When you’re a driven, focused entrepreneur, unplugging can seem out of the question. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a rest just like everyone else.
Here in North America, our culture doesn’t place a high value on leisure time. In fact, when it comes to the amount of paid vacation time workers are entitled to, Canada ranks third to last in the world, after Japan and the United States. Expedia.ca found that close to 31 million of the vacation days Canadian workers earn every year go unused — that’s three days per person.
Your business won’t fall apart if you take a little time off. In fact, recharging actually helps. Consider some of the benefits of taking a break:
Find fresh inspiration and renewed drive.
When you’re burned out, you’re just going through the motions at work. You’re tired, stuck and stressed. Simply removing yourself from your usual environment and routine gives you a new perspective, both literally and figuratively. When you give your mind a rest, it becomes a more fertile ground for creativity, which allows you to work out problems and generate new ideas.
Allow employees to shine.
If you’re always at the office, whether physically or connected electronically, you’re depriving your employees of a critical growth opportunity. They can’t step up and be leaders if you are always there to put out the fires, so it’s important to go offline (temporarily, at least) and make it clear that they need to be autonomous while you’re away. Also, by taking time off, you’re setting a healthy example for your staff by showing them you think it’s important to reset and recharge.
Set and reach goals faster.
If you’re someone who needs to feel like you’ve “earned” your time off, create a goal, give yourself a deadline — and make the incentive pretty good. It’s easy to get caught up in the larger goal of keeping a business running. But it can also be helpful to focus on short-term, attainable goals with appealing rewards.
Of course, even when you know why you should take a break, it can still difficult to follow through.
Stress-free ways to take a vacation
Ease into it: If you’re connected to your business 24/7 and haven’t vacationed in years, it’s probably not a great idea to start with a two-week trip to an exotic destination with no Wi-Fi. Instead, start by taking a few hours off to get a massage or do something equally relaxing. As you get more comfortable stepping away for short periods of time, you’ll feel more confident about taking a few days or even a week off.
Schedule a time to check in: It’s not always possible to unplug completely, so if you know there will be issues you need to address while you’re away, set aside an hour or so each day to check email and take phone calls.
Make it a habit: Taking a vacation shouldn’t be a source of stress. If you’re doing it right, taking time off should rejuvenate you and prompt more trips, staycations, and mini-breaks. So start scheduling a vacation annually (preferably more frequently) and consider it a meeting that you absolutely cannot miss.