Working Hard or Hardly Working?

There is plenty of science that stresses the need to take a break to recharge every now and then.

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When I interviewed Sam Ransdell, operations manager of Burney True Value Hardware for the Dealer Profile, something he said really struck a chord. He repeated “We don’t do anything halfway” a few times. This expression reminded me of a family motto (except the language used was less polite than Ransdell’s): If you’re going to halfway something, don’t do it at all.

This saying always meant to me that, if you’re not going to do your best, the task, project or goal probably isn’t worth doing. After all, who derives any pleasure or sense of achievement from poor performance? I’m sure I’m not the only child who’s heard this suggestion before, but as much as I loathed it back then, it’s how I live my life now. It is this mindset that drives me in overtime, but it is also this mindset that causes me to get carried away, at times, to my own detriment.

After reflecting on the first motto, it refreshed my memory of another catchphrase used in my house, which was: Do as I say, not as I do. I know these two sayings seem unrelated, but the fact that I don’t halfway anything typically leads to putting in extra hours, which leads to less time to relax and recharge.

What I want to share with you—whether you’re a workaholic, perfectionist or nine-to-fiver—is I hope you take the time this holiday season to enjoy what matters most to you. I frequently feel guilty if I take the time to relax when I have an ever-growing to-do list, but this is a counterproductive thought pattern.

You may suffer from this counterproductive thinking, too, especially if you’re self-employed. After all, time is money. No slouches here. But without disputing the fact that time is money, there is still plenty of science that stresses the need for business owners and employees to take a break every now and then. In fact, these hiatuses can actually enhance your performance when you return to work.

According to the American Psychological Association, “To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires switching off from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. That’s why it’s critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences … When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best.”

What better time to remind you all of that than now. Don’t let business burn you out over the holidays. Use what time you’re given to recharge. It could be just the refresher you need to perform even better in the New Year.