We all understand the absurdity of that old adage “sleep is for the weak”. That attitude has been put to rest by a bevy of studies empirically showing that sleep in fact makes you smarter, stronger, and more creative. But when it comes to extended rest and relaxation, there still exists a sort of taboo.
I recently got back from a five day holiday vacation to the Puerto Rican island of Culebra, planned last minute because I felt dangerously close to burning out. Every time I talked to anyone about the trip, I included the disclaimer “it’s only my third break since Amicus was founded”. Every time. It was only once I was lying on a beach that I realized what I was doing: I was making excuses for taking a break because I felt guilty. To my teammates, to my friends, to fellow entrepreneurs. I might as well have been saying “vacations are for the weak”.
Professional runners take long breaks between marathons. They make no excuses for this, and no one judges them for it, because everyone knows that rest and recuperation is an essential part of being a pro athlete. The same is true for entrepreneurs (and everyone, really). Preventing burnout is part of your job. Staying well rested is part of your job. Sleep and exercise help, but occasional extended breaks are essential too, and their benefits on creativity, productivity, and happiness are well documented.
It’s time we stopped making excuses for rest and relaxation. Doing so is not only bad for you, but sends the wrong message to the rest of your team. So next time you’re planning a vacation, announce it with pride.