Importance of Personal Time as a Business Owner
Running a business is not easy.
Many entrepreneurs feel like they literally need to sleep with one eye open because of all the worries rushing through their head.
Their competitors are outselling them. Their leads are drying up.Somebody in their company is stealing from them. Their website has been hacked.
If you fall into this category, then you have it rough.
Perhaps you’ve thought of taking a holiday – but you can’t (as the business won’t run without you). But the truth is this:it can be more damaging if you don’t take the time to unwind away from your business.
According to a Gallup survey, 39% of business owners work more than 60 hours per week. Another study found that 70% of business owners in the UK prefer to do everything by themselves. That speaks volumes about how overworked many business owners could be.
Consequences of No Personal Time as a Business Owner
Employees may demand time off or call in sick from time to time, but business owners (especially for small and medium enterprises) often don’t have the luxury of doing the same thing.
Studies show that as much as 67% of small business owners will check in at least once a day to see if things are going smoothly. It may seem like you’re just trying to be a good boss, but making yourself available to your employees 24/7 is going to have some detrimental effects on your well-being.
Here are some of the reasons why a lack of personal time can be damaging to business owners:
It diminishes your intrinsic motivation
Laura Giurge, Ph.D., from the London Business School, says that “Spending weekends or holidays working undermines one of the most important factors that determine whether people persist in their work: intrinsic motivation.”
Your intrinsic motivation is basically your reason for everything from choosing an industry to break into – starting a business, hiring your employees, to choosing whom to do business with
Let’s say you wanted to set up an arts and crafts store because you love art. Or you started an all-natural soap company because you want safe, chemical-free skin care products to be available where you live.
Those are amazing stories, but they could get buried under the bureaucracy and paperwork that you need to accomplish every day. Without taking a step back to enjoy life, you could end up lost, frazzled, and confused about why you started in the first place.
Boundaries become blurry
Are your staffers calling you at odd hours of the day? Do you find yourself responding to work emails and texts well after work hours? Do you miss out on family events because you need to be working?
The blurred lines between your work life and personal life may cause you to stress over your business even as you’re climbing into bed. Boundaries are necessary for a healthy balance of work and personal life. Without them, your problems are just going to spill out in every direction.
You lose time for your loved ones
One of the worst things that can happen in life is to regretting not spending enough time with your loved ones.
Many business owners could end up delegating the care of their children to their spouses or other relatives. Hence, their children grow up without forming a meaningful connection with their parents.
Needless to say, children need their parents to guide them during their formative years. It’s not just young children who suffer from a lack of attention. Elderly parents, friends, pets, and all your other loved ones also need your time every now and then.
If you go too long without spending time with them, you risk them harbouring feelings of resentment or indifference. Life is too short to go without forming meaningful relationships.
Taking some time off to mend weak bonds will certainly go both ways.
You become a micromanaging boss
If you’re quite a hands-on business owner, chances are that you like to handle problems personally and that involves knowing every little thing going on in your company.Your employees could get the feeling that you’re hanging over their heads and watching their every move. It’s stifling!
Give them some free rein from time to time to let them do their own thing. Delegate some of your less pressing tasks. Or simply don’t breathe down their necks every time you ask them to change the printer toner.
Giving your employees time to manage the business without you will help them develop their own skills so, over time, you can become more confident that you can go on a short break without coming back to find your business up in flames.
Burnout is real
Losing your passion for your business is sort of like falling out of love. You got into your line of work with a bright, hopeful attitude, but somewhere along the way, that spark could simply die out.
At that point, some people may sell their business, close up shop, or just dredge on for years without realising what the problem is. None of these options are ideal.
Avoiding burnout is one of the main reasons why you need to take a vacation every now and then. You don’t even have to leave town! Just a few short days on your porch, a trip to the park with your kids, or a night out with a friend can give you that much-needed reset.
Why Taking Personal Time is Critical
It may be hard for many business owners to just hand over the keys to their most senior employees and head out for a weekend on the beach. That’s understandable! After all, your business does pay your bills and provide for your employees. Of course, you’d be unwilling to let anything go awry.
But, really, personal time is vital for your well-being. Here are a few reasons why:
Work-Life Balance is Incredibly Good for You
An effective work-life balance can reduce stress, lower the risk of burnout, and keep you physically and mentally healthy. Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth, once said that “If you drain yourself to the point of exhaustion, then you become a liability to your business.”
A balance between work and life doesn’t necessarily mean an equal 8 hours for both. It could be a productive 5 days at work followed by 2 days relaxing at home. It could also mean showing up every day to oversee your business but taking a day off whenever you feel like driving your kids to school or cooking dinner.
Work-life balance is different for everyone. The goal is to make you feel like you’re not a slave to your own business.
Personal Time Helps You Preserve Your Sense of Purpose
Time out is the space between working where real value is created. Cultivating old relationships and forming new ones can help you to become more patient, kind, considerate, and empathetic. Making time for your hobbies helps you appreciate what more there is to life aside from work and more work.
Find ways to pursue healthy hobbies like exercising, learning new things, reading, cooking, making videos, or anything else that you love. Passion projects aren’t a waste of time. Rather, they help you to find out who you are beyond work and business.
You Become More Efficient After You Take a Break
Have you ever spent so much time working on a problem but failed to find an effective solution? Sometimes all you actually need is to step away from the problem so you can come back refreshed, recharged, and refocused. Taking time off helps you subconsciously gather and organise the thoughts in your head. Some writers use this trick to overcome writer’s block – they get up from their desks and go for a run, take a shower, cook a dish, or clean their room.
Just little mundane things can make you feel calmer and more in control. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to burst back into work like the boss that you are.
Rest is Healthy For You
Some business owners may suffer from lack of sleep, fatigue, or overwork, which could severely affect their mental state. If you find yourself irritated at every little detail, check your length and quality of sleep.
Turn off your work notifications before bedtime so you’re not tempted to open or reply to anything. You could also set your alarm a bit later and come in a few hours late if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just a few extra moments to yourself could do wonders for your mood.
Remember: Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Your business may be your life’s work, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing that you have to live for. Every aspect of life is transient, so go ahead and take that day off. Your mind, body, and employees will thank you for it.