Take your time off

It’s December and all things holiday have flooded the shops and general atmosphere! It’s a time for

This article was originally published here on LinkedIn.

It’s December and all things holiday have flooded the shops and general atmosphere! It’s a time for fun and family and we all look forward to it every year – all of us except perhaps, small business owners.

I am a small business owner myself and I know that unless you sell a product or service that is holiday-related, this is the time of year when expenses increase and income goes down. Holiday season often does not feel like a holiday when you have your own business, the pressure is on to make as much money as you can in a short space of time – especially if you are just starting out. 

As small business owners we have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends, partly because it’s just part of an entrepreneur’s psychological make up, but mainly because we just simply have to. It’s not so much nature as it is simple survival need. I know and understand the fear that drives a small business owner to work through the holidays, this can be a very scary time for you. But that added stress is exactly why it so vital that you take time off to recharge.

Your body is a machine, and there isn’t a machine in existence that can run consistently without some form of maintenance. Your health, creativity and efficiency will be negatively impacted by a lack of care. Holidays are R&M time for your brain and body, and you need to take them as seriously as you take your business strategy.

Here are six benefits that should convince you to take holiday time seriously:

1. Mental clarity – if you keep pushing too hard you exhaust your brain. Your thoughts will be fuzzy, your creativity will die and your ability to cope with life just diminishes. Without rest, these things get worse, whereas just one single day of relaxing can help reset the brain.

2. Improved productivity – you may feel that you “can’t afford” time off, but when you begin to burn out even the simplest of tasks becomes challenging. We lose our passion and as mentioned in point one, our mental strength. Taking time off to recharge revitalises passion and focus and you will be able to achieve so much more after a break than you could before.

3. Better balance – Even if you love your work, if you are working more than you play you will begin to lose a sense of self. Taking time away from work gives you a chance to rekindle your joy, enjoy hobbies again and just enjoy life without constant busyness.

4. Improved focus – taking time off and away from work gives you a chance to refocus on your goals and regain perspective. We can very easily get bogged down in the details of running our business and lose sight of why we started it and what we hope to achieve. Giving your brain a break from the constant grind of work gives you a chance to refocus on your end goal and you will be amazed at how many great ideas you come back with.

5. Avoid burnout – mental and physical burnout is no joke. It happens more easily than you think and it is very difficult to come back from. When your stress levels reach the point that your body has depleted its resources and your entire body network is out of balance, it can take years to get back to the point where everything is fine again. And it can be avoided by taking regular holidays.

6. Better relationships – last, but most important. While you do need to focus on your business, you also need to work on your relationships with the important people in your life. As business owners it can become far too easy to neglect the people in our lives and we can end up taking their presence for granted. Time away from all things work means quality time with the people who mean the most to you – and who will be with you through success and through failure.

In other words, as contrary as it sounds taking time off is good for your business. You will come back healthier, happier and brimming with good ideas and purpose. You benefit, your family benefits and your business benefits. 

Do not fall for the lie that you cannot afford a holiday, the truth is that you cannot afford not to have one

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