Why It’s Important to Spend Time NOT Working

Last Friday morning here in Quebec, we had a province-wide power outage that affected over 900,000 people due to a major wind storm of 100 km/h (62 mph). The power outage lasted in our case almost 48 hours.

I took this time to do some reading, clean up my office, read some more and after sunset hubby and I enjoyed eating some snacks, playing crib and a dice game called Bupkis by candlelight. We tried to make the best out of the situation and enjoy the quiet time with no distractions. Other than it being cold, we actually had a nice 2-day break.

This got me thinking, how I had no choice but to take time off and despite the conditions, I completely enjoyed it. I got a few things done, spent quality time with my husband and pets and did some reading. Not bad for 2 days with no electricity.

So let me ask you…

When was the last time you took time off from your work?

When was the last time you spent your evenings actually spending quality time doing something you love or with your family and not in front of your computer or phone, finishing up all the work you need to get completed before the morning? You tell yourself it’s just a few emails. It’s just a small project. Maybe a phone call or two. You’re tired and you’d rather be doing something else, but this has to get done!

Why You Need to Take Time Off From Work

While it might feel like you have a ton of work to do and your business will crumble if you take some time off, it’s vital that you take deliberate time off from work. According to recent studies, stroke could be an even bigger risk than a heart attack for people who are overworked! The study found that individuals who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack and 33% more likely to suffer a stroke than people who worked 35-40 hours per week.

This is just one of the many health problems that occur in overworked people. There are many other health risks that the stress and exhaustion from overworking pose on your mind and body. According to a summary report in The Economist, “…the greater the number of hours worked per year, the greater the likelihood of premature death and poor quality of life.”

How to Get More Time Off

“Take more time off work,” is much easier said than done. Your business needs you; you might be bursting with ideas, or laden with responsibility. Taking time off isn’t something that happens naturally or easily!

That being said, it’s important to make time off a priority! Here are three ways you can get more time off more frequently:

1. Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day

Just like you schedule in meetings, calls, events, and projects, you need to schedule in a few short breaks throughout your day. These don’t have to be extended periods of time, but letting yourself rest, meditate, eat, or just relax for 10 to 15 minutes every few hours throughout your day will help.

Switching your attention to something calming or enjoyable throughout the day helps your brain work differently and solve other types of problems. It helps you relax more and be more prepared to better handle your workload.

2. Take More Vacations

Generally, employees are offered a set amount of vacation days per year. Unfortunately, it’s rarely a sufficient amount of time off to be considered healthy! Less than two weeks off work for an entire year is hardly anything, and many employees don’t even use up all their vacation days! Not to mention, when you own your own business, vacation days are so much harder to take!

When was the last time you went on a vacation, be it a long weekend trip or a few weeks long? How often do you let yourself have a significant time off where you don’t bring any work with you? Increase that time as much as you can. Get into different environments. Replenish your passion and energy!

3. Take a Whole Day Off Work Every Week

It’s so tempting to pull out your phone and answer emails throughout a lazy Sunday. It’s easy to get on your computer and work through a project over the weekend. “Days off” aren’t actually days off when you’re working!

Challenge yourself to put your work away for an entire day at least once a week. Don’t get on your phone to respond to messages or use your computer to finish projects. Relax for an entire day, you can always get back to work the next day.

Remember to choose you, rest is important for both your mind and body.

Have an easy day and remember to take breaks 🙂


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