When you own your own business, work never ends. There are always more calls to make, more emails to answer and more items in your in-box to sort through. Your to-do list never stops growing.
This constant busy-ness can make it hard to take an actual break, whether it’s a vacation, a day off or just a moment’s repose.
But the fact is that you need to take occasional breaks to be effective, productive and content in your work. Sure, the importance of finding work-life balance has become something of a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Here are five breaks you can take to find and maintain that elusive equilibrium.
1. Go (temporarily) off the grid.
Your computer and cell phone aren’t literally implanted in your brain (yet), so you can choose to turn them off once in a while. If the thought of actually going incommunicado elicits a twinge of anxiety, that may actually be a sign of how much you need some Internet-free time.
Whether you take an hour or a day away from the web or your smart phone, don’t worry: It’ll be there when you get back, along with everyone and everything that’s begging for your attention.
2. Get creative.
If you’re one of those charmed individuals who feels creatively fulfilled just doing your day-to-day work, congratulations. We all envy you. However, most of us have creative ambitions that we don’t get to express in our workaday world to the extent we’d like. If you have creative aspirations in music, art, writing, dance or some other medium, make time to explore them.
Connect with your artistic side, and you will be a happier person and a more creative business owner.
3. Connect with family and friends.
Spending quality time with people you care about and who care about you is time well invested. It pays off in emotional bonds that energize you to reach your full potential and help you weather rough spots when you need a shoulder to lean on. Not only is being with people you love healthy for you, it’s also fun.
So, make plans to attend a party this weekend, make a dinner date some night after work or enjoy a concert, play or movie with friends.
4. Have an adventure.
When you hear the word “adventure,” what do you think of? To some people, adventure means something thrilling: like whitewater rafting, skydiving or bungee jumping. For others, the perfect adventure involves camping, an epic bike ride or a road trip. Take a sabbatical if you’ve been longing to spend some quality time with yourself.
Whatever it is that quickens your pulse and stirs your imagination, make the leap from dream to reality by doing it. Not only is seeking adventure fun and energizing, but it can help you see life more as an adventure.
5. Take a vacation.
A vacation is one of the best breaks from the ordinary you can get because it takes you out of your usual work environment, so you’re no longer constantly surrounded by cues that remind you of work. Ideally, vacation is also a time when you take a break from the daily grind, and just try to relax and have fun.
But getting away from it all can also give you a new perspective on work and life that inspires you to make positive changes. If your budget doesn't allow a fullblown vacation, go on a "stay-cation." This means staying close to home and doing what makes you happy.
Taking breaks from work actually makes you more productive than working nonstop because it gives you time and space to live more fully and find out what makes you happiest. Some of the insights you get during breaks may change the way you live and work, making both your business and your life better.