Stephen and I are self-employed, so we are our own bosses and set our own schedule. FBA is our full-time job. Some of you are in the same position, and others of you are doing FBA on the side while working another full-time job. When the potential for profit at FBA is so great, we all can struggle at times with a tendency to keep at it way past the point when our minds and bodies need some down time. We just cannot stop working.
Over time, all those hours of sneaking off to the spare-bedroom-turned-into-office for “just a few minutes of checking in on things” takes its toll. Or all those times when we say, “I’ll just check one more store and see what they’ve got on clearance now.” We get weary. We lose sleep. We lose time with our loved ones. We catch colds more easily. We just need to rest.
In my previous career, I worked overseas with a nonprofit for 10 years, where I got lots of practice for later becoming self-employed. Our organization didn’t have set office hours, and each of us on the team designed our own projects and set our own pace for completing them. My office was in my apartment, and I got used to the kind of life where you have the freedom to work the hours that best fit your personality, as long as you got the job done. One of my most important take-aways from my years at that job was our team’s philosophy on rest. My supervisor was adamant that each person on the team take regular breaks. Not just regular coffee breaks or lunch breaks each day but true, sustained breaks from work. The kind where you shut your mind down and get away from the pressures of the tasks at hand.
Stephen and I have adopted that same schedule of rest throughout the year:
Every week, we rest for one full day. We usually rest on Sunday, so we can go to church, but for others it might need to be a different day.
Once a month, we take a full two-day break, equivalent to a weekend. Again, it might not be possible to take this two-day break on a Saturday/Sunday — hey, it’s hard to miss out on those Saturday morning garage sales! — but we take two consecutive days where we don’t do anything work related. For the record, I’m not saying that we work six days a week all but one week of the month. A lot of times we’ll work Friday and Saturday mornings, but not those afternoons, so it evens out to five days of work, stretched across six days. But once a month, it’s good to take a solid two days of not touching work at all.
Once a quarter, we take a longer weekend off. Sometimes we’ll take a three-day camping trip with the kids, or other times it might end up being a four-day staycation where we just bum around the house and catch up on reading magazines. Again, by “weekend” I don’t necessarily mean that we stop work on Friday and Saturday, the big garage sale days. This long “weekend” might mean not working Sunday through Wednesday of one week.
At least once a year (or more if possible), we take a longer vacation. One week, two weeks, whatever works best depending on the circumstances that particular year.
Stephen and I truly believe that regular rest is the key to longevity in life and in business. Rest will keep us from getting sick, from burning out, and from sacrificing our family and relationships for the sake of profit. Yes, we need to work hard to support our family and to be able to give to others, but none of it is worth it if we work ourselves into the ground and lose what is most important in life. In the long run, rest is of vital importance.
We’d love to hear from you on this subject. Do you get enough rest each week and throughout the year? How do you weave vacations and leisure time into your schedule?