Take a Day Off to Increase Productivity

Posted by Joseph Sherren on August 29, 2016

At a morning business meeting with my colleague Mike Cassidy, we were reminiscing about how hard it is to find time to connect. We discussed how the latest technologies are causing many of us to work seven days a week.  But, are we really getting more stuff done? Prevailing research says no.

Entrepreneurs often worry that if they stop working for even one day every week, business will suffer. But, there are many examples of just the opposite. Take for instance Chick-fil-A. Founder, S. Truett Cathy, who made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Ga.

He believed that all franchised Chick-fil-A operators and employees should be able to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose. That’s why all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays.

“It’s part of our recipe for success.”

David Green started his arts and crafts stores, Hobby Lobby, in the late ’70s, and grew it into a monster chain. In 1991, he started closing on Sundays — which was a big risk, since Sundays had the largest sales. It took some time to recover from the loss, but since then, business has more than made up for it.

In P.E.I., Sarah Bennetto O’Brien owns a wonderful little restaurant in Borden-Carleton called ’Scapes – Fresh, Local, Takeout.’ The restaurant closes every Monday, no matter what – all year round.  She knows she could increase her revenue, especially in the summer, if she was open seven days a week.

From the beginning, it was important for Sarah to spend at least one day a week dedicated just to family.  Any revenue loss is not as important as taking time for herself and family.

Ask any doctor and most will tell you a day of rest is essential for health. Or any top athlete − they will tell you a day of rest is needed for muscles to repair themselves. Philosophers from centuries ago will tell you a day off is essential for the mind to develop.

Leonardo da Vinci said,

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”

Most religious leaders will tell you time away from work is vital for the soul. Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i, and Hindu (among others) teach the importance of setting aside a day of rest.

It is no coincidence that doctors, religious leaders, philosophers and athletes all tell us the same thing: take a day off each week. It is crucial for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  So, why do so many of us go against all this wisdom?

Most will say they are extremely busy. There are too many things to get done, too many demands, too many responsibilities. Moreover, we cannot afford to take time off in today’s results-oriented economy. Regrettably, this 24/7 mentality is damaging our quality of life.

If this is resonating with you,

Here are a few ideas for a healthier, happier life:

  • Start with baby steps:  Begin by shutting down at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.  Then gradually increase to at least one full day.
  • Create a “Monday” to-do list:  By writing out a timetable on Friday, your mind will rest knowing it will be taken care of.
  • “Have a contest to achieve time-off milestones”
  • Find an accountability buddy:  Entrepreneurs are naturally competitive.  Connect with someone with the same issue, and whom you like, to keep each other on track.  Make it a contest for who achieved more full days off.

My question for managers this week: In which activities will you engage to give your body and brain a day off from work?

If you are responsible for writing annual performance reviews OR are the direct supervisor of an employee, join us for a webinar  called “A Better Alternative to the Annual Performance Review” on September 29th featuring international business transformation specialist, Joe Sherren, CSP, HoF, Fellow GSF.

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