As entrepreneurs, we spend a tremendous amount of time with our businesses only to find that months or even years have gone by and we've been living startups 24/7. Now, there’s a lot of argument for the need for such a lifestyle, many reasons for which I completely disagree with. There is something very important about having and leading a healthy lifestyle -- and no, working around the clock for months or years on end isn’t healthy.
Now, I’m not going to go as far as to demand a "work-life balance," because it’s typically just unrealistic, particularly in the earlier stages, but you do need to build your company in such a way that allows you to get away from time to time -- which will do wonders for both your creativity and productivity.
So how do you know when the time has come to get away? Let’s have a look.
1. Your brain is clouded.
It’s natural over time to move down a path and get set in your ways -- we’re all guilty of it at some point. The difficulty is that it’s hard to recognize this as a problem when you’re the individual that’s stuck in the rut -- unless of course you have friends, family or co-founders that might bring it to your attention -- and one of the absolute best ways to get out of it is to get away for some duration of time and unwind.
No, you don’t necessarily need to disappear for a month or more -- although I can tell you firsthand that leaving for longer durations of time (such as a month or two) can have dramatic effects on both your mindset and your blood pressure -- but start with a few days here and there and work your way up to a week or two.
2. The tension is palpable.
Creating a positive working environment for yourself and your team is of paramount importance -- no surprise there. But when you’re buried in the emotional roller coaster that comes with entrepreneurship over long periods of time, it’s only natural that a toll is going to be taken on your nerves. The likely result of this typical early stage lifecycle is that your stress levels will progressively elevate, creating tension in your environment that is so thick it could be cut with a knife.
You are the leader and your team looks to you for direction and guidance -- so when you’re stressed or tense, they’re stressed or tense. Do yourself and your team a favor and get away and unwind in an environment that is both calm and lacks high levels of stimulation -- think Hawaii.
3. Your health is suffering.
Stress has the ability to do damage well beyond that of your working environment, which can get really bad and do tremendous damage to your health. According to WebMd, stress can play a part in problems such as high blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes, depression and arthritis -- just a few ailments you don’t particularly want.
High levels of stress also induce the production of a hormone called cortisol, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, increases your risk of numerous health issues such as digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment -- more ailments you really don’t need in your life.
If you’re early on in your business, taking a vacation might sound ludicrous, but you have to find a way to get away and let your brain and body unwind -- which will help you lead a healthier life, chock full of better relationships and more productive time when you are grinding it out at the office.