Small business owners may find it challenging to disengage from their business activities. According to a finding a few years ago from the Alternative Advisory Board, 97% of small business owners work weekends, some every weekend and some at least one day each weekend. But staying connected all of the time can be a big mistake. You risk your health, raise safety concerns, and may not be productive beyond a certain point. In Japanese, it’s called karoshi (pronounced kah-roe-she), which means death from overwork. Don’t let this happen to you.
What can you do to ensure that your business runs smoothly while you take the time off that’s needed for personal health and family matters?
What does “workless” mean?
Understand what workless means so that you can really benefit from being disengaged. Even though you may be away from your workplace, it’s all too easy to remain connected through your mobile devices. To be workless, don’t check email, text messages, and social media on your off-time.
If you receive business phone calls on your smartphone, think twice before answering it. Consider letting it go to voicemail so you can determine whether the call is time-sensitive or can wait.
If you have a home office, shut the door! It’s all too easy to just view your email or do simple chores there, but you won’t be workless if you do.
If the nature of your business is 7 days a week (e.g., a restaurant or retail establishment), you’ll need to designate someone who’s in charge in your absence. Be sure to give this person the authority needed to handle emergencies in your absence.
Make sure that your staff and your customers know your days off, and respect this arrangement.
Religious people think that God got it right by setting aside the Sabbath as a day of rest each week. Whether or not you spend this day once a week attending religious services or just use the time to be away from work, the benefits can be significant. I can attest to this. Years ago I stopped working one day a week and truly believe that without this time off I’d have burned out long ago.
While not as beneficial as one or two days off each week, consider spending some time each day on nonbusiness matters. Schedule time each day for nonbusiness activities, such as exercising, doing hobbies, meeting friends, and of course being with family. Depending on your work situation, it may even be possible to take a short nap mid-day to recharge yourself.
Maybe achieving the ideal work-life balance isn’t possible for all small business owners, but being cognizant of the need to aim for it and take steps to make it happen is essential.
Maya Angelou said, “Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, nor solutions searched for.”
It’s up to you to make this happen.