When deciding to embark on the entrepreneurial journey, the first thing you often lose is work-life balance. Those most dedicated to professional success commonly fail to show that same level of commitment to their personal well-being. Granted, it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of starting and running a business. But that’s not an excuse for disregarding your personal life.
It’s more than just a luxury for entrepreneurs to take time off. It’s a necessity. Many entrepreneurs work 24/7, 365 days a year, and their compulsion to do so is often driven by a fear that anything left unattended will lead to failure. However, it might be wise to consider devoting regularly scheduled time to activities outside the office. It’s important not only for your life, but for your business as well.
For physical well being: You can’t operate a business if you’re physically unwell. "There’s no way to dispute it -- a fit businessperson is going to perform optimally in their work,” said Joseph Masi, a mind-body fitness coach based in New York. Joseph insists that “taking time for regular physical activity will also ensure the de-stress factor, which is essential when running a successful business."
For mental health: Working 24/7 is a surefire way to burn out. Life is about equilibrium. Ensuring you make time to have fun and connect with friends and family will keep you sane and productive. An entrepreneur, who takes time off to let her brain rest and to attend to the other areas of her life, will have a greater clarity when faced with business challenges.
For innovation: The invention of the 3M Post-It came from someone who allocated time off from his daily routine to create mental space for new ideas and a fresh perspective. Writers can attest to this. After composing a first draft, there is great value in taking break. Doing so allows the writer to edit with fresh eyes, and even generate new ideas. The same thing is applicable for any entrepreneur. Innovation often comes when we’re not actively engaged in or thinking about work.
Sometimes letting go is the key to success. To let go doesn’t mean an entrepreneur has to become lazy or irresponsible. Rather, by deliberately taking time off, we are forced to let go of everything we normally try to control, even if just for a short time. After all, there’s no way any of us can control every aspect of our business. Sometimes things are out of our control.
When you cultivate a life outside work, you’ll ensure that there is more to you than your work. And speaking of control: We never know where life will take us. One day we’re on top of the world and the next day life throws us a monkey wrench. Making sure personal relationships are always intact and made a top priority ensures that no matter what happens, our life will always have meaning and there will always be people there to support us.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.