Why Time Off is Good for You

Steve LudwigLife StuffLeave a Comment

woman laid on beach

I like to work. My guess is that you do too. 

That’s why you are in the startup world. You want to do the work it takes to see your idea become reality. 

Our team at The Right Five likes to work. If we didn’t we wouldn’t have started this company. 

It’s probably a safe bet that your team likes to work as well. That’s why they are at your startup. 

And, when you like to work and you are in startup mode, it seems like it could be the dumbest idea in the world to take honest-to-goodness time off.

But, if you want really want the best shot of success, you need to take time off. Our combined experience at The Right Five has proven this to be true and research backs it up. 

We know that different cultures have different approaches to vacation time. But, at startups, we are especially susceptible to burn out and, for some, time off is a sign of weakness. That is far from the truth.

If you are “busy” you are important, if you are “insanely busy” you are incredibly important. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. And, that may be true. But, that doesn’t mean you and your team are operating at their best. 

That’s why time off is important, “Research suggests that we will actually work harder, perform better, and have greater health, stamina, and enthusiasm for our work if we take time off.” We know that at B2B tech startups you need deep wells of stamina and enthusiasm, not taking time off for yourself or your employees actually hurts the company. 

Not all vacations are created equal. Saying you are going to Vegas for a few days to party, or taking a quick trip to a friend’s destination wedding, will likely leave you more exhausted than when you left.  

Other research has found that a planned vacation with social connections that are far from work and feel safe has the best chance to recharge your batteries. One of the key stress inducers for vacation is caused by not planning at least a month in advance. 

Taking real-time off has become even more important since COVID. The line between work and life has always been blurry in the startup world, now it is almost completely gone. That’s not good for our mental health or our overall productivity. You might be working more hours, but the quality and quantity of work aren’t necessarily following suit. 

At The Right Five do we practice what we preach? Mostly. We can always do better. But, each of our team takes the necessary time away—and that means time away from emails, text, WhatsApp, Slack, and what have you—to get our batteries recharged. 

Here is some hard-earned wisdom we learned about time off:

  • Unplug completely. Working holiday/vacations are not time off. They are working remotely with better scenery and better drinks. 
  • If you can’t completely unplug, schedule an hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to deal with truly important emails or calls. 
  • If even that is too much, try putting your phone on airplane mode for one or two hours, then check. Then, put it on airplane mode again. That’s a start. 
  • Set expectations with your team that you are unavailable except for the most urgent of issues. 
  • Let your clients know that you are traveling and unavailable. If there is an urgent matter, have one of your team as the lead contact. They can decide if it is important enough to disrupt you. 
  • Give yourself enough time to unwind. This can be a few days to a full week or longer, depending on the person. 
  • Tell people you are traveling out of the city/country, even if you are not. It’s a white lie, but they will be less likely to bother you if they think you are further away. 
  • Don’t make planning a vacation another job. It’s okay to hire a travel agent to give you a hand if you need some help. 
  • We understand money can be an issue, but sometimes the cheapest options for travel and lodging wind up costing more than what’s on the bill. Often times it makes sense to pay a little more for a better experience. 
  • Don’t over-schedule yourself. Leave room to discover—or just take naps. 
  • We know some people can’t do the previous advice, so if you do have a packed schedule, give yourself permission to cancel things. If you stress out to get everything in, that will not leave you refreshed. 
  • If you are traveling with your partner and/or family:
    • Discuss/negotiate your needs and expectations for the trip.
    • Discuss what do to if there is a disagreement about the schedule and how you might resolve it.
    • Discuss if you need to do a couple of activities on your own.
    • Having this understanding before you leave helps ensure a successful trip.

Not only do we help you get your first Sales hire right the first time, we also provide life coaching. You’re welcome!

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