July 17, 2011

By: 
Rachel Strella

Lesson Learned in Business: Take a Break!

This month, I celebrate one year in business.  For many at this stage, this is just the beginning of caffeine-ridden days, constant chaos, and a never-ending cycle to stay afloat. For me, however, I have decided those days are gone.

You might think it’s because I am tired, which certainly is a factor. However, if there is one lesson I have learned from starting a business, it’s that the work is never ending; it doesn’t stop until you make it stop!

I will continue to work hard and put in the “entrepreneurial hours” but I am going to stop killing myself to get to the finish line and start enjoying my entrepreneurship a little. Let’s face it: being burnt-out won’t get me anywhere, either.

I can vaguely remember the days when we got the morning paper delivered to our door and took about 30 minutes to read through the past days’ events while sipping a cup of coffee.  Now, we’re checking our email, on our smart phone, while in a meeting in order to ‘get more done.’  We are connected 24 hours a day, watching our social media streams splurge with the latest updates.  We love the world of immediacy, but even I have to admit… it can take its toll.

Many of us are on information overload and a lot of it is our own doing. We need the newest, fastest, smartest, and most “up-to-date” of everything.  Although in its early phases, Google+ is an example. I have only played around on the new social network for a few hours, but, at this point, I feel like it’s too similar to Facebook and just one more log-in and network to manage (as if we didn’t have enough).  Now, before you plus users burn me effigy, I am not saying there aren’t some amazing things it can do. Maybe it’s even better than Facebook. But, do we really need more, more, more? We talk about building a relationship with our customers via social media but I wonder how much time we spend learning with what channel to communicate with them rather than serving them.

If you haven’t noticed the irony of this post yet, let me state it. Yes, I am a “social media person!” But, that doesn’t mean I forget the fundamentals of all of this: the people.   It’s essential to unplug, unwind, charge your battery, whatever it is you do and enjoy just ‘being.’ Heck, it might actually enhance your relationships.

As I celebrate my mini-milestone, I think of the over-quoted, but so credible words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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7 comments on “Lesson Learned in Business: Take a Break!”

  1. I remember hearing people say similar things back when we had real search engine choices and Yahoo was king ... why would we want to use Google, Yahoo already has my preferences, I am already connected with groups and I am used to the interface. If we had stuck with that attitude, we would not have embraced a technology that gives use results almost before we type the question. I guess if we look at each advancement in communication (the jury is still out on he advancement value of G+) as just another thing, we would still be learning from encyclopedias on the shelf and getting our news hours after it happened. I think we should be always seeking the BEST tools to do the job, not the tools we are used to.

  2. I agree with you that we all need to take a break. I have been running my company going on 7 years now and the one thing I have learned is to balance. We can easily get caught up in social media and other forms of communication and lose the reality that at the end of the day we are dealing with people, not machines. Ever since I forced myself to spend more time with family, friends and just simply enjoying life, I have been more productive during the hours that I do work. These are just my 2 cents 🙂

    Keep up the excellent posts Rachel. You are doing a great job!

  3. Despite my initial urge to comment on Google Plus I'll keep my comment in line with the important message of your post - taking time to stop and smell the roses from time to time! I do think it's easy to get caught up in the immediacy of social media and the web in general, but it's very important to relax and regenerate! When you're an entrepreneur there's a lot of pressure to be working at a break-neck pace 24/7/365 but once you realize that the world won't end if you sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee every now and then your life becomes a lot more enjoyable. 🙂

    1. My assessment of Google+ is very preliminary. I look forward to what the medium will bring!

      You're right on - as entrepreneurs we have an unprecedented drive, but it doesn't mean that we have to work around the clock. Thanks so much for your response!

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