I’m sure this has been a crazy (and successful) year for you, which is why you might be thinking that now is not the time to lose momentum. If you have another week to push through and get more work done, why not do it? You can squeeze in one last sprint and boost your profits just a tad bit more.
If you’ve already taken a few holidays throughout the year, then maybe you don’t need to hear this. You understand the power of taking a break and getting some rest. But, for the rest of you, listen up:
Take time off from work now.
It’s not going to kill you (or your WordPress business) to stop for a day, a few days, or even a week to go be with your friends and families for the holidays. Or to take that far-flung vacation you’ve been talking about for ages, but have been too scared to step away from your business to do so.
Rather than teach you something new today, I’m going to share some sage advice from entrepreneurs, researchers, and other professionals who understand how beneficial it is to take time off.
Reasons You Should Take Time Off from Work Now
To put it bluntly:
In order to get more shit done, you have to give yourself a break now and then.
If you think about it, this falls in line with the topic of closing up loops quite well. That’s because a closed project, communication, or even client relationship can do a lot of good for resolving things that would otherwise take up space in your brain. As you close things up, you make room for more.
And that’s what a mental and physical break from work does, too. Here’s the proof:
Improve Your Health
Here is how Aditya Deshpande, the co-founder of Environ Bikes, equates good health to the health of his business:
“Good health takes off the extra pressure built up in my mind due to the long hours of work… When healthy, I tend to be calmer and less cranky in the most difficult of situations. This not only takes off the burden from my team but helps me retain my customers.”
When you take time off, you have the ability to prioritise healthier living practices like eating right and exercising more. As you feel better, you’re more capable of handling business matters more professionally, more calmly, and more effectively.
Dr. Raymonde Jean, the director of sleep medicine at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, says:
“Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure. It’s also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.”
Just having more time to rest can help reduce the levels of stress you experience at work.
Catch Up on Sleep
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silicon Valley consultant in Silicon Valley and writer of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, said an interview:
“When we sleep the brain takes time to clear out plaques and toxins that have built up during the hours we are awake. Even though we’re not aware of it, sleep also helps us push forward on questions and problems we’re working on during our waking hours.”
So, not only are there direct physical benefits of getting more sleep when you take time off from work, but there’s a strong argument for how it affects you mentally.
Improve Your Focus
Tony Gauda, the CEO and founder of ThinAir, says:
“[T]he way I think about work and life is a marathon. No matter how fast or elite you are — you’re not going to be able to run 26.2 miles back-to-back without taking a break. The way I convince myself to take a break, and how I’d advise others to do the same, is reminding yourself that rest is a performance enhancement, not an inhibitor.”
That makes sense, right? In even the most granular moments of your workday, it’s easier to get stuff done when you break it into more manageable chunks and take short breaks to reset before moving on to the next piece. This stops you from falling into a multitasking rut and, instead, allows you to focus on the task at hand.
Boost Productivity and Creativity
Pang also spoke about how creativity and productivity are affected by a lack of time off from work:
“Work involves more improvisation and creativity than we recognise… [T]he research is very clear that no matter what kind of work you do, overwork is going to impact your productivity for the worse.”
When your senses become dulled from overworking and you’re feeling burned out, you can’t possibly be at your sharpest for your clients. They’re paying you good money for valuable outcomes. But if you don’t give your brain the space to recharge and hone those creative juices, you won’t be able to deliver on that promise.
There’s a great Inc. article by Jessica Stillman that takes a look at Think Week, a trend started by Bill Gates.
This is the shared sentiment of everyone who was interviewed about their experience with Think Weeks:
“I now have clarity on how I should spend my time, what I need to say no to, which areas I'd like to further investigate, the changes I'd like to make, and, most importantly, where I'm heading in the next phase of my career.”
Sounds pretty great to gain that sense of perspective and clarity, doesn’t it?
Spend Quality Time with Family and Friends
This may be a difficult time of year for you if your business is new and you’re nervous about putting it aside to celebrate the holidays. But there’s a trade-off that comes with that mentality; namely, if you miss out on holidays and other special days with friends and family now, you may eventually grow embittered towards your business for robbing you of that time.
As you look for ways to establish a better work-life balance, start here. Put away your phone and computer. Turn off your emails. And really be present with the ones you love.
Celebrate Your Wins
Peter Bregman and Marilyn Paul, the author of An Oasis In Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life, muse on this idea that everyone needs at least one day of rest. Bregman notes:
“[W]e spend six days a week trying to change the world in some way. Trying to fix things, trying to shift things, trying to make things happen, trying to change the world in some way. We spend one day just recognising, being grateful, enjoying, appreciating the world as it is, with no intent, or attempt to change it.”
I think that’s a great argument for giving yourself a dedicated break every week, but I do believe this can be expanded upon. As you accumulate more victories throughout the year, don’t let them go unnoticed. Take these breaks – however short or long they may be – to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished in business. You deserve it.
Sam Butler, a PR adviser in Seattle, says:
“The time you take away is an investment in being able to do high quality work when you’re back.”
As we stand hip-deep in the holidays and about to ring in a new year, now is the perfect time to take that break you deserve. Your sprints will mean nothing if you don’t have the energy or focus to get them done well and completely.
To start the new year strong – or, really, any new period of work – take time off first so you can get your body and mind in order for the work to come.
Happy holidays and I’ll see you all in the new year!