Why Taking Time Out from Business is Important for Entrepreneurs
Throughout my career I have worked tirelessly to achieve success and I can admit to times where my sole focus was on the development of my entrepreneurial accomplishments. Long hours at the office, unhealthy lifestyle choices and a lack of attention on the most important people were all unnecessary and could have been avoided, had I known the importance of adopting a healthier work/life synergy. These sacrifices are ones which I came to accept for many years believing this was what required from me to become a success. It’s what many other entrepreneurs and business owners are recognised and celebrated for; dedicating themselves completely to their businesses with very little time off for anything else.
Entrepreneurial Success, Entrepreneurial Stress
In 2009 I became a company director of Direct Digital, a global digital advertising company, following my successful set up and management of the Australian division. I had not long been married and my daughter was two years old. Finding a balance between family life and work started to become a huge challenge for me. I became completely focused on proving myself and making the business a success. I knew that I would need to work hard which is exactly what I did - I spent less time at home with my family and more time focused on business activity, travelling frequently and working late constantly. The more I worked the more successful I believed I was becoming. We had a nice home, my daughter was getting a great education and business was incredible.
Sounds like a success, right? Yes, we now had access to the finer things in life and I was providing my family with the experiences and opportunities that I had set out to but what I failed to recognise was that I was exceeding my mental and physical limits and as a result I became less productive in both my personal and professional roles. It wasn’t long before my family fell apart and my business started to lose focus and I could not understand why.
The truth was I was overworked, stressed and completely exhausted - the familiar struggle business owners and entrepreneurs are faced with day in day out. I wasn’t allowing myself any time for “recovery” which resulted in a huge decrease in productivity and control in both my personal and professional endeavours, which in turn created additional pressure and increased stress. I became stuck in a vicious circle and my health and well-being started to become extremely effected along with my personal relationships and business progress.
The Importance of Replenishing Cognitive Resources
Successful businesses don’t just happen and whilst it is important to stay focused and dedicated to growing your businesses, its only more recently that I have learned the importance of taking time out to enjoy the other aspects of your life. Take time out to rest, recharge and refuel to better manage your mental resources resulting in improved productivity in all areas of your life including your businesses! The results are staggering, and I am keen to impress the importance of this to other highly-driven, highly-charged entrepreneurs. This belief is one of the core principles within my Business Consultancy programme and I have detailed some simple, easy to implement, highly effective changes you can adopt below:
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
An old and very true cliché, treat your body like a temple. Fuel your body smartly, drink plenty of water and form healthy sleep patterns. Dedicate a set amount of time every day for some exercise, even if just 10 minutes. Practice some mindfulness techniques and try to be present in the moment, appreciate the important things in your life and be thankful for them.
Exercise releases endorphins, our bodies’ naturally occurring happy vibes and through developing these healthy habits you will quickly notice an improvement in your overall mental state, not to mention the physical health benefits!
Defeat DIY Disorder by effective delegation.
A common trait amongst business owners and entrepreneurs is the need to complete everything yourself. It can be extremely difficult to trust people with something that you have dedicated everything to making a success. It is this attitude that actually hinders business progress. It took a number of relationship breakdowns, huge effects on my health and well-being, the decline of my business and help from a mentor for me to come to the realisation that I needed to relinquish some responsibility and fast.
I turned my focus to working smarter, not harder, and began to defeat the DIY disorder by building a successful a senior management team for Direct Digital. I was able to delegate workload, relieve my responsibilities and free up my time to focus on innovation, growth and new business projects along with more time with my family and friends.
Enjoy Quality Time with Loved Ones.
My children are the reason and my inspiration for being successful. When my career started the purpose was to provide opportunities for my family which I hadn’t been lucky enough to enjoy whilst growing up. Although I had a happy childhood I want to provide my children with unique experiences and life opportunities like travelling the world and seeing and experiencing a range of counties and cultures, fulfilling their life’s dreams, hopes and ambitions. These are the things that inspire me.
Take your family with you on unavoidable business trips so they can feel more included, enjoy one, two or more dedicated nights in the week where you all commit to spending invaluable time together doing something you love. Be present when you have time together and always appreciate the moments you share
After all, wealth without health is less than nothing, and a life, no matter how successful, is nothing without loved ones to share it with.