by Ian Cowley, managing director of www.cartridgesave.co.uk
When you have a business to run and employees to manage, the very idea of taking a holiday seems ludicrous. However, having that time away from the office can give you a valuable sense of perspective.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that leading by example means chaining yourself to your desk. The real example to set staff is to give your battery a chance to recharge and return to work, raring to go.
Consider a physical activity.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have a friend who swears by sailing. He says it’s a fantastic way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally.
Firstly there’s absolutely no chance of thinking about the business when you’re focusing on tides, winds and sails, and constantly moving around the boat to keep yourself on course.
Secondly, a chance to get outside your comfort zone is a great way to test yourself and learn skills that are more transferrable than you think. When sailing with a team, you will need to learn new ways to communicate and lead. Particularly when staying afloat is a genuine – not literal – concern.
Thirdly, you benefit from time to think. When the ocean eventually becomes calm and you’re physically exhausted, you finally have the mental space to sit back and reflect on the bigger picture, rather than the minutiae of the day-to-day.
Reading is a great way to take time for yourself while also learning new ways to approach business and personal development. I read a lot of self-help books to benefit from what others have learnt.
One of the best I have ever read is called Delivering Happiness, written by the founder of the American online clothing retailer Zappos. It’s amazing. Everyone should read it.
Time to be alone.
‘Me time’ is an overused buzzword but it doesn’t make it any less important. Whether you opt for an hour on the sofa, a run or a walk in the country, taking time for yourself is vital to letting your brain rid itself of the daily grind. Allowing you to come back with new energy and clarity of thinking.
Technology is great, particularly for business, but sometimes we get so attached we forget how to function without it. Even when you’re not technically at work, no doubt you’re constantly checking emails until the second your head finally hits the pillow.
Take the time every now and again to fully unplug, particularly on holiday. Prepare for this by having a thorough handover with your number two before leaving them in charge to manage the day-to-day. Most importantly, actively stay away from emails to give yourself some breathing space.
Build in a buffer.
When returning to work, give yourself a head start. We’ve all had the return-to-work nightmare of trawling through your old emails while trying to kick-start the exciting new projects you’ve formulated on leave. Give yourself a buffer to catch up on emails and admin so that as soon as you set foot back in the office, it’s to move the company forward, rather than feel on the back foot.
Ian Cowley is the managing director of the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company – www.cartridgesave.co.uk.