There's a very strong and common tendency for entrepreneurs to put in 18-hour days when starting a company, setting an ambitious pace with little thought given to rest. Even with a talented team in place, many entrepreneurs can feel uncomfortable stepping away for even a short time.
But startup founders must remember that they cannot and won't do their best work if they're too tired to be inspiring leaders.
Here are three reasons for the captains of the ship to take that deserved vacation:
1. The brain needs extended downtime.
Entrepreneurs are the ones working long and hard, operating on overdrive to develop winning strategy, ensure flawless execution, refine communication and create endless groundbreaking tactics. Thus, some entrepreneurs run the risk of burnout.
To run effectively on all cylinders, the brain needs sufficient downtime.
According to Scientific American, “downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”
Taking time off for mindfulness is possibly the greatest gift entrepreneurs can give themselves and their businesses. Researchers have just started exploring the connection between meditation and better physical and psychological health.
A vacation can help entrepreneurs rest their mind to be better able to address and resolve what’s waiting for you back in the office.
2. When the cat's away, the mice grow more confident.
Yes, the team needs the leader but progress shouldn't be overly dependent on the executive either. A leader needs to challenge, empower and motivate members of the team. But sometimes, the chief needs to get out of their way for a while so they can thrive.
The executive's time away from the office will not only encourage individual development and proactivity but will also strengthen bonds among team members as they effectively address challenges in his or her absence. A vacation provides an opportunity for greater delegation and the perfect way to let members of a team feel just how good they are.
3. A leader should set the tone.
Employees might take their cues from their leader, so it’s imperative to encourage a team to take care of themselves and let them know, especially through the personal actions, that a balanced life is a happy life.
As CEO of Grokker, an expert yoga, fitness and cooking video network, I see it as my duty to "walk the talk." I started this company to help busy people get better at what they love, with hopes of developing a workplace environment that reflected the organization's overall philosophy of prioritizing personal wellness.
I take steps to prioritize my own personal wellness, so it’s important that my team do the same. Yes, I work hard but I do a lot more than just work. I practice yoga, work out with teammates twice a week, hike, ride my bike and take vacations. I am not going to burn out nor will staffers on my team because we are serious about wellness.
Vacation is the perfect time to recharge and be mindful. Entrepreneurs can explore a new hobby or rediscover their love for something they rarely have time for. As difficult as it may be for them to step away from a business they have been pouring their heart into, the physical, mental and emotional benefits of taking some time off are undeniable, I believe.
So go on, give the team and its leader a needed and deserved break and return with newfound energy, focus and creativity to transform the world.