Do you think that you take enough breaks or holidays from your business?
I was talking to a client over the last few days, who has taken single digits, at the most, of days away from his business in the last 12 months.
He is feeling incredibly drained. He’s exhausted by it, but still thinking that the ability to actually get away for a few days is really challenging, and questioning whether the business can cope without him.
The ironic thing though is that the more we talked about it, the more he acknowledged the merits of a taking a break and recognized that it’s something he has to make happen. He even told me that all the best business decisions he has ever made have been made on the beach!
So, I thought I should talk more about the benefits of taking some time away from your business. Because I know that can feel spectacularly challenging when the whole pressure of that business is on your shoulders.
When you’re just not sure whether it’s going to keep running without you, or you’re not sure the money’s going to keep coming in, or you just feel like you have to be there. But these worries mean that a lot of people really miss the incredible benefits of taking time out of their business.
I think one of the reasons why this is so deeply instilled in me actually goes back to my time as a competitive athlete.
When I was competing every weekend, we would compete from early May right through to late September. By early to mid-September, we’d be starting to feel pretty drained. We were just about on the last dregs of energy by the end of September!
At that stage, the idea of going straight into the heavy grind of winter training was just horrendous.
So we would have three weeks of almost complete rest. We’d do a tiny little bit just to keep moving, but it was almost total rest for the full three weeks. And by the end of that, we were champing at the bit to get started again.
We were physically recharged; but more so than physical, the crucial thing about a break is the mental recharge that it gives you, so that you can deal with so much more of what’s in front of you.
So for me, there are three really key benefits to taking regular breaks out of your business.
1) Recharge your batteries
The ability to recharge your batteries is the most obvious benefit. When you run your own business, and you’re involved with it constantly, potentially 24/7, then very often the level of stress that you’re coping with with is far higher than you realise, because it’s just become the norm.
The weight of running a business can be seriously heavy.
So giving yourself that break and the ability to physically and mentally recharge and to actually offload some of that stress, is hugely important, because that’s what will give you the clarity you need to define exactly where you want to go with your business.
Which leads me very nicely onto benefit number 2
Regular breaks or holidays give you the ability to gain clarity, which can be incredibly difficult to find when you’re in the thick of your business every day.
While you’re right there at the heart of your business, there are constant demands on your time, on your attention, on your capacity.
While you’re spinning your usual 8 bazillion plates it can be near impossible to take a step back and set aside enough time to focus properly and think clearly enough, so that you have the clarity to make really good decisions.
By taking that physical step away from the business, it’s amazing how much more mental space it creates for you. That step away will change your viewpoint, so that you feel as though you’re almost looking down at your business from above, or you’re observing it from afar.
It means that you can find a real level of objectivity and clarity, that it’s near impossible to get while you’re absolutely in the thick of it.
One of the key things that level of clarity often does is shine a light on, for want of a better phrase, the crap that you just keep tolerating in your business.
That might be customers who constantly pay late, or are consistently over-demanding, or just don’t appreciate what you do. You know those awkward, niggling, nagging customers? But when you’re in the thick of it, that’s all just normal. You know they’re not great customers, but they pay eventually so it doesn’t feel like a big enough deal for you to do anything about it.
Whereas, when you put that distance between you and your business you will see all this far more clearly. It suddenly becomes incredibly obvious that that customer is wasting your time and draining your energy; and that you have to get rid of them and free up the time to work with much better customers.
The other things that I’ve seen my clients gain massive clarity on by taking a break are things like:
- Realising that some of their staff or some of their suppliers have become quite unreliable, and they’re no longer providing what it is that’s needed.
- Seeing clearly for the first time where they’re giving their time away far too cheaply, or giving your service away waaaay too cheaply!
It’s amazing just how many things like this can come to light when you’ve got that distance from your business.
So that’s my second point. Breaks or holidays give you real clarity and objectivity, so that you can make much better decisions. It’s a great way to help you see exactly where you want to take the business, to recognise what is working, but also to really see what isn’t working, so you can do something about it.
3) Proving that the world won’t end!
The third tip, which is very often underestimated, but can be a hugely enlightening moment, is the realisation that your business can cope without you for a few days.
If you’re stuck in that place, like so many other people I talk to, of thinking …
“I just don’t think I can take some time off. I’m not sure the business could cope. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’ll happen with the customers. I don’t know what’ll happen with the cashflow. And so on and so on and so on …”
When you bite the bullet and you take some time out, even if that is just a couple of days, the first time that you take a decent chunk of time out like that, you get the revelation that it can survive. It can be done, the business will not keel over if you’re not there every single hour of every single day!
And that in itself can be enormously liberating.
When you realise that all the stress and anxiety and the worry that you have to be constantly available or something terrible will happen; when you realise that that perception is not the truth, the relief that you feel will be immense.
And the best thing about that, is that it will give you the confidence to take a few more days off here and there so that you can feel better about your business and about your stress levels!
So, those are my three big tips about why I seriously recommend taking regular breaks from your business:
- Recharge your batteries, physically and mentally.
- Get some real objectivity and clarity about where you want to take your business, and about what’s not currently working that needs to change, and
- Recognise that your business can exist for a few days without you.
If you know that you really need to take some more breaks out of the business, but you still feel like you just don’t know how to make that work, then please get in touch, and I can help you make that happen in your business.
I would love to hear your comments and feedback about this blog. So please leave a comment below, or drop me an email with any more questions or feedback.