It's instinctive for driven professionals, especially entrepreneurs, to work 'round the clock, making little time for themselves. These ambitious types swear off the New Age folks who spew rhetoric about work-life balance, insisting there are only 24 hours in a day and not a minute can be wasted on activities that don't include succeeding in business.
While such a high level of inner gumption will take you far, there comes a point in time when burnout sets in. Before this happens to you, consider these five reasons why making time for yourself on a regular basis is not only important to avoid burning out, but is actually a key ingredient for success.
1. It clears and refreshes your mind. Just like sleep refreshes your mind and body, so does taking time off from the day-to-day grind. If your routine is the same day after day, it’s bound to get old, no matter how much a creature of habit you are. When you allow your mind to focus on something other than work, it helps you gain perspective that you can't see when you’re knee deep in the trenches.
2. You can't be good to anyone unless you’re good to yourself. This old adage should not be taken lightly. Ask yourself, “What have you done for me lately?” If you can’t come up with a good answer quickly, chances are it’s because it’s been a while since you took sometime to focus on you. You are more than just a business leader or entrepreneur. You are a whole person. If you don’t value that person, you can’t be effective in managing and leading others. The work will get done just the same or even better if you use your time wisely. So start by being good to yourself, take some time off and give yourself what you need.
3. You will be more creative. Creativity is not found in the organized and logical part of your left-brain. While it’s instinctive for the driven professional to look for ingenuity there, creativity actually lives in the chaotic, messy and unorganized side of your right-brain. And so does inspiration. Sitting day in and day out in your office trying to move things along will at some point cause your ideas to dry up. Taking some time off from organization and processes will give you the space to explore the chaos in your right-brain. It’s amazing what you will find in there.
4. Being a control freak isn't helpful. One reason why business leaders are who they are is because of their ability to organize, drive processes and move people toward the goal line. They know how to make things happen. They know how to control situations and create outcomes. But they can also be controlling people. There is only so much we are able to control and at some point we have to learn to let go before we get in our own way. Making time for yourself is a great way to take a step back and relinquish control, even if for only an hour per week. If you have the right people in place, you should easily be able to delegate tasks in your absence.
5. You keep in touch with what's truly important. And speaking of control... Sometimes things don't go as planned, especially in business. And sometimes it gets so bad that closing the doors is the best option. Or maybe you're an executive who is shown the door one day unexpectedly, pink slip in hand. When we define ourselves by what we do, we can easily lose sight of who we are, leaving us devastated when the unexpected happens. Taking time for yourself allows you to realize that you’re more than your professional self. You owe it to yourself to honor those parts of yourself and the truth is, you never know where or when you might meet someone in your travels who can help your career or business.