With the average small business owner spending 70 – 80 hours per week on their business, it’s no small wonder that they either are unable or don’t know how to take time off and both scenarios can lead to a downfall, either of your business or your health and many times, both. Though most of us can’t say no to extra hours or opportunities, due to financial constraints, at some point, the decisions will be made for us, usually through failing health.
Though all work and no play can make you a dull boy – or girl – there are worse things in the world than being boring and one of those is being ill. Taking time off is a necessity and one that should be made a habit, not something that just happens at vacation time, for how many of us out there spend some time also working on the weekends? Signs of needing a break include low tolerance for things that normally wouldn’t bother you; fuzzy thinking where you were once on the ball. You no longer enjoy what you are doing and make more mistakes, are twice as exhausted, yet you can’t sleep.
For those of us with our own businesses or who work remotely the percentage working more than 5 days a week is astronomical. Unlike our friends, who may work the typical nine to five job, we are working a variety of hours around the clock, 7 days a week and though we may not always work straight 8 hour shifts, the ongoing schedule of working every day of the week leads to more stress and worsening health.
When a break is what you need you have to figure out how you are going to make it happen and not just this week, but every week so your body has time to relax and not think about work or other worries. If you are in charge of a business, it’s time to call in that virtual team. Though you may not think you can afford it, can you really afford not to? If you also have employees that work for you, this will involve more planning as they need to know who is in charge and what their extra duties may entail while you are away – calling you is out of the question.
Explain to your employees and your customers if you must, that you are more effective when you’re rested and that you will be back, better than ever. Once everyone gets used to your taking regular time off from your business, the easier they will accept it and the smoother the transition will be each time. Once you are back, start moving forward at a pace that is more comfortable for you. Not all steps have to be large steps. Understand what it is about yourself that makes you push forward when it’s actually to your detriment. Knowledge may not be everything but it’s a huge help.
And be easy on yourself. Everyone needs a break, even you. You don’t have to wear a flag that says you are a martyr to your business. With regular breaks, everyone will know better. They’ll realize you are a successful business person and a smart one, who knows when to take time off.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2014
image courtesy of angelinthenorth