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Taking Time Off Can Increase Your Productivity And Better Your Company
For decades, I’ve taken 155 days off every year.
Taking time off to this degree, particularly as an entrepreneur, is almost unheard of in North America. But I’ve found that it’s not only a benefit to me in my non-work life, it’s also made me more effective professionally and been of enormous benefit to my team members and my organization.
Stop the burnout.
There’s a sort of bragging that takes place in the entrepreneurial world related to how much time one spends working. Entrepreneurs wear busyness as a badge of honor, and there’s contempt for entrepreneurs who need to take vacation time. You’ll hear people say, “Well, my work is my free time” or “I don’t really work; I just play.” Many entrepreneurs don’t draw a line at all when it comes to taking time off.
In my experience, this makes entrepreneurs one-dimensional. I can’t help but wonder what their relationships and their general appreciation of life is like when they do nothing but work. There are so many other aspects of life besides work to experience and explore.
Not only that, but the quality of their work and enjoyment of their work suffers when they’re burnt out. Free time isn’t just a reward for hard work; it’s a necessary prerequisite for doing good work. Taking time to rejuvenate renews your energy and creativity. And taking a number of days off the table for free time leaves fewer days for working, which has the effect of making you more productive when you’re at work.
“You don’t know how strong your team is until they can’t phone you.” —Dan SullivanClick To Tweet
Another negative aspect of an entrepreneur’s work addiction is the effect it has on their organizations. It often leads to an expectation that everyone who works for the company will also have very little free time.
This leads to a high burnout rate for team members. They feel oppressed because they can’t have personal lives, and it’s expected that they’ll always come in early, work late, and work weekends. This makes them defensive, makes them dull, and makes it so that there’s a very high turnover rate, because you can’t have a life when you work for a company with a workaholic philosophy.
The opposite happens when an entrepreneur allows themselves the freedom of taking time off. Then, their team members also have the freedom to have a life, and this makes them more productive during workdays. Taking free time helps both you and your team members avoid burnout.
Making the most of your workdays.
Because it’s a rule that I only work 210 days a year, I can never say, “Well, this project is going to take longer, so I’ll cancel this scheduled day off.”
What this means is that during every one of those 210 days, I’m getting as much done as possible. I’m much more focused because I have fewer days during which to get things done.
A big part of this is looking outside of myself for ways to get results. I’m always looking at who on my team can take something off my plate. This is also how teamwork constantly gets expanded.
The Self-Managing Company solution.
So that I’m not thinking about working when I’m taking time off, I have to trust that my team knows what they’re doing.
On days when I’m not working, team members at the company are fully responsible for making decisions, because there’s no contact between me and anyone at the office.
I’ve passed up on great opportunities that have come up while I’m taking time off, and I’ve done it without hesitation because I know that the team members who are working that day are developing opportunities themselves, and that I make enough opportunities during the 210 days a year that are my workdays.
Allowing myself to take 155 days off every year has benefited my health, my relationships, my productivity, my company, and the lives of all of the people who work at my company.
All entrepreneurs have the opportunity to benefit in the same way. All they need to do is grant themselves the freedom of taking time off.
Greater productivity = greater success.
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