Last week I got back from an absolutely excellent four and a half week road trip across the USA.
Since I started online in 2010 it was the longest time I have (almost) completely “unplugged” from business by taking an extended period of time off.
This said, I did post Facebook photo updates on most days:
The first thing to say is that I feel very fortunate to be able to do something like this and I don’t take it for granted.
In the past it just wouldn’t have been possible to get my employer’s permission for such a trip and obviously then there’s the cost side of things, hotels, car rental, flights, meals and so on…
Running any kind of business can be pretty intensive experience and after a while it can be hard to make out the wood from the trees. In this respect, taking a break can be a great thing to do.
To me however, there is one significant downside, particularly if you go on a longer trip as I have just done.
It’s all to do with…
The so-called “internet lifestyle” we are told, typically consists of things like this:
- Fire your boss
- Live life on your own terms
- Passive income
- No more 9-5 routine (Work only a few hours per week)
If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ll know I’m always going on about the “time and effort” which is required to have a successful and profitable online experience.
The rewards can be fantastic but equally “the dream” peddled by a lot of the purveyors of “business opportunities” out there is, well really just that. It’s a bit of a mirage!
Specifically, leaving the 9-5 routine can be so appealing but the funny thing is we are actually creatures of habit.
This means that breaking away from routine too much can cause problems.
Unplugging and being away on the road trip has reminded me of how important this is.
After getting back everything seems harder! Here are some examples of what I’ve experienced during the last few days:
- I recorded a short tutorial video for a client. Instead of doing this in one take (which is nearly always the case), I made simple mistakes and it took three takes.
- Writing this blog post is taking probably 3-4 times longer than it normally would. And I’m finding writing more difficult.
- My sense of overwhelm (stress?) in terms of getting stuck the new projects I want to is significantly greater. My brain is perceiving the challenges as larger mountains to climb.
Perhaps short breaks such as long weekends or maybe a week or two off are actually better. Certainly, I’ve found a big difference compared to taking 4+ weeks off.
Either way it’s certainly true that if you don’t use it you lose it.
I wanted to write about this because I feel these kinds of issues are rarely talked about. If you listen to most people you’d get the impression everything is simple and easy for them.
But of course, a lot of mistakes and difficulties are actually concealed!
The good news is that it doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of things and “doing a little bit often” makes the world of difference to your progress.
But you’ve got to attack it, take regular action and expand your comfort zone.
I’ve seen this in other fields too. A long time ago when I used to teach guitar the students who did the best were the ones who did 20 minutes practice per day. These people always made much faster progress than those who did nothing all week and then blitzed a 6 hour session on a Saturday.
So by all means break that 9-5 work habit.
I did and it’s so liberating.
But equally remember that we are all creatures of habit so you’ll make your goals so much easier to attain if you persist with consistent and steady action.
In short, routine is good!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience on this. As always, it’s fine to agree or disagree! Please LIKE/TWEET if you found this useful and drop a comment below…