Here on the Starship Martin Print, we were happily cruising through the Celestial Printing Press Sector, on a routine mission to pick up more supplies of cosmic sticky stuff for our free stickers and magnets deals, when we just happened to pick up an urgent distress call from a small bluey-green planet on the other side of the universe.
The cheeky rascals had reversed the charges too, so I already knew that this was going to cost us a fortune.
Chief Communications Officer Doris patched through the call to our main control deck, where myself and First Officer Old Bert had been innocently enjoying a quick game of Intergalactic Monopoly.
I was kind of grateful for the interruption, as I’m sure that Old Bert had been cheating whilst I’d been busy recording my latest thrilling entry in the Captain’s Log.
The distress call turned out to be a panic-stricken plea for us to help locate something of great value which had recently disappeared into oblivion.
Apparently, the overworked Small Business owners of this strange bluey-green planet used to cherish a regular event which they rather unimaginatively called The Weekend.
This was often a period for great celebrations, social meetings, enchanting trips away, exciting activities etc.
At the very least, it was a chance for them to sit around the house and watch cartoons without having to worry about anything until Monday.
Alas, these poor entrepreneurs were now working so tirelessly around the clock to support their businesses, that the whole concept of a free weekend had seemingly been sucked into a black hole for the rest of eternity.
So, is there anything at all we can possibly do to reclaim these stolen free weekends from the cosmic clutches of infinite work?
In some ways, it sounded to me like a bit of an impossible mission.
After all, when you embrace the unique lifestyle of running your own business, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices along the way in your determined pursuit for success – and the biggest one of all is free time.
Perhaps it shouldn’t even be considered a luxury.
Taking an occasional healthy break is of critical importance for your wellbeing, and your business will ultimately reap the benefits if you give yourself time to fully re-charge your batteries over the course of a couple of days.
But when you’re being pelted from all sides by a meteor storm of work that needs to be done before Monday morning, it’s sometimes difficult to see how you’re ever going to navigate your way to that elusive and forgotten zone of the free weekend.
Undeterred, the brave crew of the Starship Martin Print plotted a new course through the deepest unexplored reaches of the Small Business Sector, in search of the vital clues we needed to help us locate and rescue the lost weekend of the entrepreneurs.
Here’s what we learned along the way…
Does the weekend really just disappear from our grasp? Or do we sometimes give it a bit of an accidental push?
On our interstellar journey through the stars, we noted that business owners – particularly those small business owners who work from home – can often lose their focus during the week, and this has a draining effect on any potential free time you might desire for the weekend.
Are you really able to knuckle down during the week and avoid every potential distraction that comes hurtling in your direction? Or do you sometimes find yourself casually browsing the internet and becoming deeply absorbed in completely irrelevant stuff that could easily be saved for another time?
To increase our productivity during the week and increase the chances of a weekend reward, we really need to Zoom In on the tasks in front of us, and ensure that we’re not led astray by trivial diversions.
If you sometimes find this to be a struggle, then try the Alarm Break Strategy!
Set an alarm on your clock or phone or PC to go off in 60 minutes time, and then make a solemn vow that you will concentrate solely on work until you hear the alarm.
Then allow yourself a little break, before setting the alarm again and repeating the procedure.
You might well be surprised at just how much extra work you suddenly start to cram into a weekday…
If you already have a small team of people working with you, then try delegating some of those tasks that a busy person like yourself really shouldn’t be wasting your time on.
Alternatively, consider outsourcing some of your workload to a freelancer or virtual assistant.
Don’t forget to keep up to date with potential software solutions too.
You may just be throwing away valuable time on a pointless procedure which could be completely eliminated by upgrading your software and delegating the task to the machines!
OPERATION: ACCESS DENIED
A common problem with some business owners is a strange reluctance to use the word No.
Let’s not be so scared of it. It’s a pretty useful word.
While nobody relishes the thought of turning away extra business, if your own workload is already piling up to frankly impossible levels then there comes a point when you have to say No for the sake of your own sanity.
This applies equally to requests from outside of work.
You might not want to disappoint that friend who asked you at very short notice if you fancied meeting up for a drink. But if surprise requests like this are going to severely disrupt your tight schedule on a regular basis, then you have to learn to politely deny the request.
OPERATION: NUMBER CRUNCHING
If you’re working yourself into the ground just to keep your head above water, then this might be a warning signal to review your pricing strategy.
Just a few simple tweaks in price could be the key to unlocking those free weekends again.
For further insight on getting the price right , check out this very recent Blog article Out of Pocket – How to Tell If You’re Seriously Undercharging Your Business Customers!
OPERATION: PLOT CO-ORDINATES
Finally, if you’re serious about plotting a firm and steady course for a free weekend, then do just that – make the plans and set them in stone!
All too often, entrepreneurs will find themselves pottering about on work-related duties during the weekend simply because they’re at home and didn’t really have anything else in mind. So they think why not?
It’s a dangerous trap to get caught in.
By making clear and definite plans for the weekend ahead, you’ll be giving yourself even more motivation and incentive during the week to really whizz through all those jobs that need to be done, so you can ensure that your free weekend is fully prepared for blast-off!
So, here on the Starship Martin Print, we’ve come to the logical conclusion that whilst your free weekends may appear to have been kidnapped by unseen sinister forces, there are plenty of cases in which the rescue operation to retrieve them may not be quite as complicated as we first imagined…
But how are you faring on your bold mission to save your weekends from the black hole of business?