Attention Business Owners: You have to take a vacation sometime. The unfortunate truth is that business owners work too hard, and they rarely even have the thought that they will get to take a vacation. Running a business is hard. It’s truthfully one of the most stressful jobs in existence, automatically requiring you to handle a wide variety of responsibilities.
You have to do all those things very well, too, because the consequences of an error on any front can be much greater than those of a typical job. Making a mistake could mean an employee doesn’t get the correct pay, or a marketing decision results in the loss of hundreds of new sales, or the new person you just hired never even shows up for work.
While everyone thinks that business owners have the greatest dream job ever, you’re toiling away every day just hoping that the company doesn’t go under. Do you know what this means? It means that you need a vacation. For these and all the following reasons, you should finally decide to take your well-deserved vacation this summer.
1. It Will Keep You from Burning Out
If you don’t blow off some steam at some point, the stress of all your responsibilities will eventually build up to the level where you can no longer keep a lid on the strain, and you completely burn out. Burnout is deceptive because it tends to come without warning. As you’re moving right along, doing business as usual, working long hours, and taking all the pressure like you always do—you start to feel a gradual drain.
Burnout is cumulative, and it isn’t dramatic until it finally hits you. It’s no joke, and you can find a ton of information about what it is and what you can do to deal with it by checking out our full blog series on burnout, here:
Some time off is needed every once in a while, especially for business owners. Part of the reason that we burn out is when we’re forced to get tasks done on a deadline, on a consistent basis and without relief.
This is a normal process of work, but it’s also why taking even a short time completely relieved of the pressures of your business can be very effective to stop the progression to burnout before it culminates into a breakdown. It gives you the chance to take a breath, put your feet back on the ground, and remember that there is a world outside of the microcosm you experience every day.
2. Gain a New Perspective on Your Business
Stepping away from the business for a time is a perfect way to enable yourself to see everything from a different angle. It’s a perspective that comes from looking at your business with a wide-angle lens, so to speak, to see the big picture. This is exactly why the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” was invented.
In your daily life, as you’re running your business and taking care of everything that needs attention, like you always do, you’re too close to it to invent a new vision or to pinpoint underlying problems. Many times, you can sense that there’s something big that you’re missing but can’t quite put your finger on it.
If you’re reading this blog, then you have probably experienced that before. You find yourself going through periods when, after you’ve gone through every aspect of your company to try and get everything to operate at the highest possible level, something still doesn’t feel right. You’re not crazy, and as an entrepreneur, that’s an instinct that you should definitely pay attention to. The only problem you have is that you can’t quite see it as clearly as you might. Take a vacation from your business, and you’ll be surprised how illuminating it can be.
3. Take Time for Family
Running a business requires long hours and a ton of energy. When you wake up in the morning, you’re already plotting out your day, planning your various meetings, and weighing out your priorities from highest to lowest. Most likely, your family is actually the top priority, but since you know the work of your business will demand your attention first, it has a tendency to drown out the deep need you have for contact with family.
It’s just an occupational hazard that you accept as the cost of doing business, and owners don’t end up with a whole lot of time for family. Meanwhile, you have to remember that there is ultimately nothing more important than your family, and a vacation from the business gives you a sorely needed opportunity to reconnect with those people, the VIPs in your life.
You can be sure that your family is eagerly waiting for the time when you decide to put the business down for at least a week or two and spend some quality time with them. More than that, it’s really healthy for you, as well, because being with family and friends strengthens you. That will put you in a state of mind that makes you more productive. Ironically, leaving work alone for a while actually makes you better at it.
The greatest benefit of a vacation, though, is of course that it gives you time to maintain your relationships with your family. We all know that our personal relationships demand maintenance, but as we become preoccupied with work, it’s easy to forget that. To take an important first step towards balancing your work life with your family life, give yourself a vacation that includes those essential people with whom you are always trying to connect, and get back to basics.
4. You Can Finish Personal Projects
It’s always frustrating to leave projects unfinished, especially the ones that you’re really passionate about. On one hand, it’s kind of a positive thing because while you’re busting your hump every day for the business, day in and day out, those passion projects that you have give you something to look forward to; however, if you never stop work to actually do them, then those projects just become a source of frustration, as they sit there unfinished.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a train set for your son or a hiking trip that you’ve been planning for years; those projects are vitally important and need to be fulfilled eventually. We need those things that are entirely our own, or else our daily work becomes an endless chore with no reward.
And if you don’t have some already, you should also have short-term personal projects to shoot for because, as satisfying as it is to plan something for many months or a couple of years, and then complete them, there has to be something you can look forward to during the interim. A brief vacation can be just the time you need to get into those smaller personal goals.
For example, you might want to visit the Grand Canyon for the first time, plant a vegetable garden in the yard, or take a short trip abroad with your family. There are any number of highly satisfying and worthwhile activities and events that you can accomplish in just a very short amount of time, all of which can let you live your life for a while instead of working endlessly without ever taking a break.
5. Be More Productive When You Return
Vacations exist for good reason. The first part is that they allow you to remember that there is life outside of work, and the second part is that you can refresh yourself during a break, so that you will function more fully at work when you come back.
In the same way that a good night’s sleep lets your body and mind heal and reset itself, a vacation gives you time to regenerate your strength, so that when you come back to running your business again, you will have much greater energy to put into it. That increased energy then makes you more productive.
You know that feeling you get sometimes, when you’ve been working on the same new project every day, but you keep getting stuck at the same spot every time you work on it? That isn’t happening because you’re incapable of handling it. That is happening because your energy level is too low, which, in turn, lowers your motivation, makes you doubt yourself, and makes you want to give up on it.
Those kinds of problems are actually far simpler than you think and can usually be solved by just taking some time away from the problem to come back at it with renewed strength. It’s not just tough challenges, either, that can be helped by some rest, away from the business. It’s the simple things, too, like bookkeeping or doing maintenance on your website.
Obviously, those things don’t take as much creative brain power, but they do, however, take a good amount of time. When you take a much-needed vacay, you’ll find that those kinds of tasks take significantly less time to complete because you now have a reservoir of energy that gives you an advantage with even the simplest of tasks.
6. Because You Didn’t Take One Last Summer
Ambitious and highly-driven professionals tend to miss vacations for the most ridiculous reason possible: They put it off until another time. Most business owners perpetually postpone vacations for themselves because they just can’t imagine stopping working on their business. One of the greatest strengths of successful entrepreneurs is also a weakness—the inability to stop working.
Understandably, you want to be always growing your business and can’t see any reason why you would ever take a break from doing that and run the risk of missing something, or losing potential sales, or not being there to help if there were a problem.
Some business owners don’t care too much about any of that and jump at the chance to run away from their work whenever they can, but that’s not you. You have to tear yourself away from work. It’s important to remember, though, that being devoted to your work is one thing, but running yourself ragged to the point of self-destruction is a whole other thing.
Life is short, and you will one day look back and wish that you had taken more time to appreciate your family, your friends, and the fruits of your labor. What are you working so diligently for, anyway? Yes, it’s true that you wouldn’t have reached the level where you are now if you didn’t have your relentless work ethic. Just don’t forget what you’re working towards.
You don’t need to read this article to know that you need a vacation, and this is not meant to rub it in. You know that it’s beneficial for you to take time off from the business; the point of this post is just to highlight all of those benefits and hopefully encourage you to finally do it. Taking a vacation is one of the most healthy and responsible things that you can do for yourself.
As an ambitious entrepreneur, it’s easy to deprive yourself of taking a much-needed break and keep pushing to grow your business with all the energy you have. The only problem is that your energy will be depleted over time, and the best way to replenish it is to rest. Give yourself a good rest at some point this summer. Take a vacation. Spend time with your family and friends. Then, come back and tackle your business with renewed fervor.