Entrepreneurs are renowned for working long hours. They come to the office on the weekend, they don’t go out and party, and they put in the effort required to build an outstanding product. However, that’s only half of the story. While it’s true that entrepreneurs put in lots of hours on the job, nobody can continually work sixteen hour days, uninterrupted, without noticing a decrease in their productivity. It’s been proven that breaks are the best way for people to recharge and become more efficient. They allow you to regain your focus and come back to a project with a renewed sense of strength and purpose. Here are a few things every entrepreneur should consider when they think about breaks.
Feeling Guilty About Taking Breaks
If you’ve got a mountain of work on your desk, and people are depending on you to get it done, then it’s easy to understand how you might feel guilty about taking a break. You may feel silly, or even selfish, taking some personal time when so much is riding on your shoulders. This isn’t the best way to look at the situation. By taking a short nap, reading a book, or having a walk around outside, you’ll actually increase your productivity and the quality of your work. That will allow you to put out the best product possible.
Taking a Break While on a Roll
Getting into the zone is a fantastic feeling. It’s where you produce your best work and create the most exceptional products. When you’re in the zone, it’s easy to get stuff done and enjoyable as well. It’s such a great place to be in that it’s easy to understand why coming out of the zone can suck. Time slows down and your work starts to seem daunting, not fun. When this happens, some entrepreneurs try to regain the zone by working harder. Unfortunately, this is rarely the correct response. As you feel yourself coming out the zone, instead of trying to regain it through hard work, it’s a better idea to take a break and do something that you enjoy. Maybe it’s fifteen minutes of reading or a walk around outside the building. Whatever it is that you enjoy, while you’re doing it forget about work. This is important because it will allow you to fully relax in the moment, without holding onto any tension. When you come back to your work you’ll be ready to get back into the zone again. Even highly productive people Like Arnold Schwarzenegger have said that they take short breaks when coming out of the zone. That allows them to get back into all the faster.
Take the Time to Mentally Recharge
It’s especially important for entrepreneurs to take breaks because they tend to expand vast amounts of mental resources on what they’re doing. Entrepreneurs need to be creative, spontaneous, and disciplined. All of this requires a lot of mental energy, which is easy to expend. It’s important to keep in mind that working more is the last thing that’s going to help you to recharge your mental energy stores after they’ve become exhausted. Despite accounting for just 2% of the body’s mass, the brain actually consumes 20% of all your energy, which can very quickly drain you. This is another reason that a break is so important. If you think about your brain like a gas tank, you can imagine that after a couple of hours of intense work your tank is on empty. Taking a break gives you a chance to fill it back up with gas. Make sure your break is 100% personal though. Forget about work and enjoy yourself. Try chatting with coworkers, doing some pushups, or listening to some music you like.
Delegating to Save You Time
One thing that entrepreneurs and other business owners have traditionally had a hard time with is delegating tasks to other people. They often feel like they need to complete everything on their own in order to ensure that it’s done correctly. This belief is one of the reasons that so many entrepreneurs work more than they might otherwise need to. If you assemble a great group of people then you’ll be able to delegate more work to them and take more breaks. Assembling an all star team is a step that cannot be overlooked when it comes reducing your own workload, and increasing the chances that your startup will stay successful. Entrepreneurs are only human, and you need to take breaks to remain effective. Finding people who can allow you take these breaks is a crucial part of the entrepreneurial process.
Downsides of Being Too Focussed
On top of not working at your full potential, there are other long term problems associated with working too hard without taking enough breaks. These include heart disease, a weak immune system, and other stress related disorders. In the end, these can force you to miss more work than you ever accomplished in the first place. Taking breaks from work will allow you to keep your health and keep the doctor’s visits to a minimum. These can be daily micr-breaks, which are an important part of maintaining full productivity. Larger breaks are also important though. Consider taking off Fridays for short vacations, or anything else which allows you to leave work behind for a few days while you focus on yourself.
Improving Your Work by Taking Breaks
Everyone can benefit from a break. Regardless of what kind of entrepreneur you are, and how you’re setting out to change the world, you can improve the quality of your work and productivity by taking some time away from work. When you leave your desk you’ll give your brain a chance to recharge. You’ll also find it easier to get back into the zone after taking a break. One thing that most people have realized by now is that working harder rarely helps you to break into the zone if you’re already exhausted. Instead, you need a break. Use your time to your advantage, and if you’re an entrepreneur, use a break to work smarter, not harder!