It is easy as an entrepreneur to feel guilty when you are away from work. We live in a workaholic culture, where we take pride in how long and how hard we work. The success of our business depends on us, right? The more passionate you are about your business, the more you want to put into it to improve its chances of success. While this is normal, it is far from ideal. Laptops, mobile phones, and smartwatches keep us connected, and we are more accessible than ever for remote work. Hustle culture can, however, have a negative impact on many aspects of your life. It can also have less obvious negative repercussions for your business.
How’s your mood?
As soon as someone asks if you are happy or in a good mood, you may wonder if this is an attempted intervention. Mental health is not a joke, though, and as an entrepreneur or leader your mental health is always of concern. If you are frustrated, unhappy, or moody, this may affect your product, services or interaction with people. This is not a good look. From a branding perspective, you have to protect your business from negative energy. If that energy is coming from you, it is a great indicator that it is time to take some time off. How do you prevent this from reoccurring, though? Be proactive and recognize the risks of overworking and the impact it can have on your life and the same business you are trying to advance.
You may be familiar with the cliché “your health is your wealth” and struggle with the irony that your health doesn’t seem to put extra cash in your pocket. Unhealthy food seems cheaper and more convenient than healthier alternatives. Exercise sessions require an investment of time and effort that tests your discipline and perseverance. For anyone who is already pressed for time and cash, this may seem counter-productive. However, your health is your own personal intangible asset.
Living healthier does not have to be such a heavy burden. Yes, you may have to change routines and it may be uncomfortable at times. Nevertheless, you may actually find that you are more productive with less time to work due to lifestyle changes.
How to take time off to improve your health
- Regular exercise can improve your brain health and lower your risk of contracting other diseases (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023).
- A balanced diet can help with your digestive system and boost your immunity (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).
- Less worrying about unhealthy choices can help free up your thoughts to solve other problems.
Work-life balance and your family
Work-life balance is another huge concern for entrepreneurs and business people. How do you put in the extra work that is necessary to succeed and still spend enough time with your family? They will understand why you’re making these sacrifices, right?
Everyone’s family dynamics are different, but communication plays a huge part in balancing work and family responsibilities. Simply explaining why you have to work a lot usually won’t cut it. You also have to listen, empathize, and compromise. Most entrepreneurs work hard to make a better life for themselves and their family. It’s important to not lose your family on that journey.
How to take time off to improve work-life balance
- Having a regular cut-off time for work. As an entrepreneur, you may have to work irregular hours, but it is important to let your family know and be able to predict when you will be off the clock.
- Setting boundaries and expectations with coworkers and clients. It is important that the people you work with, and work for, also know when you are off the clock and when it is an inappropriate time to reach out to you.
- Setting light workload days can not only boost your productivity, but help you not get overwhelmed by work so you still have energy to do other things after work. Scheduling these strategically can help with planning other family activities.
- Doing things that are completely not work related. This may seem simple, but some people are consumed by work and are always problem-solving, even when not physically at work. Disconnecting from the daily work routine helps you to focus on other things, and more importantly, other people.
Beware of burnout
Burnout is real, and it can be deadly. Burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress” (HelpGuide.org, 2023). No matter how strong or energized you feel, mental and physical fatigue can creep up on you. Sometimes the effects are temporary, other times it can be lethal. Falling asleep at your computer is less dangerous than falling asleep while operating heavy machinery, but both can be a consequence of pushing yourself too hard.
How to take time off to avoid burnout
- Respecting your body’s cues – your body will usually let you know when it needs to recuperate. Too often we ignore these signs such as constant yawning or pains that are starting to creep up.
- Use time tracking software to help track how long you are working and when you need to take a break or call it a day.
- Disrupt your constant work cycle by taking time to do something you enjoy. Break the monotony and add some joy and excitement to your routine.
The pursuit of wealth and happiness is a great motivator, and many entrepreneurs devote a lot of time in trying to monetize their passions to achieve this. Time is one of your most valuable resources, so it is no surprise that you may be stingy with it. Nevertheless, a relentless work cycle is both unsustainable and ill-advised. You may make some progress at work but strain personal relationships and sacrifice your health for your goals. There is also the very real risk of burning out if you refuse to take some time off. Increase your chances of success by taking some time off and see how it benefits not just your mood, but also your productivity.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Benefits of Healthy Eating. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/resources-publications/benefits-of-healthy-eating.html
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023). Benefits of Physical Activity. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
HelpGuide.org. (2023, February). What is burnout? https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm