Life is like a layered cake

Life is like a layered cake

life is like a layer cakeDespite living in a perfectly lovely mountain town (Pisgah Forest, NC), it’s still nice to go somewhere else.

Despite really liking my work, loving my client roster right now, and finishing book #3 (Ponder This), it’s still super nice to take a break.

And despite my husband, Nelson, being as busy as he’s ever been (in the history of his business, Yellow Dog Construction, Inc., even with moving his entire business to this new town last February), it’s still nice to take a break.

Neither of us realized how much we needed the break (and how badly our dogs needed to release some pent-up energy), until we strapped on our backpacks to spend the weekend in the forest celebrating a friend’s 52nd birthday.

The stress of “working hard” (even when the work is really, really good), can and does build up.

The first layer

I think it layers itself like a beautiful cake. The first layer is good stress. Lots of clients and plenty of contracts is excellent! Tons of ideas and executing on a few of them is exhilarating!

The second layer

The second layer is okay stress. Working a little later into the evening to get paperwork done. Spending a half day on a weekend work project.

The third layer

The third layer is when things start to get heavy. It’s being in front of the computer – at home – four nights a week. Getting up early to deal with details. And committing a weekend to nothing but “catching up” on work.

The fourth layer

The fourth layer is where things fall apart. It’s heavy. Here, the insidious exhaustion comes in. You’re cranky,
badly stressed out, and actually not even realizing it. You’re short with your team, family, and pets. You get angry(er) in traffic. Your email responses are clipped and pointed. You make calls and focus on being transactional instead of conversational (or maybe that’s just me).

When you do finally take a break, the preparation feels exhausting, too. “I can’t do this right now, I have so much to do!!!” is the relentless drumbeat of your monkey mind.

Your lovely cake is about to implode.

The interesting thing? It’s when you hit this wall that you need time off the most.

In fact, if you can identify the second or third layer before it escalates, that’s even better.

What’s the solution for a successful business owner to combat stress?

Once a quarter, schedule time off. Three full days or one whole week. Every single quarter of the year.

Every. Single. Quarter.

No, I’m not kidding.

See, when Nelson, the dogs, and I returned from three gloriously unplugged days in the woods, we were calmer, less stressed out, and a whole lot nicer to each other.

The pleasant exhaustion from physical activity and rest during time away is very different from the exhaustion we experience during our weeks of work.

Gentle reader, will you purposefully and deliberately pull out your calendar RIGHT NOW and schedule time away each quarter for the rest of this year AND for the first quarter or two of next year? Pretty please with some frosting on top?

I promise it’ll make a HUGE difference in your professional and personal life.

Make some room,


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