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Firstly, says Royston Guest, author, of Built to Grow, let me deal with an urban myth which says the more hours you work, the more you will get done. In reality, the more hours you work, the less productive you become. Why? Because we all need quality downtime. With 24/7 connectivity it’s tough to completely switch off.


Whether it’s a two-week stint abroad, a staycation, a long weekend or even regular breaks during the working day, it’s the time we should use to calm our mental chatter, re-energise and re-charge ourselves.

Here are 5 reasons why leaders and business owners need to take a break;

#1 To avoid burnout at work

Burnout at work is real and maybe more common than you think. The UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define work-related stress, depression or anxiety as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. In 2016, 11.7 million working days were lost due to this condition alone, with the main work factors cited by respondents being workload pressures, tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

Once you acknowledge your personal emotional wellbeing is on an equal footing to your capability to perform your role, you understand it’s the energy source powering your performance. When it’s low, your performance is low impacting both the short and long-term performance of the business.

#2 To test the impact of your absence

The mark of a great leader is how things operate whilst you’re away. Whilst we all want to feel needed and in demand, a great leader will use the opportunity to test how things run, how the team copes and makes decisions. Their goal is not to trip people up, but to test the impact of their absence. You should take confidence that the business runs well in your absence and if not seek to build your leadership style and your people so that it can.

#3 To build the habit of prioritizing & delegating tasks

How many times do we look at our to-do list and think ‘I’ve got so much to do, I just haven’t got the time to do it all’. Whilst that might be true, the question to ask is; ‘what have I got to do today, tomorrow, before I leave for my break away from the office?’ A period of absence away from the office really focuses the mind on what’s urgent, important, unimportant and just plain ‘noise’. Chunk up your work into manageable daily tasks and delegate tasks where you can, and when you return from your break away, keep these principles in place.

#4 To agree your ‘Quality Downtime’

Whilst the utopia is being able to leave work and not think about it for the next two weeks for some business owners and leaders this is just not realistic and you need to be grounded in reality to make this work. If a complete shutdown is not an option for you simply block out quality downtime instead; short, regular breaks where you switch off and are in the moment. You may agree to check in with the office every morning and evening but outside of this you are off the grid and none contactable.

#5 ‘A calm mind is your ultimate weapon against your challenges’ (Bryant McGill)

This quote sums it up for me. Take comfort knowing that subconsciously your mind will be using the opportunity to work through any mental blockages you may be experiencing. Whilst lying on a sun lounger that ‘aha’ moment that you couldn’t quite get to or the solution to a problem that you couldn’t quite fathom may just come to you without even trying or thinking about it. Why? Because you’ve actually given your mind space to work, to think it through without forcing it.

Royson GuestRoyston Guest is a global authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. He is CEO of Pti-Worldwide, author of #1 best-selling business growth book, Built to Grow and founder of livingyourfuture™.  Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Connect with him on LinkedIn or check out his weekly blog at