There’s a common problem that entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders and managers run into—working too much. It seems that there is always more work to be done and tasks that need your attention. It’s easy to fall for the myth that if you just work a little harder or a little longer that things will fall into place. And you might think that when that happens, you’ll get your well-needed break. But it doesn’t work like that.
You need to prioritize breaks, vacations, and rests as a leader. You also need to help your team do the same. Here are a few reasons why this is so critical:
1. Burnout leads to reduced creativity
Creative thinking is part of your role as a leader. You’re constantly faced with situations that you need to get creative about finding the solutions to. When you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and pushing yourself to the max, this becomes harder to do.
It becomes difficult to brainstorm on ideas. It feels impossible to think of a things in a new way. Your creative juice is gone. This will keep you and your team stuck.
2. Improves your health
Rest and sleep play an important role in helping your immune system. If you push yourself too hard for too long, you’re going to pay for it.
Years ago, my husband and I owned a service business. When we wanted to go on vacation, we had to work like crazy in the weeks leading up to the vacation to make sure that everything would be properly handled while we were away. We would work ahead so there was less for our employees to handle while we were gone. It always seemed like a good plan, but then we noticed it was backfiring on us.
We would work so hard that when we finally got on vacation, we’d crash. One of us always ended up sick while we were on vacation. And on top of that, we were exhausted. There were times when it didn’t feel worth it to go on vacation. But the truth is, we just needed to learn how to go about it in a better way. And on top of that, we needed to learn how to incorporate more rest and breaks into our everyday life even when we weren’t on vacation.
If you find that you’re constantly fighting off colds or flu season always seems to get you, it may be that you need to work with your immune system instead of against it.
3. Improves your relationships
Are you throwing yourself into your work while cutting back time with your family or friends? Many leaders find themselves in this position, but it’s a dangerous place to be. People and your relationships in life are far more important than your bottom line. If you’re overly focused on work and your career, you may notice that your personal relationships are starting to suffer. If you neglect them for too long, it may be difficult for them to recover when you decide to invest time in them.
Neglecting family and friends can lead to broken relationships. Prioritizing work over people can lead to loneliness. And if you’re always trying to push yourself to the limit, you may find that you’re taking your frustrations and exhaustion out on those that matter the most to you.
4. Provide others a chance to learn and lead
When you take breaks, you provide the space and opportunity for others within your organization to step up. This is a great way to see what progress you’re making on developing up -and-coming leaders. If you feel that you can’t step away because things will fall apart, it shows you that you’re not training up your employees.
Taking breaks and stepping away from time to time provides the chance for future leaders to test out their skills and get their feet wet. It might be hard for you to do, but it’s right for you and your team.
5. Creates a healthy culture in the workplace
A few weeks ago I sent an email to Darren (business coach and SPEARity CEO) and got an out of office reply saying that he had decided to take the day to be out of the office. This was a great example to everyone that works with him of the importance of taking breaks.
As the leader, if you never take time off work and don’t go on vacations, you set that expectation for your team whether you realize it or not. I’ve shared before on the blog about a past company that my husband worked for where it was expected that you didn’t use your vacation time. It was kind of the unspoken rule. The owner of the company had a terrible family life because he dedicated all of his time to work. And through his own actions, without saying a word, set the tone for every staff member. It was a toxic work culture and few people enjoyed their jobs.
When you prioritize breaks and rest as a leader, you set the right example for your employees. Encourage them to take care of themselves by making sure you do the same.
Identify time on your calendar to take a break. Looks for ways to build small breaks into your weekly schedule. Identify a time to take a vacation or staycation. And if you need help with getting things in order in your business and overcoming your obstacles, reach out to a SPEARity business coach for help.