The importance of down time for your business

- April 29, 2015 2 MIN READ

To many, being a good business person is all about operating at 110%, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So when is the right time to give ourselves a break?

Every day I use a website called HabitRPG (the RPG stand for role-playing games.) HabitRPG (as its name suggests) tracks your habits in a gaming type environment, giving you small rewards for doing the ‘right’ thing.

If you do the wrong thing (for example failing to log in and tick off your habits/to-dos after a while), your little character can die.

Are you ‘that little guy’?

The reason programs like HabitRPG are so addictive is because they mirror (and play on) how we operate in the real world.

Which means we all have a little HabitRPG program built into our brains and it’s telling us if we aren’t ticking all the boxes every day, we’re failures. It tells us our business will die an unseemly death if we don’t:

  • deliver the best customer service we can,
  • get a specific number of tasks completed,
  • bring a certain amount of new clients on board, and,
  • in general, hit all our targets.

Every day.

So when are we allowed to give ourselves down time?

I don’t know about you but I travel in cycles. Some months of the year I burn intensely bright, and push, push, push, reading business books, learning new things and actively building my business.

Other months of the year (because I suffer from anxiety), I just get by. I do the bare minimum because it’s all I can cope with. This cycle normally goes around every three months: at the start I burn, at the end I rest, and then I go again.

A lot of people who would consider this failure. They would think “I’m not doing this ‘running a business thing’ right if I don’t check  in every day, tick off every box and achieve every goal.”

Ultimately however, we all have to do what works for us.

My way allows me  to run my business in a successful way. I don’t push myself to be more when I can’t. I’ve learned what my boundaries are and how to work within them. If I didn’t allow my down times to happen, burnout would occur in a very short space of time and bam, my business would flat-line. Not a single heartbeat left.

What works for you might be to go hard during the week but totally shut down on weekends.

Or it might be to simply take a day off at whatever point you find yourself on the brink.

The important thing here is to recognise is that down time is not weakness, it’s a strength.

Today I learned I can put my HabitRPG character in the ‘local inn’ to rest. So when I’m sick, my character goes to the inn and sleeps, and THEY DON’T DIE.

Given HabitRPG mirrors the real world, there’s a clear message there I think: don’t be afraid to check yourself into the inn for a rest!

Do you find it hard to have down time for your business? Do you tend to wait til you’re completely burnt out to do so?