Episode 87

Episode 87: Making Time Out Of Office Part Of Your Business Plan


What you’ll learn in this episode:

As entrepreneurs, we often fall into the trap of being chained to our businesses – both mentally and physically. The idea of being truly out of office, intentionally, becomes something that only special snowflakes who have cracked a special code seem to enjoy.

But I’m here to offer a different perspective. And it’s not that you should just take time out of office because it’s good for you. I’m here to offer that it’s not only a good thing for you and your business, but it’s ESSENTIAL. I believe that one of the fastest ways to grow your business, have a larger impact, and make more money is to make an out of office strategy a non-negotiable and critical part of your business plan (and not just sometimes, all. the. time.)

In today’s episode I break down how I’ve built my business with consistent out of office hours (and weeks) for the past 5 years, and how I’ve coached hundreds of clients to do the same. If you’re a business owner who’s growing and feels like you’re losing all your free mental and physical space to your business, or someone who just desires to take Fridays as an out of office day each week, this episode is for you. By the end you will have a step-by-step plan on how to create consistent out of office time that you can implement immediately.

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • Why knowing exactly what you want is essential before you schedule anytime out of office
  • How to get creative with your calendar so you can easily schedule time out of office
  • Why communicate, communicate, and communicate some more is the name of the game
  • What a support system, managing your mindset, and knowing your why will do to set you free from being chained to your business

Mentioned in this episode:

Susan Robertson

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[0:00] Hello, everyone, and welcome back to this week’s episode of the It’s Your Offer Podcast. I’m Jess Miller. And I’m so excited to be here to talk to you about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and is something that I talk to a lot of my clients and colleagues about. And that is taking time out of office in your business as part of your business plan.

[0:23] If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I think that time out of the office should not be a byproduct of your business, it should be something that is actually intentional, and part of your business plan. I would stand up on my soapbox in front of just about anybody and tell you them that one of the number one things that took my business to the next level, and one of the number one things that I have told my clients about and shown them how to incorporate into their business, is taking time out of their business in a very intentional way. That leads to much greater happiness, much more productivity, and a lot more money. As we grow our businesses, one of the unfortunate side effects is often that we become chained to it, that we end up needing to be present and be in our desk chair and be on the clock and on the calendar in order to make money and to continue to grow our business. But I’m here to tell you that there is another way to do it. What if you could make more money in your business, create more impact, and actually be more efficient? By doing less? How would that look? Do you think it’s actually possible for you?

[1:51] I will tell you that most people when I ask this question, the answer is actually no. And I think the reason the answer is no is because number one, the experience that most people are having in their business is they are not working less than or not doing fewer things and creating more, they’re actually working harder and working more than ever before. And so we start to develop this idea that in order to make more money and build a bigger business, we’re going to have to do more things and work harder, when actually it’s the exact opposite. The other reason I think we do this is because we see a lot of people that we admire, or that are growing big businesses, that are working all the time. And so we think that is how it is. And then finally, I think no one has ever really shown us. How do we do this, right? It all sounds great. We just want to, you know, make more money, or grow a bigger business or have a bigger impact or do more of the things that we want to do without having to input more. But how exactly do you do that. And I think the reason is more of us are not doing it, because we’re not being shown how?

[3:03] Well today, I want to walk you through it, I want you to understand, and I want you to embrace this idea that making time out of the office, making that part of your business plan, is actually in a very practical in a logistical way. It is how you create a more powerful and a more thriving business. And a more powerful and a more thriving you. And I’m not just saying this from the perspective of some theory or structure that I have taught people and created and shown my clients. I am speaking to you from experience.

[3:45] Now I want to side note this and say, this does not mean that I don’t ever have weeks where I’m maybe working more than I usually do or where I might be working a lot. As many of you know, I have a luxury business and rejuvenation retreat that’s coming up at the Canyon Ranch. Next week, stay tuned, there’s going to be so many amazing things that are coming out about that. But I’m so excited about that. And it’s requiring me to front load some of my effort right now. So that I can have an amazing retreat, give all of myself and all my energy to the people that are there next week, but also wait for it. It is time, quote unquote, out of the office. And some part of that retreat also is going to be for me. And so in order to do that, I have to you know, put some more time and effort and shuffle, or shuffle things around. So, yes, there are times where my business demands of me more time and effort, but it’s all very intentional. And it’s all connected to everything else. And it is all very clear in the way that it’s coming together. And so I want to walk you through how I think about this. And it’s really also important, right now, when we’re talking about this in the springtime, when people are looking forward to some of these seasons where they want to be out of the office more. And maybe it’s not even just the season like summertime might be one of those times, or your kids might be off for spring break or things like that. Or you want to take some trips with girlfriends or your best guy pal, or whatever it is. Sometimes it’s seasons like that.

[5:31] But other times, it’s something that you actually want to incorporate into your business all the time. And I will tell you that for me, it started as the sort of sporadic, intentional kind of clusters of time, like, you know, a spring break or a long weekend. And then it morphed and grew and got optimized in my business, to be something that I do in my business in a micro way, every single week. So I’m going to walk you through some of the steps that I go through when I think about taking time out of office, for my business. And really, that’s what it comes down to. I am doing this in an intentional way, for my business, and for me, and because as entrepreneurs, really all of those things are intermingled, it’s so important that you understand all the different assets in your business, yourself being the most important asset in your business numero uno, number one, you are your most important asset. And so understanding what you need, and the fact that you need to rejuvenate in order to allow your business to grow, is a key component of how this fits into your business plan.

[6:52] So I’m going to walk through these few things about how I think about it. And I want you to really sit down and listen to this and not just listen with your head because that’s important. Like, here’s all the pieces, right? But I want you to listen with your heart. And when you hear something that is making your heart swell, I want you to take notice, because that is a sign of what you need. It’s a sign of where your intuition and that inner wisdom is pulling you. And here’s the thing, you know what you need, you know, what would actually make an impact, you know what feels good. But again, a lot of times, we just don’t know how to do that. And sometimes we know, but we don’t give ourselves permission. So watch where your heart soars because your body is a compass. I’ve said this many times, and it’s leading you to where your biggest breakthroughs are. Okay, so here we go.

[7:54] So how do you take time out of your business as part of your business plan? How do you do that in an intentional way? Okay. Number one is you have to get clear on what it is you want and need. So when it comes to taking time out of your business, and taking time out of office, as part of your business plan, the first thing is to ask yourself, like, what does that really look like? If I were to give myself this time, how would that look? So as an example, do you want to just take for instance, a week off in May? Is that what it looks like for you? Are you somebody who wants to take Fridays out of office as part of your business plan? Are you someone who wants to take every day from three o’clock to five o’clock PM, out of your business as part of your business plan? So what does it look like? And what do you want from this time out of office? Clarity is so important. A lot of times we talk about these things in a very vague way, like, oh, yeah, I would love to be out of office, I’d love to take time out of my business. But what does that really mean? Most of us are not clear. And this is one of those exercises where your gut and your intuition really matters.

[9:18] So if I were to say, oh my gosh, I only want to work one day a week. I want to be in office one day a week and I want to be out of the office four days a week. If somebody said that to me, my body would respond. Not in a favorable way. I don’t want to be out of the office as part of my business for four to five days. If someone said what about if you had an out of office day on Fridays? Okay, that actually feels great to me. So part of this is using this barometer of your body. And also just thinking about you know, your own values and your own logistics and your business. When you think about what does it really look like? What do you want with this out of office time in your business? So the first piece is getting clear. What does that look like? Okay, that’s the first thing.

[10:10] The second thing is looking at, once you decide what you’re looking for, so I’m just for the sake of argument for this particular podcast is an example. We’ll use Fridays out of the office. So if you’re to decide Fridays out of the office, the next question is, how logistically, could you do that? So in this part, you start dreaming and scheming practically and logistically is what would it look like, if I were to be out of the office every Friday? And this is where you sit down, and you really start to strategize around how would I make that happen? So if you’re someone, for example, who has calls on a Friday, how would you move that around if Friday was no longer available as an office day? Or let’s pretend you did administrative work on Friday. If you were going to take Friday out of the office, where would you put that administrative work? So you start to really go in and you start to embody what it will look like if you are actually out of the office during that time. I know some of this sounds really basic, but I can’t tell you how many of us don’t do this. We just write things off, or well, here’s, here’s something. And we don’t actually try to dial up all those creative skills, dial up all that ingenuity, all those ideas, as entrepreneurs, we are so good at this, to really go into it. And really try to play with it so that we make it a reality. So once you’ve decided and then you start to go in, and you start to ask yourself, hey, listen, if, if Friday, like fell off the face of the earth, what would I do with this stuff? What would I do with these responsibilities? Or what would I do with the things that I’m doing during that time? How would I get it done if that wasn’t an option? You will be shocked at what comes to the top of your mind.

[12:17] And here’s what I want to offer to all of you, every single one of us, I will go on and on 100% of us have been in a situation where our best laid plans or our week calendar, whatever, it gets completely blown out of the water, completely blown out of the water. We’ve all been there. And guess what? We’ve all figured it out. So this exercise is about going in and doing it intentionally. How do you reverse engineer this to make it that day off, that Friday off, possible as an example, without the crisis. That’s what this is. And I promise you, you can do it. So I want you to sit down. And I want you to think about it. If you’re listening to this podcast, and you’re working along with us, pause it, right, you decided to take this time out of the office as part of your business plan. And now you’re going to logistically start playing with your calendar and your responsibilities. And you’re going to shift them around. So pause this and do it and then come back.

[13:16] If you’re somebody who’s just listening, you know, on the fly, go back in to pause it later. It’s so important to get in there and start reverse engineering, right, you’ve got the end in mind, Friday off, now you’re reverse engineering. Okay. Then the next part of it is once you start to see how that’s coming together, one of the fastest ways to buy into “why am I doing this?” is to decide what you’re going to do with this time. Okay? And I really want you to think into this. Why do you want this time out of the office? What is it going to create for you? Why is this one of the best things that could ever happen to your business? Why is this going to make you better for all of your clients? Why is it going to make you better for your team? Why is it going to make you better for your colleagues? Why is it going to make you better for your family, your friends, your loved ones? Why is this the best business decision that you have ever made? I want you to really think about this. I want you to dial into that why? There is a reason you’re being called to this. Why is this a good idea? And then one step forward is what are you going to do with that time? That’s going to benefit you and your business in all the ways that I just talked about, right? What are you going to do with it?

[14:55] One of the best things I ever did with my calendar and my time was to never have whitespace without an intention. So whenever there’s time on my calendar, it has a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to have nothing specific scheduled in that time. So if, for instance, if it was a Friday morning, and I didn’t have something specific in there, the intention of that time was to have that free space, like, I am going to wake up, and I’m going to be able to do whatever my spirit moves me to do between nine and 11. That means if I feel like going to breakfast with my neighbor, if I feel like doing some administrative work that I did in my business, if I feel like going for a run, whatever it is, I can do it. But it is still clear, there is an intention that I have this uninhibited space. Putting that intention behind that time, is so powerful, I cannot tell you. And when you create that decision, and you make that decision around that intention, that is connected to the “Why are you doing this in the first place”, it will blow your mind. Because now you’re not just creating this random space, you’re creating it in a very intentional way that fills you up, that is connected to your why and the things that are important to you, and ultimately connected to the goals that you have both for your business and your life. And it makes this time out of office, one of the most quote unquote productive pieces of your business.

[16:38] Sidenote, as well, I used to berate myself for having this quote unquote, non-work time. Meaning if I was not sitting in front of my computer, I would think and I would tell myself the story about how I wasn’t working. One of my incredible coaches, Susan Robertson, who was one of the first life coaches I ever worked with, she’s amazing. She actually was a runner, just like I was, and I still do run now. But I was a big-time runner then. And so was she and she shared with me one day about how she used to have the same struggle where it would either be, you know, this conversation in her head of either I’m going to be working or running. And in the discussion, what she shared with me, and what I discovered, was that when I am in these intentional out of office moments, I have so much magic that transpires, so much marinating and ideas and thoughts that come to the surface. And she had experienced this as well. And so what she started to tell herself, and what I adopted because I love it, is she started to tell herself instead of it either you’re going to be working like sitting in front of your computer, or running, she started telling herself, I’m going to go do my best work on my run.

[18:05] And so I started to adopt that too. So when I go and do these things in this out of office time, it has become some of the most magical, powerful, clear, amazingly impactful pieces of my business. Because I too now go and do my best work on my runs. I am out there thinking about my clients, thinking about their businesses, thinking about my own business, dreaming about what it is I want, thinking about all of you and the podcast episodes that I want to talk about, and what’s filling me up. And then all of that is able to sort of be downloaded. And then I come back into my business with so much more clarity, and so much more focus. And here’s the best part, I’ve had this chance to kind of like work it out in my brain. So it saves me so much time and effort because I can see clearly exactly what I need to do, and exactly what I do not need to do. And so it cuts out all that other stuff that I probably would have spent a lot of time you know, in the doing and churning because I’ve had a chance to process all of this information and all of these ideas in this beautiful out of office time. And it has changed the trajectory of my business. So I want to offer to all of you that when you go and you create this intention and you get clear about what you need in that space, that what you’re actually doing is you are creating a sort of this magical space for you to let all of that goodness and all of that wisdom, download in a way that you’re able to process and then move back into your business in a more efficient and productive way. It is pure gold. It really is. So going out and creating that intention, creating why you want to do it so that you can really get clear on that.

[20:04] The next part is the communication part. It’s once you start to see what you want, and then you start to dream and scheme around that time again, for this example we’ve used, you know, you want to take the Friday’s off now you tried to dream and scheme around the logistics of that you started to move everything, you started to think about why do you actually want to be doing this? And what do you want to do at that time? The next part is the communication part. So when I first started my business, I thought I needed to be available and around and kind of sitting at my desk with an open calendar all the time for my clients all the time. I thought if I was not available at any moment, it would be a disservice to them, it would decrease the value that I gave them. And what I realized is actually, that was a disservice to them. Because more time does not necessarily mean better outcomes. And it doesn’t mean a better business for you. This is how we get in trouble as entrepreneurs as we’re growing and growing is that we think we have to be we are the business, right? We have to be chained to our business. But I’m here to tell you that actually the constraint, and most importantly, the communication around it, so that people understand what to expect, and that you have worked in a way that your clients can get what they need, but so can you and you can structure in a way and explain to people, you know, what that looks like and how that’s constructed and how they can get time with you and all the pieces. That communication is really, really powerful.

[21:37] I also want to offer that when you go through the process of thinking about why this is going to be better for your clients, why it’s going to be better for you, what opportunities are you actually giving them because you’re changing how your business structure is set up. And also, you’re allowing for those boundaries. And that really more clarity around your business, the more powerful it is, and the more people know what to expect can maneuver around that. And frankly, for most people, again, they’re trying to do that same thing, and then seeing you do it. And understanding how it’s possible, is such a win win for everybody. But that communication is really important. So as you’re setting this up, and as you’re putting the pieces together, having a clear communication plan around that, who needs to know what things need to be updated. If there’s assets or automations, or things in your business, your calendar links, all of those things, how can you streamline that so that it’s easy for your clients to understand and absorb. I am not a big fan of like just dropping things on people or, you know, Okay, tomorrow, everything’s going to be different. I feel like that feels very strange to people. And most people don’t love change in that way. So you know, have a ramp up period and, and make it clear and have those communication that if people need to talk to you about something, or if you need to move something around, you know, find a way to do that in a way that is beneficial to both people. I will tell you 100% of the time, I have worked this out in my business, and I have worked it out with my clients. And most of the time, it’s not even a blip on the radar, you know, as long as people can get what they want, and you let people know what is available and how it’s beneficial for them. And all those things, it ends up working out really, really well. So having a communication plan is really, really important. And setting those boundaries and having that clarity and having your systems updated. And all that stuff just makes it super easy.

[23:35] And if you have something coming up, like if you want to do, you know a considerable amount of time out of the office, let’s say in the summertime, or, you know, you’re gonna do every Friday going forward, that you’re not going to be in the office, you want to just make sure you can, you know, give people that notice and make it clear and then just move through that in a very smooth way. I will tell you like nine times out of ten it’s a non-issue. And people are, they’re happy that he’s happy to see that you’re doing what you want. And as long as it works for them, you know, and it’s something that’s agreed upon, it ends up being great for everybody. So communicate, communicate, and I would even argue over communicate, I almost feel like you can’t communicate enough.

[24:16] And then the last piece that is I would say equally, if not more important than the other pieces, is you really want to manage your mind drama around this. So you know all the pieces that we talked about here on the podcast today. I think for all of you listening, you’re running a great business, you are a CEO, you are a leader. These are not hard things, right to figure out what you want and the time that you want to have out of office to figure out logistically or to work with someone if you have a coach or a mentor. You know, if you can’t look at your own schedule and logistics and move that around, you could always get support, no understanding what you want to do with that time. Once you have that communicating, I mean, these are not hard things. The hardest part with this type of change comes in our brain. Because we come to the table as entrepreneurs, and as our business grows, and there’s more responsibility and more people and a bigger team, and you know, you know all those pieces, we end up coming with a lot of preconceived ideas of how it has to be.

[25:26] And as I mentioned earlier, a lot of times, it’s not that we don’t know what we want, or that we can’t necessarily see it, it’s that there’s all these beliefs in there that are keeping us from giving ourselves permission to do it. And so even as we move through it, all these things come up to the surface, you start to watch what you think about, you know, what your clients are going to think or what you think about what other people will think, or maybe the amount of money you might be able to make, or what if somebody gets angry or disagrees with you. All these things start to bubble to the surface. So it is really important that you have your own back, that you set up a system to really be there for yourself when your brain starts to run away with you. It’s easy to kind of think these things up and maybe even go through all of these steps. But when the rubber hits the road, when something doesn’t quite work on the calendar, or somebody doesn’t like it, or somebody else tells you you’re being greedy with your time, how are you going to move through those things, so it doesn’t derail your best laid plans? And it doesn’t derail what you ultimately know and want and believe will be better for you and your business and your clients? How do you navigate that in a way that keeps you moving toward your goals.

[26:50] This also includes having grace, this also includes it not being exactly the way that you want it to be 100% of the time. As I mentioned earlier, you know, for me and my business, I am someone who does take Fridays as an out of office day, there are times this week will be one of them, where I am choosing to do certain things on that Friday, because of my responsibilities and my goals and the things that I have, for example, coming up in the next week with my retreat. So it doesn’t mean I’m failing, and I don’t let my brain go like, Oh Fridays, you’re out of office day, you can’t be doing that. Like I get to choose. And in this situation, I’m going to choose to do some work on that day, very intentionally. I’ve also had times where I’ve had clients where things have come up in their schedule, or things have come up and mine were Friday, a Friday call just makes sense. And it’s okay for me to do that one off. It’s okay for me to do that as long as it’s also not getting in the way of my other goals or responsibilities or things that I have planned for that time. So being able to support ourselves, being able to have our own backs, being able to enlist support of people that could help us if we kind of are trying to navigate these murky waters, they know what our goals are, they know what our dreams are, and they’re there to help keep us on that path is really important to making it happen.

[28:16] And sometimes it’s the most important part because our brains are a powerful, powerful thing. And they can really drag us all the way around. But if you’re someone who wants to create a business that allows for the space, do it in an intentional way, showing up as the business owner that you want to be knowing that some of the things that you want to create in the bigger impact requires this different kind of management of time within your business. How do you need to show up in the space? Who do you need to be? What kind of guardrails do you need to have in order to make that happen? And all of that stuff starts in our head, mindset is a huge part of this journey. And I will argue that it gets even more important as we grow because things shift and change, and we’re responsible for a lot more things. And that emotional, you know, savviness, and that emotional constraint in a way, and mastering our mindset around our business is really, really, really important.

[29:23] So, just to summarize, number one is, get clear on what you want. What time out of office, do you want the universe like specifics get clear. Once you figure that out, then you need to figure out how to make that happen.

[29:40] So again, what are those logistics on how to actually take that time out of the office? Start dreaming and scheming around that what does that look like?

[29:48] Third is Why do you want to do this? Why is this a good idea? Right? Why is this time out of the office? One of the most powerful parts of your business plan, right? What Do you want that for? And what are you going to do with that time? Now that you’ve got it be really, really clear.

[30:07] Number four is Communicate, communicate, communicate, how are you going to communicate to the people in your business, your team, your, you know, other business partners, your clients, really flushing out the communication plan and knowing exactly how to let people know about it, no surprises, you know, get centered and clear around that, so that you can communicate it really clearly and smoothly.

[30:31] And then fifth, but last but not least, you need to manage your mind in order to be a business owner that owns their time, and takes that time out of the office as part of their business plan, not as an afterthought or a side note. You need to show up as the person who owns that, who’s going to set those guardrails, who’s going to elicit that support, who’s going to call in the cavalry that is needed to help you stay on your path to taking this out of office time. And let me tell you, almost 100% of the people that I talked to want that time, they believe it’s good, but their brain is not. It’s just not letting them go there. There’s a lot of peer pressure around it, there’s a lot of things that we see that kind of create all these beliefs in us. And we’re just not letting ourselves do it. And so breaking those patterns is really, really important. And I would say it’s one of the greatest things that’s standing in the way of everything that you want. So making sure that you have you know that dialed in, so you have what you need.

[31:34] So as you move through this, really take the time to go through all these steps. I want you to know that everything you want in your business is on the other side of intentionally creating it and owning your time. You cannot give 150% of your time to your business all the time, every day, every week, every month, and expect it to create what you what you want it to. If you are not able to take some of this out of office time to do these quote unquote unconventional things to allow your business to thrive, the more intentional you are with this out of office time, the more money you will create, the more impact you will have and the happier your client will be. I am telling you and I cannot wait to hear all about it. Until next week, everyone have an amazing week.