Its no secret that to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to give it your all and work 70+ or even 100+ hour work weeks, but its also important to afford yourself some time to relax! Here is some food for thought to help convince you to take a break from those emails and enjoy the season:
Get off that couch! Leisure doesnt mean idleness
In Ancient Greece, the word for leisure was sch?. Can you guess what English word is derived from sch?? (Hint: Its scholar) In ancient days, sch? would mean that one had leisure to engage in activities that improved the construction of the soul. For the ancients, working too much or being too idle would weigh down the soul like gravity, resulting in an incorrect disposition of the reason, spiritedness, and desire that was present in the soul. Plato encouraged the pursuit of activities that are done for the ends itself free from obligation or fiscal gain.
The best part about working for a startup is that for most entrepreneurs, they love their company. Personal identity is existentially tied into the business well-being, but its important to have leisure from the business. Schedule some time for personal development, whether it be talking ideas over drinks with friends, going on a hike, or reading a great book. These brief moments of leisurely improvement can help you be a better entrepreneur and you might even experience some epiphanies while doing so!
Innovation can fly over your head while it is down:
If youre constantly keeping yourself busy, you might miss out on the deceptively simple things that can lead to that eureka moment youve been looking for. Archimedes, an ancient Greek polymath and problem-solver discovered the solution for finding out the purity of the gold in the kings crown not while he was actively working on solving the problem. Archimedes in fact ended up realizing the solution when he took a break to step in a bath and realized that the volume of water displaced is equal to the volume of the object submerged the worlds first a-ha! moment.
Likewise, Isaac Newton chanced upon a theory of gravitation when he observed an apple falling from a tree as he was taking a leisurely stroll with his friends.
Take a lesson from these great thinkers and get your head above the clouds to catch some sunlight. When your mind is bogged down with work, the innovation that could be so obvious might not make itself readily apparent.
Blocking out time for active rest and relaxation not idleness is important to personal as well as professional success. Even the President of the United States needs to go golfing sometimes to recharge. Think of breaks and vacations not as time off from work, but as time to recharge to work.
Work-life balance has been a big debate ever since the dawn of the work day. Here are some great articles that offer more thoughts on this struggle: