Every business owner is guilty of working too hard sometimes, if not most of the time. This is a thing we created, and we care for it. We want it to succeed. In fact, many of us NEED it to succeed or we're screwed in more ways that one.
But there are some very good reasons to take a break and give yourself some time off. Here are five that I could think of, but there are probably more.
1) Stepping Back Will Give You Oversight
There's a saying in China about an inventor who stays in his house all day and never goes outside. I forget what the exact translation was, but the meaning was that if you hide away and bury your nose in your work, you're likely to forget what the real world is like.
You are in charge. You need oversight. You need to predict the future, and make changes before they become critical. You can't do that if you're doing ‘busy work' for 80% of your day.
Take some time to pause, reflect on what you have accomplished (both for the day, and with regards to your business). See what you have done, plan what you need to do. Then get started. Imagine trying to get somewhere without looking at a roadmap every once in a while.
2) Recharge Your Batteries To Maintain Personal Energy Levels
Remember that you are the captain of the ship. You are Commander in Chief. If you are tired, your business will seem tired. Your employees will seem tired. Everything will run how you feel.
I know another story:
I can't remember which famous entrepreneur is was talking on daytime TV. He was telling the story of one of his managers having trouble directing the staff. So the entrepreneur, the head of the company, the #1 big boss, flew out to see what the problem was.
To make a long story short, when he walked in he immediately saw a dirty spot on the floor, got down on his knees, and cleaned it up with his handkerchief. The point was to show that he was not to “big” to do the dirty work himself, and the manager should lead by example.
Your personality, merits, and shortcomings will show up in your business somewhere. If it isn't in the books, it'll be in the customer experience. If you can maintain your personal energy levels successfully, you will find more time and energy to not just do what you want to get done in the world of business, but also in your personal life.
3) Burnout Kills
I'm all too familiar with this one. Going fast and hard for a long time is a recipe for burnout.
It's not a problem for a short period of time; working longer hours or taking smaller breaks can make you feel good about yourself, and allow you to catch up. But sustain this kind of activity for longer and you will surely see productivity fall off sharply.
I know this because I'm struggling with it right now. I can see hours and hours logged in front of the computer, but really, I'm not doing much. I am busy from some time in the morning when I wake up and start answering emails, to late at night when I'm trying to get the last of my work done.
Busy all day and get nothing done?
You're burned out. Take a break. Rethink your strategy. (Yes, I'll be taking a break shortly, as soon as I finish typing!)
4) You Are Not a Machine
There is a myth among the entrepreneur community that the only way to be successful in business is to kill yourself with lack of sleep.
Not literally of course, but killing yourself with work. We've all heard the stories of 16 hour day, skipping breakfast AND lunch, then being too stressed to eat at night. I've been there.
But you can't do it forever. You're going to break do at some time. Heck, even machines need to be turned off, oiled, updated, etc.
If I told you that a 15 minute break in the morning could make you more productive that last hour before lunch, would you do it? If I told you that feeding your brain and muscles would make them work better in crunch time? What if you knew that getting enough rest at night would make you happier, your work better, and probably help you grow your business and earn money faster?
I don't have the statistics to prove it, but I'm sure it's true. Come on! Are you really going to try to prove me wrong?
5) You Didn't Get Into Business To Be Tired, Overworked, Depressed, and Stressed
At least I didn't.
I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to work from home. I wanted to make my own schedule.
What were you're goals?
They most certainly were, “Work long hours, be stressed out every day, and feel like a failure.”
If you start losing sight of your goals, then it's time to pause, and reevaluate. You don't necessarily have to change anything, but at least you need to look and confirm with yourself that you can meet your original expectations on by taking the current path you're on. Sometimes all it takes is a little tweak here or there.
Remember why you started doing this. Write down your goal in a prominent place, and don't lose sight of it. It's easier to hit a target when you can see it.
(but just in case you don't have time – lol)
Taking a break doesn't mean you're quitting. It doesn't mean that you are weak or incapable of ‘hard work'.
Simply said, it's smart.
In fact, it could be a better way to increase efficiency and productivity. Planning for periodic rest periods should be baked into your business plan from day 1.
You'll be happier. You'll be healthier. Your business will thrive.