One of the key motivations to becoming self-employed is the ability to take a break whenever you want to and to spend time with your loved ones, pursuing hobbies and passions. But as the adage goes, entrepreneurs are those crazy people who work 100 hours a week for themselves, to avoid working forty hours a week for a boss.
Well, that’s absolutely right, and most of us simply work too hard. Today, we’re going to look at some of the basic reasons why it is important to take breaks, as often as possible. Think you can’t afford to? The truth is that you can’t afford NOT to.
Peace of Mind
One of the reasons entrepreneurs don’t take breaks is because we think the business will fall apart without us. Typically, this is not true.
Taking a break is an excellent opportunity to delegate tasks and to put structures in place that don’t require your attention 24/7. It also gives your staff an opportunity to step up to the plate and show their skills.
Allowing them the space in which to grow, enables you to take advantage of one of the most important benefits of being an entrepreneur. And if, for whatever reason you’re forced to be away from your business for an extended period, you can rest assured that your business is in good hands.
Taking a step back is one of the best ways to gain a fresh perspective.
When you’re on the front lines of your business on a daily basis, it is often hard to find solutions for challenges you may be facing.
Inspiration can hit you during a nice break away from the business and lead to new ideas, fresh thoughts, and amazing revelations about your business and ways in which you can improve it.
Feeling stuck in a rut? Take a break! It may sound counter-intuitive, but we dare you to take a break and see for yourself.
Rest can help you catch up on vital sleep, which boosts creativity and productivity. If you’re struggling to focus at work, you may be one of the 70% of people who lacks sufficient sleep. Some of the most prolific people in history were known to enjoy regular naps:
- Leonardo da Vinci took several naps daily and spent less time sleeping at night.
- Eleanor Roosevelt used to nap before speaking engagements to boost her energy.
- John F. Kennedy enjoyed lunch in bed before settling in for his daily nap.
Opportunity to Reboot and Refresh
Combine that with poor sleep, and you will find that your productivity levels are not where they need to be. However, a break from work can help give you the rest your body and mind need to function at its full capacity
According to Calculating Loss of Productivity Due to Overtime Using Published Charts – Fact or Fiction,
“Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.”
Set an Example
As a business owner, you are responsible for creating a healthy company culture.
Believe it or not, being at your desk when the first staffer arrives, and long after the last one has left, creates an unhealthy culture. Staff members will feel like they’re unable to take time off, and this will affect their productivity and work satisfaction. When you look at the list of the 100 best companies to work for, you will notice that a good work-life balance is a common thread throughout the various companies.
While planning your much-deserved break, you may come across ways in which you can automate repetitive tasks in your business by making use of automation software, thus increasing productivity both when you’re away on break and when you’re back in the office again.
Remember: Time = Money!
Good for Relationships
Most often, entrepreneurs put everything (including their families) on hold to get the business off the ground.
As the business grows, there are always new milestones to reach and thus no time for family and friends. There’s never a “perfect” time to take off but do it nevertheless. By planning in advance, you can help your employees plan for your absence. Taking a break will help strengthen family ties while giving you much-needed rest and revived vigor.
Overworking Leads to Weight Gain
We have all read the recent research about the dangers of sitting for more than six hours a day. But, think about your diet and activity levels when you work long hours. Cortisol, a stress hormone, will build up in your body due to prolonged exposure to stress, causing you to gain weight around your abdominal area.
Working long hours often mean that you don’t have time to exercise or to prepare proper meals, thus causing weight gain.
How to Take Breaks
Now that you know why you should take a break, let’s discuss the “how to” in more detail.
Plan ahead: Start planning at least a month in advance. Since you really shouldn’t spend all your time away from the office on your laptop, you should find ways to automate business, or get someone to run the day-to-day inquiries. Set up your blog posts and email marketing in advance and put an autoresponder on your email.
Retire the perfectionist in you: Research has found that even professors are tripped up by perfectionism. There is a clear correlation between high levels of perfectionism and decreased productivity. Now is a perfect moment to embrace it!
Start saying “no”: The Pareto Principle states that 20% of the effort produces 80% of the result. However, 20% of the result consumes 80 of the effort. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the efforts that bring the most results, and that will give you more time to focus on what’s important. Before saying yes to something, first, find out if it is worth your time. “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet.
Set strict work hours: Instead of trying to work non-stop, use a schedule and set work hours. You are your own boss, so you should be flexible enough to put in a few extra hours when you’re on a strict deadline, but for the most part, adhere to your set work hours.
Make hobbies a part of your routine: Passions and hobbies are excellent for stress relief, and it stimulates creative thinking. Make time for your hobbies, at least once a week.
Working shorter hours will already go a long way to enhancing your own health and that of your business, but a proper vacation or even the odd weekend away will do you the world of good. As your company’s most valuable asset, you must invest in yourself. Just as you maintain your building and your equipment, a vacation is an investment in your business. Maintain the investment with regular rest, a good diet, and regular exercise.