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a blog by Chris Barrow

Friday as a free day

You’ll notice over to the right and under “Websites” Kim Black has added a link to the archive of my ezines – so if you haven’t read enough of my scribbles, you can immerse yourself in the last 12 months of business and personal reflections by looking there! One of my objectives for many years now has been to take 12 weeks vacation every year (which I have managed to do in 8 of the last 10 years) and also to work a 4-day week in each of the 40 weeks I work. However, the 4-day week is subject to two conditions being met:

  1. the business is thriving and healthy and

  2. market conditions are normal

This year, neither of those conditions was in evidence:

  1. in January my business manager gave me three months notice of her intention to move forward in life and

  2. in April the conditions in UK dentistry changed in a way that forced many dentists to look at offering private treatment options and, thus, seek out the services of a business coach

So since 1st February, my business has been on red-alert. I have rebuilt and added to my support team and we have channelled much of our activity into lead generation and lead conversion – making hay whilst the sun is shining you might say. I checked my calendar this morning – in the last 12 weeks I have taken 1 – just 1 – Friday as a free day. I have been working a minimum 5-day week and some have been 6 days as I have attended Saturday conferences as a guest speaker. That’s one of the reasons that I find myself exhausted. So I’m happy to say that July and August are months in which I can “catch up” – with sleep, rest, nutrition and exercise – and these 4 activities are going to become my focus for the next 2 months. Looking ahead, in the 8 weeks between now and 1st September I will be taking 7 free Fridays (which means a 3-day weekend) and I also plan for 3 of those 8 weeks to be pure vacation – not necessarily travel/holiday but absolute rest. The focus on sleep begins now – my normal work routine is a 5.45 am alarm call and I will maintain that on the working days but finish earlier in the evening and get to bed sooner (I’ve been known to work 12 to 15-hour shifts on working days). The focus on nutrition began earlier this week, with a careful eye on the quality and quantity of my consumption. The focus on exercise is long overdue. This 14-marathon runner hasn’t trained since February (that’s one of the habits that went out of the window when the proverbial hit the fan) and my body has regressed considerably. I’m suffering from a lot of niggling injuries that weren’t present for years – aching hip joint (diagnosed as the effect of a couple of twisted vertabrae), a painful knee (IT band) and a general recovery from 18-months of sel-inflicted cigarette smoking (its been a month now since I packed them in). I have work to do on this – or should I refrain from calling it “work” and just say to myself that these summer months will be about getting myself in shape again and enjoying the experience? Oh – today is the first of those free days – so what the hell am I doing writing this blog? Because it’s definitely not work – its fun. I have been journalling since August 1987 and it has become an integral part of my life – somewhere in storage there are hand-written journals covering 1987 to about 1998 – goodness knows who would ever read them – but that’s not the point. They have been my catharsis for 20 years now – I can write (or now type) and release my emotions. The sun is shining outside – I’m going to go and read some more of my current book “Istanbul – memoirs of a city” and then get some fresh air.

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