I used to think that as an entrepreneur, taking breaks is the last thing I needed to do.
I thought that if I just powered through every single day of my life, I can eventually reach my goals and see success.
I would watch YouTube videos and see people talking about how they worked non-stop and became successful.
I saw people like Bill Gates say they never took a day off in their 20s and so I immediately associated success with the notion of 'hustling' it out.
For the past almost two years of my life, that's exactly what I've tried to do.
I've just tried to battle it out and keep going, day after day, and it's worked.
However, every day I kept going, I could feel my body deteriorate - yearning for a break.
I recently reached 100 articles in 100 days and it felt like an amazing milestone to reach.
I've struggled with consistency my entire entrepreneurial journey yet I managed to write 100 articles in 100 consecutive days.
I was very happy I could reach a milestone like this.
By the 100th day, however, I could clearly see my writing quality slipping.
At the same time, some major changes with Hawk Prospecting are taking place and so I quickly found myself in a whirlpool of trouble.
I was stressed, anxious about the future.
I hate feeling that way, especially when I was so clear-sighted not long before.
My girlfriend made a wild suggestion which made me realise how naive I've been over the past two years.
She told me that I needed to take a break, just be lazy for a few days. Do something to take your mind off of work for once.
Over the past 3-4 days, that's exactly what I did.
- I slept in.
- I played with friends I haven't played with for a long time.
- I stopped focusing on work.
It felt like I just took one of Rumplestiltskin's contracts.
Although I tried to be as lazy as I could for a few days, It was still extremely difficult not to think about everything I'd eventually need to get back to.
Whilst on break, I managed to realise that I've neglected the one thing that will eventually take me to the goals I've set for myself - me.
In this article, I wanted to outline a few of the key reasons why taking breaks is profitable for entrepreneurs and why it's important we all fit them in our lives.
We're all human
As entrepreneurs, we always feel like we have something to prove.
We feel like if we outwork everyone, we'll somehow prove our point.
The reality is that overworking is counterintuitive, it's not what you should be aiming to do.
You should aim to be in a position where things are as easy as possible.
I understand though - wherever we look on the internet, all we hear is how hard it is to run a successful business.
Everyone talks about business as a challenge, rather than a way of life.
When started my first eCommerce business, I made drastic changes to my life.
I adjusted my morning routine.
I broke some 'bad habits' that I had previously - most importantly, gaming all day.
I even started to read a book a month which is one of the best decisions I've personally made.
I made the decision to work, work, work until I was successful.
The way I lived before I leaped into business was unhealthy, however, the way I was living after was not much of an improvement.
I went from gaming to being on a computer all day.
I stopped going out with friends and family so I can stay inside and focus on 'work.'
I started to neglect things that were extremely important to me in pursuit of a better, more free and fulfilling life.
This is not how we should be living, it's not how anyone should spend their time.
The one thing that's for certain in this world, is that our time does not replenish.
We're all human and so we should remember that as entrepreneurs.
We're not machines tasked with a singular goal, we're living, breathing organisms that need more than just the pursuit of a goal to drive them.
We need love and relationships.
We need rest and comfort.
We need happiness and laughter.
For the past two years, I've felt alienated, I forgot how all those things feel because I was so keen on reaching the goals I've set for myself.
From the moment I wake up, to the last memory I have before my mind wanders to sleep, all I thought about is business and reaching my goals.
It's incredibly difficult to not think about those things, however, what's not difficult is making the decision to take a break every now and then.
From now on, I believe that I will take a break once a quarter.
Every 3 months, I will take a break where I can laugh, where I can rest, where I can reunite with those I appreciate the most.
Every 3 months I'll put the stress and pressure of reaching those goals in the back of my mind and focus on the present - what's already in front of me.
Reality is that we've got everything to be grateful for, we're just lost in our pursuit of a better life that we don't take the time to see just how much we really have.
Remember you're human, it's only right to take breaks.
Clear your mind
Every day I wake up, my mind is immediately flooded with thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
It's like a switch in my body turns on the moment I gain some sort of consciousness that tells me 'it's business time.'
It's not a great feeling and chances are, you know exactly how that feels.
The best thing that happened to me during my break was the fact that I could take a break from that feeling.
When I woke up, I smiled when I realised that I wouldn't need to confront those thoughts and feelings today, it's a battle for another day.
I was happy that I had those things to worry about, however, I didn't need to deal with them today.
It's one of the best feelings ever - an almost stress-free state where you just forget everything going on behind the scenes whilst you focus on the present.
Don't get me wrong, you're not going to be able to totally avoid the thoughts creeping in.
It's a barrier I had to overcome on my first day taking a break.
In most cases, the thoughts and feelings stuck spinning around in our heads make it very difficult to think straight.
They make it extremely hard to clearly make decisions based on reason and not emotion.
When I felt like I had something important come to mind, I just made note of it and moved on with my day.
Instead of immediately acting on any and everything I thought of, I took the time to think about it first.
It felt great!
There is so much more to life than just our goals, but it becomes very hard to see once you're knee-deep in all of this.
Take the time to do things you used to do, things you liked to do.
Take the time to rediscover yourself and revisit old memories.
It was amazing when I caught up with friends and didn't need to think about business.
I was even able to share some of the wisdom I've gained over the past year or two giving some of them a better perspective on life and their own futures too.
The past few days were some of the best I've had in a long time.
Time to reflect
Your business is only a reflection of its driver.
If you're a scruffy, last-minute type of person then you're business will reflect those negative traits.
If you're a very determined, detail-oriented individual then your business will also reflect that.
If you're a passionate, hard-working, and relatable person, your business will sore with flying colours because it will reflect that.
When you start to think about your business, not as a thing, but as a part of yourself, its own living organism that needs to be taken care of by someone, things will change.
Think of a baby.
A baby can only grow up to be the best version of itself given the environment it's in and the people around it fit that vision.
If the parents are smart, well-mannered people that work hard, the baby will grow up to mimic those values.
However, if the parents are addicted to alcohol or smoking and they don't work, only complain about their life and situation, the child will only grow up to reflect those traits.
When we're working on our lives and businesses, it feels like we're running on a hamster wheel.
We're just going around and around with no clear indication of whether we're making progress or not.
Taking a break allows us to get off the hamster wheel and look at the bigger picture.
Only when we take care of ourselves will we be able to take care of our businesses.
We may not be fit to care for a business right now, and that's okay.
Take a break and use that time to reflect on everything that's going on in our lives.
We can get a better idea of where we're heading.
We can get a better view of the direction we're going.
When I was speaking to my friends yesterday, I asked them the question you may have seen around my blog:
"Is who you are today enough to take you to where you want to be?"
Take a break and answer this question - you'll realise that the answer will most likely be 'no.'
Map out how you will become the person you need to be and cast a new vision, a new direction for your life.
Make sure you're jumping into a successful life, not a game of duck, duck goose where you're just picking and chasing random opportunities.
Your life is in your hands.
It's your choice how you live it, just make sure the decision you make is right for YOU.
Those are my 3 most important reasons why taking breaks is profitable for entrepreneurs.
A lot of the time you'll also realise that you don't need to work as hard as you do.
You can take breaks every day if you really wanted to.
Don't let go of the things you enjoy for something you think you enjoy.
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Till next time,