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Everyone Benefits From Free Days: Backstage Pass With Charlene Proctor

As a Strategic Coach Program Advisor, I speak to entrepreneurs every quarter between their workshops. I call myself “Strategic Coach 9-1-1,” because I’m there for clients whenever the wheels fall off and things go awry.

One of the biggest challenges that comes up for high-level entrepreneurs is striking a balance between having a personal life and growing a business. I’ve worked on this with hundreds of my clients and their teams, and I’ve had to find this balance in my own career as well.

Are you creative or reactive?

In the past, I’ve worked for other companies where they didn’t get the idea of Free Days—taking regular breaks away from your work life. Their philosophy was “nose to the grindstone,” and you gained respect from the powers that be for working longer and harder. They frowned on you if your life didn’t come a distant second to your work.

At Strategic Coach, we have a different model: What matters isn’t how many hours you put in, but the results you produce—and you can’t get those results in just any frame of mind.

When you’re refreshed, energized, and productive, we say you’re in “The Creative Zone.” No human being can keep working in that zone indefinitely—even if you’re doing something you love. As your energy is depleted, you slide into what we call “The Reactive Zone,” where your communication skills diminish along with your ability to think and solve problems.

How to get back into The Creative Zone.

Since learning about this concept, I’ve been able to notice when I’m starting to lag, when I’m not being effective anymore. I know I’m in The Reactive Zone and that I need to get myself out of there. The only way to do that is to grab a Free Day—just like I’d advise an entrepreneur to do.

Going to a spa and getting a massage always works for me! I come back to my work with my batteries recharged, more powerful and productive than I was to begin with. I’m sure you have some activities that do this for you too.

I can feel pure enjoyment about what I’m doing when I know there’s an overall balance in my life. I love what I do, and I also love what I do outside of work, so having a good balance between these things keeps me healthy. And it’s in the company’s interest for me to stay in that place.

Free Days create a healthy culture.

I encourage entrepreneurs to share the Free Day philosophy with their team members. When everyone in the organization uses the same language and strategies for their time, being refreshed and productive becomes normal. They’re going to enjoy what they’re doing more, and there’s going to be more excitement around the office. They won’t feel like captives to their job, and they won’t be burnt-out and suffering from stress-related health problems. Instead, they’ll be taking a holistic approach in which their work is just another aspect of how they use their mind, body, and spirit in their lives.

Entrepreneurs who promote Free Days with their team members will create a happier, healthier, more prosperous work environment, and this in turn will contribute enormously to their company’s success.