Summer Break, A Time for Work?
Or did you go away on holiday and still replied to emails and made mobile calls? And did you fool yourself by saying that you’d only do this until 10am, but then kept looking at your phone?
Or did you keep away and then get increasingly irritable until your partner told you to just go and look?
All of these are common afflictions of the owner-manager who never really stops working in the business.
The reality is that most prospects and clients fully understand that you’re away for an extended period and won’t get back to them until you return. But still the fear remains. This reduces the benefits of taking a full break from working in the business.
Countless studies show that we cannot be working at full capacity all of the time without it taking a large mental and physical toil. The old saying has it that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This means dull in the sense of tired, not producing the highest quality work and being boring to talk to!
Equally the modern concept of all work and all play is not sustainable. The trends for mindfulness and meditation demonstrate the positive impacts of peacefulness and of being rather than doing. Balance in time spent, as in teams, usually reaps the more consistent rewards.
One of the ironies of the long school summer holidays is that originally it was a natural break so the pupils could assist in the harvesting rather than playing truant! For the leisured classes sea-bathing and country walks were the basis of recuperation or convalescence. Factory shutdowns led to Blackpool’s entertainment and pier-based fun as it was easy to get away from the office, the post and the phone! Now we can only escape by taking positive action of switching off and not feeling we’re playing truant from work.
Time Creates Insight
Other studies show the benefits of rest to improve performance. Marathon runners taper from 2-3 weeks before their big race to reap the rewards of their training. Tapering doesn’t mean stopping training rather the intensity and length reduces to the day before when they might do nothing. What they do concentrate on is race strategy.
In larger organisations some fear the return of the boss from holiday as they will have a big new strategic idea. Why, because the boss had the time to think about the business not solving today’s issues. For smaller businesses, holiday time is a great time to think about longer term strategy and goals.
So next summer break, tell clients that you’ll be away, use an out of office email, switch off the phone and laptop for business. Spend real time with your social network of family and friends. And maybe spend an odd hour in the quiet times thinking about how you will achieve the business goals that make you happiest.
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