We’ve all said it: “I don’t have time”.

Yet when the unexpected happens – disaster strikes or an advantageous opportunity comes along – the schedule instantly opens up, and our time and attention is redirected to this new task.

Do we have time, or can we make time?

I thought I didn’t have time for an overseas holiday. Then when the opportunity presented itself, I thought hey, sounds like fun! And I made it happen.

It was my first proper holiday in five years, and the first one since I left my day job. The idea of having no income for two weeks and arranging cover for 18 yoga classes was daunting. Also, much of my graphic design work requires a prompt turnaround. I wouldn’t be there to keep the balls in the air.

So, I gave my clients plenty of notice and told them all how important this holiday was to me. And here’s the game-changer: I enabled an ‘Out of Office’ email auto-responder.

Ok, so this isn’t a new invention. I do EDM for my clients, so I see how frequently ‘Out of Office’ emails bounce back. The difference was that I chose to leap out the martyrisation of “I don’t have time for a holiday”, beyond the fear of everything falling apart and returning to devastation. I switched it around to: “Actually, my clients will barely miss me and might not even remember to think about me”.

I took my laptop with me and didn’t open it even once. I’m very grateful to my clients, all of whom respected my time and wellbeing.

Having returned from a fun and restful holiday now, the benefits linger.

I’ve had more clarity of mind to deal with the pending workload. I’ve been more prepared and punctual, and feel less burnt out.

Being self-employed and working in two totally different industries can be challenging to ensure that I work efficiently and optimise chargeable time. I was interviewed for a podcast a couple of years ago where I discussed my work methods and lifestyle (much has changed since then, yet most of the productivity practices remain).

This quote always makes me smile:

“Entrepreneurs are the crazy people who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else.”

– Brad Sugars

Too right! Although I try to have sufficient recovery time to ensure that I work effectively when on-task. If I can’t perform, I don’t have a backup to keep my workload running smoothly. No-one pays me for sick leave or holidays.

My work schedule has filled up again, along with other commitments in the wind down of 2018. It seems like I don’t have time to fit anything else in.

So, I’ve decided to write a novel.