The Best Thing You Can Do For You and Your Business: Take a Free Day

By Jessica Fialkovich | @jfialkovich

Recently one of my entrepreneur friends brought a concept to me that was life-changing; she called it a Free Day. What is a Free Day, you ask? It is pretty simple: it is an advanced-schedule day free from all work. It can be a weekday, weekend, whatever you choose. The point is simply to schedule time away from work. Sounds easy, right? Well, as I found on my first attempt, it is a lot harder than it seems.

Before we dive into my failed attempt at a Free Day, there are just a few more rules.

Free Day Overview 

On a Free Day you cannot:

  • Talk about business to anyone

  • Check email, social media, calendars, or anything that could potentially bombard you with a business message

  • Brainstorm, strategize, talk, or even think about your current business (or new business ideas)

  • Read business books, listen to business podcasts, watch business shows or movies

  • Moreover, you have to do all of this for a full 24 hours

So yeah, a little more challenging than it seems.

I decided to attempt my first Free Day last month, on a Sunday because I am crazy like that. Luckily I was blessed with a beautiful Colorado day. I lined up a hike with a girlfriend and started off on a high note. Mistake number one: taking a hike with someone I do business with. I think I shh’d her the entire way down. After the hike (which took all of three hours), we grabbed lunch and chatted about sports I do not follow, television shows I do not watch, and pop culture themes completely foreign to me. I learned more in an hour than I had in a whole week. Did you know Ben & Lauren (from The Bachelor) broke up? I am sure you did because the whole world knew before me.

And then I crashed.

After four hours, I used up all the non-business activities I had in the back pocket of my hiking shorts. I love to read, but I read business books. I love documentaries, but mostly ones that are business based. Most of my friends I know through work, charity, and organizations affiliated with my work. After six hours I caved and started babbling like a crazy person to my husband about a new business idea for dog hats (it is eye-opening what a little isolation can do to a person).

I utterly failed.

Try, Try Again 

However, the next week I tried again. I came in prepared--a minute-by-minute plan for the whole day. I succeeded. Moreover, the day after I felt more refreshed and productive than I had in months. I was on fire for a week. I now saw the point of this Free Day. To rest your mind, like a trained fighter rests her body to come back badder and stronger than ever. I realized this Free Day stuff was exactly like marathon training. You cannot physically run every day, not even a little bit. A day off is a full day off, not a day where you go run 100-yard sprints. Tackling business and running a business is not any less of a challenge than a marathon, and our minds--and bodies--need recovery time.

Overwork can cause serious health risks such as cardiovascular diseases, increased addiction problems, unhealthy weight gain, and--specifically in women--a higher risk of depression. The fact that I, and most, struggle with this concept of Free Day is a warning sign. A flashing red light that we have to let our foot off the pedal and relax. I mean, we live in Colorado! We do not have to worry about the dreary weather of the Northeast. We can get out and play, enjoy the mountains, take in the arts, and connect with people (because people are damn friendly here).

If you are feeling overworked, tired, and maybe even a little blue, I challenge you to a Free Day (it is even ok if it is a Sunday--this Sunday!). Tweet me the day you’ve selected as your Free Day (@jfialkovich), and I will hold you accountable, because this weekly day may be just the health break we all need.