A Reflection on Overworking

We’ve all read the articles. We’ve all heard the general words of wisdom from other entrepreneurs. Sleep is for the weak, and if you pause to rest for a moment, you’ll surely fail. I’m here to give you permission to ignore that.

The Importance of Rest

There is much to be said about work ethic, and managing your time wisely. It’s easy to sink weeks or months of time into a project without a minute to breathe. This is the unavoidable cost of starting a business, and while you’ll never avoid it completely, it’s important to remember to rest when you have the chance – even set aside specific time for it.

I love the outdoors. If I could, I’d spend all my time traveling, camping and hiking. I find that it gives me a chance to step away, unplug and unwind. I wake up with the sun and I go to sleep when I’m tired. If possible, I pack my phone away, and spend several days with only a general idea of what time it is.

Obviously, this isn’t for everyone, but I’d suggest trying to find something that is not work related, and then giving yourself permission to take time off to do it – uninterrupted by work.

Research suggests that this is necessary for your mental health and that directly translates to productivity.

The Science

Research suggests that sleeping helps solidify learned skills.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nn1200_1237

Anecdotally, you’ve probably experienced this before. You’re beating your head against a wall to solve a problem and finally give up for the night. You crawl into bed wondering if you’ll ever figure it out. Suddenly, from a dead sleep, you wake up to a “Eureka!” moment. Frustration and sleep deprivation have a unique way of inhibiting problem solving skills. Sometimes it’s just better to try again later.

Breaks really do make you more productive

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2165079916653416

I would argue that there is no excuse for not making time to take a vacation, but if you find that you just can’t get away, at least take time for regular breaks. You’ll find that you’re more productive if you step away for a few. If you’re finding it difficult to do this, set specific times for breaks and stick to them.

Final Thoughts

Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Money is only useful when you have time to enjoy it, and your future self will thank you for the much-needed vacation. It’s unlikely that you’ll look back with regret on that time you took a road trip instead of squeezing in one more project.