How does maximising your days off increase your productivity?

productivity wellbeing Apr 13, 2022

When it comes to starting a business or being freelance, there is a well-known tendency for entrepreneurs to work more hours than the average person and be prone to thinking about their business during the hours of resting. 


Did you know that 69% of small business owners read or reply to emails in their ‘free’ time?


Here, you can find our article answering: How hard do small business owners work? 


With a clear determination of small business owners trying to find extra hours to work on their businesses and sacrificing family time to do so, it's also important to evaluate how time off can positively impact productivity and efficiency levels. With time allocated for resting the mind and the body frequently interrupted by the ability to have work available digitally twenty-four hours a day, owners aren’t providing themselves with adequate rest time to perform at their best. By using their spare time to quickly respond to everything and anything, although at the time it appears positive and consistent from the perspective of their clients, sources and customers, after an extended period of time there is little rest occurring for that business owner. 


If in the future a business scales and has multiple employees, a school of thought on this subject is would they pay their future employees to take time off work?


If they knew that it would boost their motivation, productivity, efficiency, consistency and office morale amongst other things, would they financially facilitate their employee's time off for the benefit of their business?


So, what can maximising days off as a small business owner, start-up, or freelancer do?


Reducing Burnout 


‘The research shows that far from being a brake on performance, that vacations actually increase productivity. Humans are simply more productive when rested. Researcher Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80%. Reaction times of returning vacationers increased 40% in his study.’


Burnout is the term used to describe someone who has had prolonged exposure to stress, often excessive stress, causing a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Its main symptoms show the body trying to make the person stop what they’re doing that is causing them to become overwhelmed. Exhaustion is the body physically begging them to stop. By planning and maximising their time off, whether employee or business owner, they can reduce the likelihood of experiencing burnout and the recovery time needed from burnout will often be greater than the time taken off. 


Removing stressors to give the body the time to recharge


Taking time off includes removing work interruptions. Whether it is a holiday abroad or just a day at home, it's crucial that the time allocated away from work is just that. Without removing the points that can cause stress during this time the body doesn’t have the correct type of time to recover. Although a single email, or two, doesn’t feel like it could have any impact, over time this builds up and can create burnout related problems. 


Emotional Health 


Time-off is solely about recovery. Similar to athletes, they have to have time to recover their bodies to maintain their peak physical fitness. The brain as a very important organ of the body needs time to rest and recover just like any other part of the body. To be healthy and happy, the brain needs adequate time to recover and recuperate. This time-off isn’t just pleasant but is essential for healthy functioning. The time allows the brain to do crucial background processing that can only occur when ‘switched off’. There are five important benefits for emotional health that occur from taking time off; they are improved cognitive function, improved mental resilience, improved productivity, improved resilience and the ability to have better relationships with others. 


Retaining employees


‘Adding a week of vacation "has been the most successful retention program we have ever had." 

Jancoa slashed its retention problems from 360% to 60% in two months after adding a third week of vacation. Sales increased 15%.’

Mary Miller, Jancoa


For those who have employees or work frequently with the same freelancers, there's an important takeaway for both owner and worker in regards to making the most of their time off. When a business owner maximises their time off and ensures that they are well-rested, they promote a healthy and professional image allowing their employees to confidently and effectively manage the tasks that are set for them. When they encourage their employees to maximise their time off, they increase their retention rate along with multiple positive benefits like increased productivity and efficiency. 


Ways to maximise resting time during the week:


There are many tools that people can employ in their daily life to help them maximise their hours in their day without needing to take a week away from work. It is still important to dedicate time specifically for rest on days when work doesn’t occur, but here are some daily and weekly activities that can help reduce the risk of burnout. 



  • Morning routine



Setting the day up for success and making sure there is time allocated in the morning without interruption can help to get everyone's day off to a good start. A morning routine can be very simple, but a mindset that this is dedicated time away from work can make a helpful difference. 



  • Walking 



Whether it's changing to taking the stairs instead of the elevator, the movement aspect of walking and getting in physical exercise within the day helps the mind and body to remain healthy. If a short walk can be implemented into the day it can help encourage the release of endorphins boosting mental health. 



  • Knowing when to stop



Planning a workday can also make a world of difference to allowing the brain to rest each day. By finding a happy medium of what can be achieved within a day and making sure to stop at the end of the day, the brain has the opportunity to switch off and have time to recover every day. 


  • Healthy sleep


Quality sleep is crucial for productivity and should be prioritised. When sleeping, the brain creates and maintains specific pathways. These pathways are crucial for memory retention and formation helping to increase problem-solving skills and enhance learning. When thinking of performance in the workplace, healthy sleep can make the biggest positive impact. 


Overall, by maximising time-off during the day, week, month and year, increased performance can be achieved along with a healthier outlook and positive mindset. Its important for both business owners and employees to evaluate how they use their time off so that they can make the most of their time at work. 

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