Why Taking Time Off Will Make You a Better Leader

For many people, taking time away from work and the daily hustle and bustle is difficult. We all get caught up in the whirlwind of working and taking care of those around us. Recently, I have realized more and more that in order to have creative ideas and the ability to think like a leader, I must give my brain a break.

A few days ago, I was talking to a representative from a company who wants to book one of my talks on leadership. He said that he would like for me to come right after the Easter holidays because people’s minds are much more receptive to new ideas right after a holiday. Why is this?

The theory is that when we slow down and give our brains a rest from the daily frenzy of activity that they normally experience, we open our minds to huge creative forces. Have you ever experienced your mind just shutting down because there was too much going on around you or you were under great stress?

I actually experienced this myself during the last holiday I took. It was during a very busy period for me, so I asked my husband to monitor me and keep me away from my email. It was very difficult at first, but after a few days I started to notice that my dreams were more vivid and my mind was literally teeming with new ideas.

Taking time to reflect on your life and your business is crucial. You have to give yourself that necessary time for your mind to shut off the normal stresses and worries so that you can tap into that fountain of wisdom that resides inside of your soul. Reflection should be something that you actively do, and not just some passive activity that only happens by accident. For instance, we should not save reflection time for those moments when we are sick and forced to take a day off.

Doing the things you already know how to do will just leave you stagnant, so you must take that time to think and reflect over your business to cultivate new and exciting ideas. Stagnation is the first step to business death in any entrepreneur’s world. You should pursue learning every single day as a part of building your life and your business.

When people think about learning, they imagine sitting in a classroom or maybe reading a book. However, another aspect of learning that often gets overlooked is assessing the cause and effect of your own actions. You should be thinking about things you have already done and what effect they have had on your business and life. This is a part of learning from your own unique experiences.

So how do you get enough time to reflect? We all have moments in the day to take a few minutes to think. It might be when you are taking your morning shower, walking the dog or sitting in an airplane seat. Unfortunately, we often try to fill every space of time with checking our email or playing on our cell phone instead of sitting in silence. Learning to sit with yourself and just reflect may take some practice at first, but it will be so worth it in the end.

Being reflective should be something that you strive for and even schedule into your day if necessary. Use it as an action step to success instead of just a discarded moment in time where you had nothing else to do. Don’t confuse reflection with daydreaming as reflection is using your mind in a purposeful way to examine your actions and thoughts.

If we never slow down and think, how will we ever learn from past actions and possible mistakes? Aren’t we destined to repeat potentially catastrophic mistakes over and over if we never reflect on their outcome?

Author: Stefania Lucchetti, Of Counsel at BonelliErede

Milan Area, Italy