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Do you really deserve free time?

All moms work, but those who work outside the home often face a unique dilemma: you're working hard so you can raise your family, but, often, you get caught up in the rat race. How about stepping back and taking some time off - it will benefit you and your family.

The problem
Do you really deserve free time? As a matter of fact, no, you don't. Free time isn't a reward for good behavior, it's a necessary precondition for optimum productivity. So stop thinking that you'll let yourself take a few days off when...(insert your excuse here).

Think of it this way; you're the brains behind the business, right? In order to keep being successful, you've got to keep that brain sharp and creative. Trouble is, if you use it continuously, it will get dull.

Information overload
Mass communications, including television, radio, fax, advertising, electronic mail, cell phones and pagers require us to constantly process huge amounts of information. This means we must maintain an extremely high level of mental activity whether we want to or not. It sometimes seems that there is no escape. Most of us can relate all too well to the meaning of "information overload." The technologically advanced world in which we live can wear us out very quickly.

This weariness can wreak havoc on your business. Consider the symptoms of fatigue: lack of innovation, irritability, reduced productivity, and stress. The list goes on. And we are frequently unaware of how run down we are getting.

We are moving away from the industrial age into the information age, yet the work ethic that most of us grew up with taught us to maximize work time - time at the factory or the office. Even our language reflects the inherent value judgment of time away from work. We call non-work time "off-time" or "down-time."

The emergence of creativity, ideas, and information as our most valuable resources, and the pervasiveness of the global, 24-hour business world have changed our concept of "time equals money." Now, it's "results equals money." And we all know that more time at the office does not mean more results. In fact, it often means less results and more mistakes.

Listen in sacred space

What's the answer? The solution is to take time away from your business. Free time makes you sharper. Free time provides the rejuvenation you need to restore your confidence and sense of well-being. You come back from time off with a new perspective, a higher energy level, increased creativity, and often, a breakthrough idea. Take one vacation a year, get one breakthrough. Take two vacations, get two breakthroughs. Take three, get three.

Plan at least three breakthroughs this year. This is a hard concept for many business people, even those of you who won't admit to being workaholics. But, you might as well face up to it - you need free time. The success of your business is riding on it.

Here's a little test:

You believe the business can't run without you: YES NO

You believe that time from the business means lost income: YES NO

Your idea of relaxation is catching up on work on the weekend: YES NO

You take your briefcase with you to the beach: YES NO

You carry your cellular phone and/or beeper everywhere: YES NO

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, drop everything and plan a vacation immediately. Three or four days will help. Seven or more is ideal for rejuvenation.

Paying the price

Many people have made financial objectives their sole concern and have paid a heavy price for their success - poor health, failed marriages, neglected friendships, no personal development in any area except business.

Financial success, no mater how great, can never compensate for poor quality of life. In the scheme of things, a properly functioning business is supposed to be the servant of a full and satisfying life that includes good health, close and loving relationships, recreation, culture, and a powerful contribution to the community.

The 21st Century Entrepreneur will develop a personal life that is multi-dimensional and characterized by ever increasing quality of experience - and increasing income continually to support that quality.

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