The late historian John Hope Franklin, PhD always looked forward to weekends because “to me Friday means I can work for the next two days uninterrupted.” Now there’s a guy who needed a hobby.
All joking aside, you can probably relate to this sentiment. As a driven, successful small-business professional, you have almost certainly woven your work into all areas of your life. And, really, what choice have you had? In today’s always-connected world, with your customers and partners demanding to have access to you at all times, you’ve had to become the super-producer you are.
But as stated in this Entrepreneur Magazine article, being in work mode 24/7 has its dangers — perhaps the most surprising is it can actually make you less productive and effective at work.
So as we head into summer, our suggestion is you pull back from your business, take a true break and unplug. Here are three reasons giving yourself a summer vacation might not only be more fun than more nonstop working — but might even boost your productivity when you return.
If you don’t think you can handle being away and, even more frightening, “unplugged,” for a full vacation, maybe you can start with giving yourself a break on the upcoming Memorial Day — just one day. Start small.
Taking breaks from work prevents burnout.
A thought-provoking story from the Associated Press about employee burnout uncovered many examples of large organizations implementing new policies to help their staff work fewer hours. Goldman Sachs, for example, now discourages employees from working on weekends. Volkswagen actually turns off some employees’ company email 30 minutes after their shifts end. And BMW is trying to institute policies to prevent their staff from being contacted after-hours with work-related requests.
Why are these businesses doing this? Because they’ve learned — the hard way — that when work begins to consume their employees’ free time, they face higher turnover and lower overall productivity.
And if you’re now wondering whether this applies to you, considering the AP story focused on employees — and you’re an entrepreneur —think of it this way: You’re also your own employee. So yes, the risk of burnout from overwork applies to you as well — perhaps even more so, because you probably work harder and longer hours than do your employees.
Time away from the office can lead to ideas and inspiration.
Taking time away from work — truly changing the scenery and your daily routine — is often when great ideas are finally able to break through.
Think about it. If you’re constantly working, reacting to requests, putting out fires, checking email, answering phone calls…when do you have a chance to quietly step back and reflect on the “big picture” for your business or your career?
You actually benefit from time away — and we mean true time away, no checking your email every 90 seconds — in the sense you’ll finally have time and space to process all of the things happening to your business every day. That’s when inspiration strikes.
Bonus tip: Whether or not you take a summer vacation (and please do), remember the value in giving yourself scheduled, short breaks from work. Even just slotting in a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood every day, to reflect on the day’s activities and your goals, can be enough for great new ideas and insights to break through.
You don’t have to miss anything important while you’re away.
One more great reason to step away from work: You can!
Thanks to mobile technology and cloud-communication services, like online faxing from eFax®, you can shut down your computer, leave your office, and not have to worry about missing anything while you’re enjoying your time off.
With an affordable subscription to eFax, for example, you can easily receive, review, annotate, send and even add a digitized signature to important business faxes all by email — from anywhere. No fax machine necessary. Meaning, even if a contract or other important document comes in during your vacation, and the other party demands you sign and return it by fax, you can handle the whole process in minutes, right on your laptop, tablet or smart phone, no matter where you are.
So give yourself a break this summer. At a minimum, take a day or so each month to decompress and to process all of the inputs you continually receive while you’re in work mode. Start with Memorial Day. Many of the clients and other businesses you work with will likely being taking that day off as well, so it’s a good day to relax yourself.
You’ve worked hard all year. You’ve earned it. You’ll likely come back to work refreshed and reinvigorated. And thanks to cloud business services like eFax, you won’t risk missing anything while you’re away.