Although the idea of taking time off seems very nice and appealing, lots of people don’t do it because they ‘can’t find the time’ or they ‘can’t afford it’. Don’t worry, I constantly fall into this trap too! However after returning from a week in Phuket, I realised three important reasons to take time off.
1. It’s healthy to relax.
Switching off can be incredibly difficult, especially for those with a business or a very intensive job. In fact this is one of the things I personally struggle with the most, my brain is endlessly ticking and while it’s often a good thing for productivity and hustle, it can also have negative effects. If you don't take time off it can increase stress, reduce the quality of your sleep, potentially harm meaningful relationships and even make you lose focus on basic tasks. I have caught myself in a conversation with someone barely paying attention to what that person was saying because I was thinking about something else. That’s not good! Sorry!
Physically and especially mentally it’s important to relax, both body and mind. It’s hard to do at home or in the office because you’re in a working environment and there's always something to be done. But if you go somewhere relaxing like a beach, or camping, (or wherever you prefer to wind down) you’ll be able to chill out. This is the time for you to rest, recharge, and clear your mind for a few days. Oh, and put the phone down!
2. You can reflect on your life from a third person perspective.
This is massive. When you take a step back from your business and your life, you can assess it from a third person perspective. When you’re in hustle mode you’re often focusing on the task at hand and what needs to be done. By looking at your situation from the outside with fresh eyes, you can really look at what’s going well, what should change, what you’ve been putting off and so on. Be honest with yourself. If you’ve been working on something that probably isn’t going to get you where you need to be, perhaps it’s time to make a shift.
Imagine you’re not involved with your business - what advice would you give yourself? If it were someone else’s, what would you say to them? Here’s another way to look at it. Do you have friends who are in a relationship that fight with other all the time? Both of them always have a different story, and regardless of any advice they receive, they can’t seem to apply it because they are emotionally attached. This is like you and your business. Third party advice from someone that isn’t involved is definitely worth listening to. Try and do this yourself. In fact while you're approaching it like this, ask others what they think and actually listen carefully to the feedback.
3. It motivates you to return.
After looking at your life from the outside and you’ve had time to relax, you will likely be incredibly motivated to smash it (your business, work, fitness, whatever!) with fresh eyes and fresh energy. Personally I love what I do, so even though I’m talking about how over-working yourself can potentially be a bad thing, if you’re passionate about it then it often doesn’t feel like work anyway. However! There is still a lot of work to be done and now that you’ve assessed it you’ll know which tasks and projects are the most important.
So there's my three reasons for why you should take time off. I went all the way to Thailand and I don't expect people to be able to just go and do that, but even if it's simply taking a few days off in a location a few hours drive away, or somewhere secluded. Anywhere you can wind down, relax and reflect. It will be good for you and I recommend it!
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