Think you can't afford to take a little time away from your business?
Think you can't possibly shelve your responsibilities to take a vacation? Think again. Whether it's workload or ambition keeping you from using your well-deserved vacation time, there's research to prove that both your wellbeing and your business benefit from time away. Here are six reasons to give yourself a break.
1. It sets a good example for your employees.
Entrepreneurs and managers may be especially reluctant to leave their businesses. Yet, as leaders, we have a responsibility to serve as role models for our employees. This requires illustrating the importance of work-life balance and leading by example. Without a balanced lifestyle – which includes time away from work – employees are more likely to become sick, disengaged and eventually dissatisfied with their jobs. Nurture your workforce and avoid retention issues by setting positive examples of self-care. Take care of yourself by taking time off, and your team is likely to do the same.
2. It freshens your perspective and stimulates creativity.
It's often when I'm away from my desk and the frenetic pace of daily work when I most clearly see solutions to business challenges. SInce my work involves connecting families with child care, it's time with my own family and friends that provides insights into my customers' needs and how my business may be able to address them.
Of course, a vacation should also take your mind off work. Travel, both with loved ones and on our own, frees us from the confines of routines and everyday requirements. It gives us room to think differently. It sparks creativity – one of the most valuable attributes in business for helping us solve problems and see opportunity. Perhaps most importantly, it provides enjoyment.
3. It's good for your health.
Numerous studies show that vacation offers physical and psychological health benefits so great that we likely can't afford not to take time off. The list starts with stress relief and better sleep, and it goes far deeper, including increased productivity, a brighter outlook, less anxiety and even heart disease prevention (people who take at least one vacation per year are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack). Vacations give us something to look forward to and opportunities to spend quality time with our families and friends. They also give us time to focus on ourselves, address personal goals and reassess our priorities, contributing to our overall wellness.
4. It reduces risk of burnout.
Burnout – physical and mental exhaustion caused by long hours and unyielding dedication to work and responsibilities – is no badge of honor. It leaves us unmotivated, inefficient, and susceptible to insomnia, illness, injury, and even chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Burnout can have serious, long-standing consequences to your health and career. Managing stress by taking time away – even just mini breaks – to recharge, rebalance and reset priorities can prevent burnout and allow you to put your best foot forward.
5. It increases productivity.
A common excuse for not using vacation time is that there will be an overwhelming load of work awaiting your return. Think of all the emails and meeting requests you'll need to address!
While your presence will be missed, business will run without you, and you'll be refreshed and ready to tackle the mountain of work you missed when you return. It's here when the productivity benefits associated with vacations prove themselves especially handy. Consider that European countries, where vacation time is often mandatory, rank among the most productive nations.
6. It provides the opportunity to delegate.
Vacations can force you to delegate work to others – an especially tough task if you're not a delegator. While you're away, you give people opportunity to show leadership and competence. The temporary change your absence creates allows others to handle new responsibilities and try out new roles. It enables you to nurture your team's growth and make room for yourself, upon return, to focus on higher-priority tasks.
Sadly, more than half of Americans don't use their allotted vacation time. You should not be one of them. Using your time off will serve you and your business well beyond the short-term benefits. Vacation is vital to your wellbeing and, with a little practice, can become a regular addition to your calendar.