August 15, 2012
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartWe’ve had many business owners and managers engage in the Prosperity Partners Program searching for a work/life balance. It’s a part of the concept upon which the program was founded: “Build a prosperous, profitable business and gain prosperity on all levels.” The challenge lies in actually walking the talk.

In my neck of the woods, my clients are primarily 45-plus, wealthy and engaging our services at the cottage (using the definition of cottage loosely). They are obviously prosperous — taking the summer, or most of it, to lounge on the dock. I used to have a big sigh of relief during the summer months, just knowing they’d be at the cottage mid-week, hence cutting down on the number of weekend (yes, both days) appointments I would need to work through. A summer holiday eluded me for 20 years in my business.

There’s A Choice

Of course, in our industry a summer holiday is a luxury for the prosperous. Isn’t it? Well, to be honest, no, it isn’t. It’s a choice. Just when you think you can’t afford to take time off — is when you most need to. The best use of your time that you could make this month is to take a brief break. If you’re like me, when your business is growing and you’re steering the ship, by August you are tired. And, I mean really, really tired. You’re tired of endless voice mail, and all the moving parts of your business flying at you at breakneck speed. You’re tired of problem solving, the endless list of overdue quotes, follow-ups, loose ends, planning ahead, adapting to weather and the whims of employees.

How could you possibly take time off? Isn’t it written somewhere in the owner/managers’ manual that when someone else decides to goof off, that you step up and catch all the balls? I’d like to suggest that’s actually a page out of the ‘slave-to-your-business’ manual. Chuck that one out and get a Prosperity perspective....

Best advice

My best advice to you is to figure out a way to take four work days off and tag it to a weekend. That can be either four days after a long weekend, or Thurs – Tuesday. Do it company-wide. Shut ‘er down across the board.  And let your customers know in advance that you are doing so. If you’re a grass cutter, you’ll have to keep a crew going — the energetic ones! At the very least, use August to give everyone, including you, a three-day weekend every week. If you’re in retail — try closing Mondays for a month.

If you can convince yourself to take a much-earned break, try going camping with your family, or whatever appeals to everyone before school starts. No kids? Catch-up on home projects. Visit friends out of town. Start reading a book from the stack you never have time to get to under the shade of a tree in a park. Remember, if you don’t do something different, you’ll always get what you’ve always had — a long, long work season with no time to decompress, de-stress, and reset your energy and passion.

And for PETE’S SAKE, turn off your electronic devices, and put an ‘out of office’ response on voicemail and email when you take your holiday. And, shut your electronic devices off every day.

I guarantee that if you try this out, your business won’t be bankrupt just because of a few days off, customers will understand that you’re taking a brief summer break with family, and your whole team will come back refreshed and ready for fall.

If staff grumble about the shortened hours, try this: split the difference with them — pay them for two of the four days off, and let them ‘owe’ you a couple of Saturdays in the fall when the weather is cooler and the days are shortening up. There will be no difference in their pay for the other two days if you were rained out, or they had the flu — would there? Yes, the season is short and you have to make hay when the sun shines.... and you can make WAY more hay if you are not frazzled, exhausted and stressed out.

Vision for our members

Prosperity goes beyond profit. Our past president Bob Tubby, founder and mentor of the Prosperity Program, had a vision for our members – for YOU – to be more prosperous. His vision included your work/life balance.

Taking a break mid-season is the BEST use of your time. Think of the story of the tortoise and the hare...steady wins the race.

 A change of pace and routine will renew  your capacity to focus at work when you come back, to be effective — not to mention building memories with family and re-charging your inner-self. Refuel yourself. Take a break. Then thank me.
Jacki Hart may be contacted at