3 Reasons Small Business Owners Need More Breaks

When you run a small business, the thought of leaving it behind to enjoy yourself for any period of time can be daunting. There’s the unshakeable feeling that if you’re not there, you’ll miss an email for the best job of your life or there will be some kind of catastrophe that means you have no business to come back to. That’s certainly how we felt, which meant that we hadn’t taken a break from Broken Physics for 6 years! Little did we know, but this intense focus on constantly working on our business might have actually been doing harm to our creative output, and might be doing the same for you too. We took an exciting trip to Japan to shake things up and here’s our thoughts on why you should be taking more breaks from your work.

Sarusawa Pond

First and foremost, a break away from your work is the perfect way to protect yourself from burnout. The risk of burnout is always looming and there seems to be a pressure to be constantly ‘grinding’, almost as if you take a break away from your work then you’re not a real business person or creative. In reality, the opposite couldn’t be more true, and if you spend too long a period focussed entirely on work then you’re going to burn yourself out. When this happens, you may not be totally useless, but your productivity will drop and the work you put out may be sloppy or below your usual standard. This can be really damaging for a business and in a way it’s not your fault. When you’re physically and mentally exhausted you’re bound to make mistakes, but it is your fault in the sense that you let yourself get to this point. Over the last 6 years we have regularly found ourselves in burnout, but on return from our break we found that we were refreshed, creatively inspired and even more excited about the work that we do. Taking a break allowed us to rest, to allow our minds to think about something other than work and to take the time to do something for ourselves. Needless to say, we feel much having done this and would recommend taking breaks for this reason alone.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

A happy byproduct of taking a break is that you may actually learn something about the work that you do, or come back to work with the inspiration to do things in a different way. It’s not uncommon to get stuck in your ways, but taking a break away and perhaps seeing some new gives you the opportunity to reset and try out new ideas. Whilst in Japan we didn’t have our main filming cameras, but we did have our trusty Fuji XT-3 so that we could capture stills of our journey. Not having the framework and constraints of our daily working life meant that we could be playful with how we captured images when we wanted to be, and we were able to try out things that we wouldn’t usually. As a result, we returned creatively inspired and have since taken the things that we learned and discovered on our trip into our work. Whilst taking a break you don’t have to forget about your work entirely, but you can take the opportunity to explore new techniques, reconnect with what you do and return with a fresh perspective on work.

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Island

Perhaps just as important as developing professionally and creatively is developing yourself as a person, and taking breaks and having new experiences has to be one of the best ways to do this. By trying new and different things, you build that bank of experiences that you have, which is great from a personal and a business point of view. Most business is really about building a connection with people, at least in our industry, and by building your bank of personal experiences you increase the chances of connecting with people in a meaningful way. You increase the possibility of having a shared interest with a potential client, or at least showing them that you are a person and more than just your business. It was by no way the reason behind heading to Japan, but actually we have noticed that the experiences from our trip have helped us build even more developed connections with prospective and existing clients.

More than this though, meeting people from other places, or just people you’ve never met before, has the potential to shape the way you do business. We took note of some small details from Japanese life and business that really struck a chord with us, and have since taken them into our own business and personal lives. It can become easy to get stuck in your own little bubble, but a break away may be exactly what you need to shake things up for the better.

Gangi Taxi (雁木タクシー), Hiroshima

Take it from some people who didn’t take a break for a long time, taking the time off from work to develop professionally, creatively and personally will have a knock on effect on your business. We’ve seen the change in our work and the way that we do business and we think that you will too.