One of the major issues for almost all entrepreneurs is increasing their revenue, cash flow, and personal income. Let me tell you one shocking and somewhat scary fact:
The secret to dramatically increasing your productivity and your income lies in taking more free time
away from your business. It may seem counterintuitive or even crazy to think of free time—time away
from all business-related thinking and activity—as essential to productivity.
However, over 20 years of experience with entrepreneurs has shown that entrepreneurs are at their most creative and productive when they’ve had real time off. They make better decisions, see opportunities
more clearly, and make more money.
How does this happen? Taking free time allows you to recharge your mental batteries and approach problems and opportunities with renewed ingenuity on your return. Conversely, when you’re tired, everyone else seems stupid, and even simple tasks take longer.
Imagine it this way: If you looked at your whole year, 365 days, then took a number of days for working completely off the board, you’d have to be a lot more focused and deliberate in order to accomplish your goals in the remaining time. You’d find more strategic and efficient ways to get your work done. You‘d
say no to time-wasters and to activities and people who don‘t deserve your best attention. Too often, we live out the adage, “Work expands to fill the time allotted.” And when any day can be a workday, it’s easy to find yourself working all the time.
In today‘s knowledge economy, doing things the same way over and over again doesn’t give you a competitive edge. You get that edge from combining ideas and technologies in new ways and coming up with original solutions that clients and customers are willing to pay for. If you‘re tired, how easy is it to come up with a creative, innovative approach? Fatigue, burnout, and a lack of energy decrease
communication, originality, and risk taking. If you really want to grow your business, you actually need to get away from it. As scary as taking time off may be, it shifts your thinking, your motivation, and your capabilities in important ways that help you accomplish more in less time and raise your whole company to a new level of productivity.
And while we’re on that subject, let’s talk more about how this affects the rest of your company. As one famous saying goes: “You never know how good your team is until you leave.“ If you‘re always there as the go-to person and decision-maker, your team will never exercise their decision-making muscles, and never gain the confidence from having true responsibility and accountability.
When you take time away from your business, you give your team members an opportunity to gain confidence and capability in your absence. After all, your greatest innovations as an entrepreneur were probably a result of learning from mistakes! When you go away, and your team finds ways to handle whatever situation arises, they feel a tremendous sense of ownership over their growth and become personally invested in the contribution they make to your organization. You might be surprised at how often we hear entrepreneurs who’ve figured this out say, with a big grin on their faces, “My team is happy when I’m gone — they get more done!” It’s a tremendously liberating feeling to know that your team
has the day-to-day running of the business under control and that you can focus on strategizing for growth, creating new solutions to bring in more revenue, or doing whatever you love most that creates the best results in your business.
Though it may seem like a radical concept, the time you take off is always more than made up for in the productivity gains that result. We’ve seen this in virtually every industry and with every size of entrepreneurial business. One of the first things I try to tell my teams is help them plan and take more time off, even if it’s a leap of faith at first.