Summer of 2012 is definitely on track to becoming the hottest summer in the history of the U.S. Unfortunately, if you are a small-business owner, you’re probably not spending the summer on the beach or by the pool. A recent Intuit survey shows that 55% of small-business owners work through most if not all holidays. If they do take a vacation, two-thirds of them worry about their businesses while they’re away.
I read a lot of articles that give business owners some good tips on how they can prepare for a vacation so they could really enjoy it. However, I decided to attack the matter from a different angle and talk about why small business owners HAVE TO take a vacation.
You need it. Two thirds of small businesses owners, who usually don’t take vacations at all, are constantly worried about their businesses on their one day off a year (!!!). That can have short- and long-term effects on their health; chronic stress can cause anxiety, depression, backache, and insomnia, to name a few.
Your family needs it. The survey I mentioned before makes it pretty obvious that small-business owners are usually very busy and worried about their businesses. Summer can be a great opportunity to invest some time in something that is not less important—family. Many studies concerning work-family balance show that work flexibility and the ability to take time off work to attend to familial needs can significantly influence the balance between the two major roles in your life: family member and business owner.
Your mind needs it. Since we are here to talk about business and your brain is your number-one work tool, here is how not taking a vacation is affecting it: According to Adam Galinsky, a professor from Kellogg Scholl of Management at Northwestern University, going on a vacation and taking time away from your day-to-day environment can help you view issues you face in your business from a more distant and broad perspective. Gaining that outsider’s perspective can help you think things over more creatively and logically. Traveling to a foreign country can enhance that experience. Being introduced to new cultures will open your mind and facilitate creative thinking, while helping you reconnect and understand your own identity better.
Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, has researched the benefits of mindfulness. She suggests that while on vacation you are more open to experience the world in a more mindful way, so you are more present and observant and less judgmental of the situation you are in. She suggests that going on a vacation is an opportunity to embrace the mindful state and try to incorporate it into day-to-day life.
I hope this post convinced you to take a vacation, if not for yourself, then for your business.