I’d love to know your initial response to that question.

Time Out? Did I do something? Am I being sent to the corner, or my room?
Time Out? Ooo…a little break. An afternoon off. Even better, a week or entire month.

How does that sound? Luxurious or irresponsible? Maybe impossible. I hear it all the time in coaching when someone clearly needs a break ~ “Oh, I can’t do that.” When it’s exactly the thing you can and must do. For your well-being, for those around you, and even for your productivity. There’s a beautiful paradox.

I used the be a Queen of Time Outs. Long summers reading and traveling. I remember reading those bulky Harry Potter books from a hammock, back in the days when summer = off. Now I have to plot, plan, and make myself check out.

Here are some tips from a recent coaching call with the Really Smart Scientists. This was the big theme of the call—every single one of them needed a break. It was June, and they all needed a nudge. I bet you do too.


  • Plan/schedule it/make it part of your protocol.
  • Give yourself full permission.
  • Do YOUR Time Out.
  • Get allies on board, as in immediate family and co-workers.
  • See how burn-out impacts planning, productivity, quality of life, everything.
  • Find ways over the activation barrier— things in your way of taking the Time Out.
  • Plan/activate during your clarity time— this is the time of day when your mind is clearest. Learn and leverage this to do your most important tasks.
  • Let go of what isn’t important.
  • Get the kids involved—delegate, ie: make a list, then have them pack.
  • Shift resources—ie: Uber instead of driving; deli or takeout instead of cooking.
  • Simplify where you can.
  • Know what’s non-negotiable, ie: vegetarian food.
  • It is worth it if I get what I need, let go of what I don’t need.
  • Getting horizontal = cortisol gets replaced = more energy. ie: SLEEP.
  • Sometimes we need an ice cream and TV binge.
  • Consider a spontaneous or unscheduled day that is NOT work.
  • Make it a true Time Out, not some half-assed kinda sorta fooling no one, even me.
  • Find the JOY.

So, as we enter the final days of summer, check in. Do you need a Time Out—long, short, whatever. Just listen.