Allow time to recharge in the summer

Bill Christopher

For many individuals and businesses Summer is the most hectic time of the year. Tourism (other folks taking vacations) is at its peak, days are longer, school is out, and just more things needing to get done. As a result, it may be difficult for you to think about taking time off to recharge. However, this may be the most important time to consider it.

Research has shown repeatedly that taking a break (even a small one) will increase your productivity, boost creativity and most importantly improve your mood. Taking time away from work provides an uplifting emotional recharge that will help you resist burnout. There is likely never a good time to take off so just plan it well and do it.

Most Americans have more accrued vacation time than they will ever use. Vacation time is a benefit much like your salary and should be used. Your employer has made the decision to provide you with time-off because they know occasional breaks from your daily job are crucial to maintaining your quality of work, since many people burn out when they are never able to get away. It is your responsibility to figure out how to use that time.

That does not mean just turn off your computer one day and say, “I am on vacation”, you need to have a plan and communicate that plan. This will make your vacation more relaxing as you will know things will be handled in your absence.

Identify as far in advance as you can when you will be taking time off. Then just take a few small actions that will help you relax while gone:
• Be sure key elements of your job are documented such that they can be done by someone else
• Work with co-workers to get them to cover pieces of your job that will need to be done while you’re gone
• Let your boss know you have made these arrangements
• Make sure that your voice mail message and email autoreply both let people know that you’re away and when they can expect a response, and/or whom to contact for help in your absence
• Then go on vacation, unplug and relax.

As a business owner or manager, it can be even more difficult to make the decision to take time off. However, there is additional research that suggests that taking time off is beneficial, not only for you personally, but for your business as well.

Running your business on low batteries may cause you to make mistakes that will cause you to lose business or worse yet to go out of business. The reality is if you or your employees are starting to experience burnout you will not be able to bring your best efforts to the table and the business will suffer.

In all but the rarest cases, your business can survive without you for a week or two. For these reasons you need to plan to make the time to get away to allow yourself and your business to run at peak performance.

You may well not be able to take time in the summer but there are three other seasons of the year to make it happen.

Editor’s note: Mr. Christopher is the President and CEO of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. His column appears on the first Wednesday of every month in this publication.

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