If you’ve been a part of this community for a while, you might have read that headline with one eyebrow raised. After all, I tell you again and again that the key to your success is taking action consistently and persistently.
(And that is still VERY much true. Write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day, get it tattooed backwards on your forehead so you’ll see it in the mirror—make it your mantra.)
But I will also tell you NOT to try to work for three or four hours a day while you’re going through the course and beginning your learning. And I’ll heartily tell you to take a couple of days off (aka a weekend) each week.
Why? Because it’s really easy to burn out, and burnout sneaks up faster than you’d believe.
When you’re learning something new and/or taking on a new venture like copywriting, it’s taxing on you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Now, don’t get me wrong: It’s absolutely WORTH it. All of the best things in our lives, all of the things that make our lives better, generally start out being at least somewhat mentally, physically, and/or emotionally taxing. But you get through it and you reap the benefits.
But, as adults, it’s not often that we learn something genuinely new, and so it’s a little extra tiring for our brains to process and retain the information. It’s also not that often that we call on ourselves to do something new, and that’s emotionally exhausting. And, frankly, sitting down and getting our work done can be physically exhausting!
Again, consistency and persistence are key…but while working a half-hour or an hour each day on learning and building your business and then taking the weekend off is heading in the right direction, trying to cram in hours’ worth of learning and practice day after day after day is heading in the wrong one.
When you try to power through without taking a break, you don’t give your brain the valuable time to learn and assimilate the information.
Have you ever been doing a crossword puzzle, been utterly stumped on a clue, set it down to do something later, and then come back to it to have the answer “magically” come to you?
Yup, that’s how your brain works. When you’re learning or practicing your copywriting skills, or when you’re writing for clients for that matter, your brain is working hard when you’re actively engaged in that task.
But it’s also working while you’re not engaged in that task. It’s taking new things you’ve learned and creating neural pathways to make it permanent. It’s working through problems or challenges to come up with the solution. It’s generating new and creative ideas.
You need to take time off.
And, believe me, I say this to you as someone who is NOT great at taking time off. I know that I operate so much better as a writer, as a coach, as a business owner, and as a person, when I take a weekend away at least once every six months. (Six months has come and gone since my last getaway.)
But I know that I don’t do anyone any good when I don’t get time off. When I’m away is when I come up with new ideas for ways to support our students, new ideas for ways to grow our business, new ideas for ways to help my clients, and new ideas for ways to grow and improve as a person. Without that time away, I stagnate as a writer, a business owner, and as a person.
So, by the time you’ll be reading this, I’ll just be coming back from my first weekend getaway in a very long time. I’m keeping it local for safety reasons, but I’m getting out of my house and going away. I’m also going alone so that it’s just me and my thoughts. And, most excitingly for me, I have a fabulous team in place so that I’m not going to open my computer from Friday night through Monday morning—and that’s the first time I will have done that in EIGHT YEARS!
Yes, you need to take action and make progress consistently and persistently, but you also NEED to give your brain a break. If you happen to have the opportunity to take a weekend getaway by yourself, go for it.
(Just a few tips: Go somewhere you’ve never been before and don’t watch any tv. Reading is fine. If you can, go for at least two nights. On the first night, you’ll think you were stupid for taking time away from your life to do this, but by the second you’ll have decompressed and gotten into your groove. And bring snacks; brie, apples, and good bread are my go-tos.)
But if you don’t have that luxury, carve out even just a few hours for yourself if you can. The ideal is a few hours by yourself (again, not watching TV–it doesn’t let your mind rest in the right way) outside of your house. I have friends who make a deal with their spouse for a few hours along and just hop in the car and drive to a nearby park to read for a few hours.
Or, even if you REALLY can’t get time by yourself at all (please try), spending time with people you enjoy can be recharging. (No tv!)
You need a break, I guarantee it. A real and true, high-quality break. Give your brain a chance to do what it does best and let it assimilate and create and ideate while you put your attention elsewhere. Both you and your career deserve it.
Your turn! How are you going to give yourself a break? What will you do, and when? Let me know in the comments below.