Taking A Break
Why it’s important to reset once in a while
As a first-time entrepreneur, I am always worried about something or the other: will that deal come through, will the products ship on time, will we hit this month’s target, will the coffee machine stop working. In reality, not all of those worries are equally important… or, sometimes, even worthy of worry. But that’s how I, and most other entrepreneurs like me, are wired. I was forced to take a holiday recently (with good reason: it was my wedding) and realized the world of good it does to have some time in your life when you’re not connected to the Internet or your iPhone.
Now here are my top three reasons why you must take a break.
A break helps you take a step back.
It’s easy to get caught in the daily grind where you worry about the little things. While little things do matter, as an entrepreneur running a business, your team will look to you to have the long-term vision. You can’t steward the team toward great fortunes if you’re stuck in the day-to-day. A break helps you keep your focus on the goal by (temporarily) taking the short-term/daily anxieties away from you.
A break helps your team step up.
How do you build a great team? By hiring the right people, training them, and supporting them. Wrong. You build a great team by letting them do stuff. On their own. And by letting them learn from their mistakes. If you’re away, more often than not, you will find (at least a few) members of your team rise up to the challenge and drive the organization forward while you’re sipping your Mai Tai in Bali. At times, it will also be the team members you least expected to step up. Now, when you come back, make sure to let them operate at their new high. You just freed up 40% of the time you spend on daily fire-fighting.
A break helps you make the right decisions.
This is a no brainer. If you have had enough time to unwind and reflect, your decision-making ability improves. And not just you’re well rested now. You also have had a chance to go back to your original vision for the company—so longer-term decisions are easier to make. Your team now knows more about the company, and knows what works and what doesn’t—so they can take appropriate decisions at their level and provide you with the right information you need to make yours.
I may have broken down a complex and interlinked series of benefits on to three obvious-sounding ones, but whether you agree or not: there’s only one way to test my hypothesis—go take a break yourself. And while you’re at that, I suggest: don’t take your phone along, don’t plan an itinerary (at least not one that plans 70% or more of your day), and don’t forget to do something stupid while on vacay (no point coming back without a story to tell!).