Over the years, I can’t tell you how many small and medium-sized business owners I have talked to that have not taken any vacation time. They consider a vacation a luxury that they can’t afford. Arguments include “I don’t have time!” “The business can’t function without me!” “When I get back the work is piled up and I just have to work that much harder.” I’ll argue that vacation or time away from work is essential for these 3 reasons:
1. Prevents burnout. Do you ever feel fed up, stressed and impatient with your team, customers and life? This is a sure sign that you are headed to burnout. Taking time away to regenerate allows you to come back refreshed with more patience and enthusiasm. Your batteries become recharged. Stepping back from the business gives you a new perspective, improves creativity and brings fresh ideas and clarity of focus.
2. Develops Your Team. When you are away, it allows your team the opportunity to step up, to grow, and to be challenged to take on new responsibilities. It builds morale with your team because they feel that you trust them while you are away. It is also a really good test to see how dependent your business really is on you. You may be surprised at just how much your team can look after while you away. And that’s a good thing!
3. Improves your health. A quick search on Google yields a number of articles about health studies that have shown that you can significantly lower the risk of heart attack by taking a vacation. While away from the business, take the time to go for a walk or get some sort of exercise, spend time with your family and do the things that you enjoy. Relaxing and de-stressing improves your health.
Often, when we hear the word “vacation”, we think of a destination away from our home. However, we often return from vacation more exhausted than when we left because we hurried out the door to catch the airplane, continued to work on our laptop and answer our cell phone while away, and returned to work the very next day after arriving home late at night. Schedule some time before and after a destination vacation to relax. Better yet, consider a staycation. I recognize that as a business owner, you may not be able to completely disconnect from your business, but be sure to limit when your business really needs to contact you. Ensure your time away is long enough and relaxing so that you feel energized and refreshed upon return of your vacation.
I challenge you to schedule a break from your business and invest in YOU. You will be a better for it. And so will your business.
(If you are reading this blog and thinking I really need a vacation but you are not sure how, then talk to me about how I took five weeks off.)