Productive Relaxation

March 18th, 2009 by | Print



Is your reality a crushing mix of bad economic news with feelings of helplessness, insecurity and a desperate need to find the answers for a safe navigation of the current recession? The pressure is a shot of adrenaline – cramming for the big test and hoping for a passing grade.


When you crammed for an exam in school, you had a compacted, defined time frame to soak up as much knowledge about a subject with predetermined questions and answers. There wasn’t the long drawn out drama that exists with the current economy. Not only do we not know when the final exam will take place, we aren’t confident that we’ve discovered all the correct questions yet.


So you put your proverbial nose to the grindstone because it is in your entrepreneurial DNA. Are you gambling on the belief that your passion and your work ethic will carry you through? The head down and heart in the game approach can keep you pushing against obstacles instead of learning ways to navigate around them. Success isn’t an anaerobic exercise. You need to remember to breathe to succeed. Breathing is time taken away from working, but it doesn’t need to be wasted. Inspiration comes from productive relaxation.


Your brain and batteries (both emotional and physical) need a break to recharge. However, what separates the Type A achiever from the average entrepreneur is the ability to gain knowledge and inspiration while taking a break from business.


As I’ve mentioned before I own a restaurant – a fine dining establishment. As part of my strategy to success, I check out the competition from time to time. This is not relaxation, it is pure business. My senses are heightened with specific goals and objectives to compare the experience that the competition offers as to that of my own establishment. However, when I travel, I dine out. I can enjoy the time with family and friends at a local eatery and keep my receptors turned on. My priority is enjoying my time with my dining companions, but I am still open to the experience that I have as a diner, too.


You can partake in productive relaxation outside of your own business, as well. As a matter of fact, your time relaxing will be best spent outside of your own industry. It is easier to relax when you aren’t reminded of your work. Plus, Inspiration that comes from learning within your industry typically leads to evolutionary ideas, while experiences outside of your business inspire revolutionary growth.


This week is Spring Break for my kids. My son just turned 6 years old so we are taking the week off to enjoy time with family and friends in California and a day at Disneyland. I can’t say that I expect any fine dining experiences (but I will pay fine dining prices). So I am not making this a business trip with a priority to analyze new ideas in dining excellence, but I will be open to inspiration from Disney’s mastery of marketing, branding, customer care and value proposition – all while relaxing with my family. I can accomplish this by putting the priority on my family instead of making it a fact finding business trip.


My skills of business observation have become second nature. I read, “The Medici Effect” by Frans Johansson. It helped me learn how to gain inspiration from any situation. I coupled this knowledge with the ability to set the proper priority when relaxing. So instead of taking my work with me, I allow myself the priority of relaxing while gaining the productivity of inspiration – supercharging my batteries by returning to work with new ideas and not simply putting my nose back to the grindstone.


All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


2 Responses to “Productive Relaxation”

  1. Cindy Petersiel Says:

    Great point! It is essential to the success of our businesses to take a break on a regular basis. Thanks for the reminder.

    Another way to use Productive Relaxation: When faced with a decision or problem, determine what it is you need to know or what outcome you want, then walk away and relax. It’s likely that some answers will spontaneously come to you while your mind isn’t racing ninety-to-nothing.

    Hope you had a great spring break and thanks again for the reminder!
    Cindy Petersiel

  2. Douglas Dolan Says:


    Great comment. I agree. Often before I take time to relax or go away on vacation, I think about a particular issue that I am having with my business and stay open to inspiration fro a solution without obsessing about it. Great ideas come through taking time away from the daily grind. However, there is a difference between productive relaxation and procrastination.

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