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Taking a Break

Sometimes you are so busy looking ahead, you don’t see where you have been.

When you give yourself permission to take a break from your routine, you may be surprised at what you see and feel.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself, and your business, is to take a break. You can plan a day of reflection once a quarter at the very least. I recommend that you review how you’re feeling, what you are accomplishing, and what you might be avoiding at least on a weekly basis.


When I started my consulting business, one of my first clients was Smith and Hawken. Paul Hawken, the founder, introduced me to a process that works for almost anyone, in any size business. The 5 – 15 Report is something he learned from his friend at Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. I see that Inc. ran a post about this fabulous tool and his new business venture. The beauty of the 5 – 15 report is brevity, holistic nature and the ease with which it can be completed and shared.

I’ve used this tool to create a 360 degree conversation with team members, staff members, coaching clients, mastermind members, and those people higher up on the food chain. I have used it to keep track of my own progress when I am working solo.

The “5” refers to the five minutes it takes to read the report. The “15” is how long in minutes it should take to compose your report. It’s a one-page document. A collection of 5 – 15 reports will reveal patterns, obstacles, and successes.

The reason I bring up the 5 – 15 report now is its value at providing an objective view of what is occurring.

 Feeling Stuck

I found myself feeling stuck and depressed. I was experiencing grief. These feelings showed up following a move to a new office. Initially I attributed my fatigue to the stress of moving. What I didn’t acknowledge at first was my sadness. It was as if I had lost someone near and dear to me, in fact I had given up my sense of security, familiarity, and ownership.

Make Lemonade

Sometimes life can hand you unexpected choices and opportunities. Change brings with it new ways of approaching life. As I continue to unpack, I am making choices about what to keep and what to throw away or give away. There are days when my energy flows freely and joyously, and then there are days when I feel sad, lost, and generally irritated.

 Pull Over When The Road Ahead Is Unclear

If you were driving and the weather suddenly made it difficult to see what was in front of you, you would pull over and wait until you could safely travel. Taking a break from things when times are difficult is like pulling over and waiting out a storm. Making a plan is one of the ways you can begin to regain control. Using a tool like the 5 – 15 Report is a useful way to measure results as well as make emotional observations.

Manage What You Can Measure

I highly recommend that you put the 5-15 into your schedule. 20 minutes total time per week can yield amazing results. Taking the time, just five minutes to write, and 15 minutes to read, each week. Some people make it the last thing they do before the weekend. If you work alone, start your week by reading the report you composed on Friday. Collect reports and over time you will see progress, how you are solving problems, and how you are moving forward.

 I Can See Clearly Now

Taking the time to observe yourself, your surroundings, and the way in which you approach your business will serve you well when you are planning for success.

Tell me how you measure what matters. I’d love to hear what works for you.

About Judy Baker

Judy Baker helps authors sell more books. She trains speakers to cultivate clients and grow their profits. Ms. Baker is a branding expert who builds brands, creates compelling conversations and memorable visuals. She transforms your passion into profits, one-step-at-a-time.