Our society throws the word ‘freedom’ around often with little thought to its meaning. How many times have you heard the commonplace phrase ‘financial freedom’? Are you expecting to eventually live financially free?
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“Every person needs to take one day away. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” — Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist
As business operators, when we’re doing what we love and living with passion it doesn’t feel like work. There is an immense amount of joy to it. You feel the need to cause more and more and quickly it becomes seven days a week.
Working constantly creates many adverse effects on our physical and mental states. We become less productive and more stressed. How can we stop this from occurring? I recommend that you claim at least 1-2 days off every week.
My clients tell me that my radical solution of at least 1-2 full days off a week is too crazy to even consider. They say, business operators and entrepreneurs, can’t afford this kind of time off! I say, so many benefits follow from accepting a break from work that it occurs as necessary.
Some of these benefits include:
• Providing adequate time to rest and reset your mind and body
• Experiencing more productiveness when you return
• Gaining a better work/life equilibrium
• Rekindling your relationships with friends and family
• Making room for your interests
• Renewing your commitments and resolve
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither”.
~ Alan Cohen, businessman and author
I’m sure that many people in your life comment on how intense your workweek looks. Some allege that you are always working. For those living with a traditional 9-5 job, this type of schedule can be unsettling. But for us, this pace often allows us to experience more peace and freedom. But, just because our work isn’t stressful, doesn’t mean we don’t need a break from it.
Many business operators feel time away from work is unprofessional or unacceptable. An article by the Huffington Post describes how claiming time off is not just ok but necessary. They argue that people who look after themselves tend to live more productive lives. They are healthier and happier.
Many entrepreneurs have their office space in their home. How can you not feel guilt about accepting time off when you can see your office from across the room? When we sense we can do more or we haven’t managed enough, we overwork ourselves to a breaking point.
Research by CNN establishes that a long weekend can produce health benefits. We damage our mental health when feeling overworked or stressed.
“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer”. — Leonardo da Vinci, artist
In Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book – ‘Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’, he states that we are more productive after times of rest. The book is an empirical argument in favour of limiting working hours. It argues that the benefits of active rest are a better means of elevating our creativity and productivity.
When we have the time to step away from our work we can return with a fresh and relaxed mind. This is proven to assist us in being productive and creative. Our minds process our problems when we are not consciously thinking about them. Often clients tell me that after taking a day off they managed to solve a challenging issue.
A Scientific American study discovered that many people feel compelled to keep working. That in the time we plan to relax, we still obsessively check our emails, reply to messages and worry about work. It is impossible to allow ourselves to switch off that part of our brains. But, the study also establishes that ‘epiphanies may seem to come out of nowhere. But they are often the product of unconscious mental activity during downtime’. They discovered that we need more ‘downtime’. This allows our brain to recuperate and start creating again. We often invent our best ideas during/after a period of rest.
When I talk about a day off work, I mean one that is completely dedicated to existing away from it all. This means no checking messages or making calls. Not even imagining what is occurring with your business during this time. You want to remember that there is more to life than your company. If you work incessantly, the rest of your life will end up passing you by. There is no point in planning a life you dream of, if you never get the chance to live it!
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” — William S. Burroughs, author and visual artist, recognized as a primary figure of the Beat Generation
My clients have discovered that the best ways to claim a day or two away involves:
• When taking time off, be completely away from work – no emails, texts or calls related to your business
• Start this habit by taking 12-hour blocks off first if necessary
• If you are currently having no fun days off, start with one day per week and increase from there
• Train your team and clients to understand that when you are off you are not available
• Create structures to deal with any emergencies that may arise in your company while you’re on your day(s) off
We are not performing at our best level when slaving in our businesses seven days a week. Take at least one to two days off. Your company and the rest of your life will thank you for it!
You can read more about this and other strategies in my Amazon international bestselling book: Damian Reid – Cure ‘Entrepreneurialitis’: 52 Habits To Earn The FREEDOM You Deserve.