When was the last time you imposed a lockdown?
What I'm about to tell you may make me sound like the most anti-social person, but alas...honesty before ego.
My husband and I are total homebodies, always have been, always will be. During our years living in London we would regularly proclaim "lockdown!" on a weekend. We'd plan these at least a month in advance, download films or TV series, load up on good books, set up the easel (for my husband) or my sewing machine, and basically not communicate with anyone (apart from each other) Friday night to Monday morning. It was just 100% "our time" to do with whatever we pleased — cook, sew, read, write (creatively). We didn't take phone calls, we didn't get caught up in social media, we said no to social commitments. We just switched off completely.
Then...we had our beautiful son and decided to move back to Melbourne; extended family and work obligations, plus the never-ending to-do list on our first home, made lockdowns a thing of the past. That was until one weekend when our local council stated they would close the bridge (that allows us to get in and out from our street) for the whole weekend. We were both looking forward to this "forced" lockdown. I stocked up on meals, planned hammock time, made sure the dog was taken for walks, got some craft activities for my son etc etc. Friday evening came around and the council backtracked, cancelling all roadwork and opening the bridge back up.
Lockdown was no longer. I was a little deflated.
Then, I thought, why can't I impose my own "lockdown", not only in my personal life but in my business life? Why am I waiting for someone else — in this instance, our council — to give me permission to switch off and concentrate on what's most important to me for an entire weekend?
As small business owners, we will often put everyone else's needs —our customers, our clients, our accountants, our social media followers, our mentees, our web devs or that random old school friend who contacted us 20 years later for free help on their biz — before our own. If I were to say to you 'Here are 48 hours that are 100% just for you to spend as you wish' what would you choose to do?
Why aren't you doing more of this?
Are your answers excuses or legitimate? If the latter, can they be shifted for one weekend or one 48-hour period? Can kids and partners be given orders to spend a day at the zoo / in a park / at the in-laws? Can you swap babysitting with another parent so you both have time sans kids? Can friends / family be told "no"? Will your whole business sink if you don't answer emails over the weekend? Really?
Whether it's dedicating time to creating the perfect home or rented office space, writing those blog articles or email sequences, investing in your own learning, creating the ideal job description for your first staff member, time should work for, not against, us. In the words of Essentialism author, Greg McKeown:
'Remember that if you don't prioritise your life someone else will'
That weekend was a wake-up call for me. I spoke with my family and mapped in four lockdown weekends to spend on my business and four to spend as a family before the end of the year. The power to prioritise my time feels awesome.
What small change could you make this week to help you feel you're truly prioritising the life you want?