

One thing that I have come across when teaching my workshops and doing interviews with women entrepreneurs is that many of us adopt an “all work and no play” lifestyle that can lead straight to burn out, and some of us even believe we have to be this way to succeed!

I get that running a business takes incredibly hard work, constant attention and an unwavering commitment. Taking time out to care for yourself while you’re trying to get your business off the ground can feel like an extravagance or even selfish. But here is why it isn’t and why you need to look out for numero uno.

Taking time to replenish your energy is an investment you’re making in your business. You can only grow your business as big as you grow yourself, and you aren’t going to grow very much if you are stressed out, overtired, and cranky. That’s why I’m challenging you to make a real commitment to carving out time in your schedule for self-care.

Make it your mantra: I will put the “person” back in my personal life!

There are numerous ways to make time for yourself on a regular basis. The women I interview in Million Dollar Women come from many different industries and walks of life — some have kids, some have partners, some are single. They all had two things in common. One is a knack for delegating. The other is the ritual of building self-care into their busy schedules.

Heather Hiles, CEO of Pathbrite, a San Francisco based ed-tech business, has more on her plate than most, running a venture capital backed company, mentoring local women entrepreneurs through office hours she holds, serving on school boards and as the devoted mom of two teenage boys. But between running her business and managing her family, she makes it a priority to reenergize by going to hot yoga or Pilates on weekends and making time to hang out and chill in the backyard with her boys.

Brittany Hodak, co-founder of ZinePak in New York, which produces and distributes premium collectibles for the likes of Katy Perry and Brad Paisley, is serious about taking time off when she needs it – especially after a long business trip or red-eye flights. Instead of going straight into work from the airport, she puts in her calendar that she’ll be out of the office when she returns and that way there is no decision to make or conversation to have with her team. She has to relax and recuperate!

For me, after several years in a row of doing mini-marathon trade shows for Little Pim that lasted several days, I started blocking out a day off after each one for rest and family time. Eventually I also found a way to delegate the out-of-town shows to my sales team (who were actually excited to go to Las Vegas and closed fifteen new accounts. I got to watch the whole thing from pictures they posted on social media—so much better!). I also hired a virtual assistant, which saved me from burning out and let me free up a few hours every week, some of which I use for meditation, workouts and the occasional fantastic massage at my local manicure place.

Put YOU in your “to-do”

Once you resolve to build in time for self-care, you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier. I have been doing yoga every Sunday for over 10 years — it helps me burn off stress, stay flexible in mind and body and calm the *&(@ down, all at once. But if yoga’s not your thing, here are some other ideas:

1. Work out with a friend. A great way to combine social time and “me” time, you can pick a workout, yoga or walking buddy and a specific morning or eve to do it, then stick to the plan every week.

2. Choose an activity that’s NOT career-related. Workout, swim, walk, read, visit with friends and family, go to the beach or your favorite park, pick up an old hobby…treat yourself to something that reenergizes you at least once a week.

3. Make it a priority. Just like a potential customer or investor is the priority when you schedule a meeting, you are the priority during the time you’ve blocked out for yourself. Once it’s in writing, it’s an official commitment.

4. Don’t do the guilt thing. It can be easy to feel guilty or “selfish,” or to let fears about what you’re not doing crowd out self-care. Instead, remind yourself that you’re investing in the asset that is going to get you to the $1 million mark.

While it may seem daunting to work some “me time” into your schedule, burning out is even worse. You not only deserve time to rejuvenate, you (and your business) need it!

Love (aww)

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