Rest to get the Best from Your Small Business

Everyone does it. And no one seems to want to stop.

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful, said Mae West.

Or is it?

An unusual trend among working people, is that people love to work and spend a lot of hours at the work they love. Every small business owner I have ever advised, worked non-stop. And perhaps complained, and would ask me about that work-family balance nonsense, but then would excuse herself to answer an important cell call. (There are no unimportant cell phone calls.)

Non-stop work is bad for your health and bad for your productivity.

Studies show that working 21 continuous hours has the same effect as being drunk. Yes, working too much is a real high.

Among industrialized nations, none work more hours than the US of A. The two-martini lunch has been replaced with jolts of caffeine — to stay awake. Americans don’t drink to escape from work and sleep; we remain at work awake and become drunk. Starbucks has replaced Archie’s Bar.

And no one works harder or more hours than the boss. And you, the small business owner, will openly admit to working harder and more hours than any one.


(No one likes martyrs, that’s why they killed so many of them.)

Your Business Blogger would suggest that business productivity and employee health can be improved by working fewer hours.


I know. I wouldn’t want to stop either. But I have a trick. An answer to those 60-hour work weeks.

Put those hours into 6 days — not 7. Take a day off. Yes, yes, a whole day.

Stay with me now. Businesses actually have this as policy.

Chick-fil-A, with 1,250 restaurants and sales of almost $2 billion, takes a day off.

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, made the decision to close on Sunday in 1946 when he opened his original restaurant…in Hapeville, Georgia. He has often shared that his decision was as much practical as spiritual. Operating a 24-hour a day business left him exhausted. Being closed on Sunday allowed him time to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually…

It doesn’t have to be a Saturday or a Sunday. When I was working restaurants I took Tuesdays off. It matters not the day.

But pick a day, then don’t work it.

Many business owners have pestered Your Business Blogger for a set of rules on what is work or not. Because work and play are the same for all North Americans. My only suggestion for your weekly day off:

Be Unproductive.

Leave productivity and production and whatever work is to the other six days. On that special day: give it a rest.

Oddly, I would suggest no prohibition on exercise. We should sweat on our day of relaxation. (This is America.) Sweating and exercise are acceptable unless your day job is in the NBA or the Golf Pro Tour.

And to make sure it works, find a friend who will hold you accountable. Which you should be doing for business, anyway.

Be accountable to your private board of directors or mentor.

So. To be more productive. Do nothing, one day a week.


Jack Yoest

Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

47 Reactions

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jack! I have found that when I take a break – even if it’s just an afternoon – I feel like my mind has been cleared and the fog lifts. I am then able to sit down at my computer and somehow, I manage to be more productive. I wholeheartedly agree with the particular mention of sweating on your day off. I have found that an afternoon, or even just a few hours, spent tidying up the garden can do wonders for the mind – and for my work. We should always remember that we work to live – not live to work!

  2. Anita,

    this is great advice. I started doing that myself as well — strictly no biz work on sundays – well, not quite . except (other than your much acknowledged advice of exercising) for some blogging ( writing helps clears up thoughts that bug you – at least for me) reading, and time for the family.

    An hour to the church also increases perspective on what life is all about.

  3. I want to add my voice to this: you need to take off. I used to be forced by the needs of my clients to work weekends, so I hit on the bright idea of taking Wednesdays off. I had to fight with them but they eventually accepted my single day.

    The key is to discipline yourself to turn off the head inside you that continues to work when you’re not supposed to. Recreation work (rather than recreative loafing) can often accomplish this. But, hey, I’m the kind of guy who studies Latin for fun.

  4. Elliot, in a previous generation, physicians were mocked for also taking Wednesdays off, as you wisely do.

    But what no one remembered then or now, is than docs are often on call, and often work Sundays. Back in the day, they merely turned off their beepers on Wednesdays on the golf course.

    Today’s small business owner believes that non-stop working will overcome a lack of time or money. Which is, of course, wrong.

    Thanks again for your insights and comment. You are demonstrating genuine acouo in the accusitive case, I believe: to hear/learn with understanding.

    No — wait, that was old greek — audire is word I was looking for. Whatever: you got it right in any language.

    (Patronizing blogger blows it again.)


  5. In theory, few would disagree with this article, but in practice it is much more difficult than that. Frequently the “off-days” turn in to the days to do what you’ve put off during the week. Quickly the day designed to relax is bogged down with running errands, catching up on old emails you’ve ignored (they aren’t important enough to look at during productive days), and working on side projects (e.g. professional certifications, home improvement, gardening, etc.). These days can even become more stressful than the long work days.

    From my personal experience, after spending over a year averaging 70 hour weeks, taking a day completely off is the only way to sustainably work with the throttle all the way up. At a minimum an individual must learn to separate work from home life, so they at least get the illusion of a home-life even though the time there is limited. More than that, the job itself must be rewarding to be working that hard for that long. If you derive pleasure from the long days (i.e. job satisfaction is high) then perhaps you can survive, but you need to make sure that the effort is worth the outcome.

  6. Personal health is a very important thing to consider when taking a job, and it’s one that many employees do not prioritize. When I studied in Italy, we could not go to certain shops and businesses during the day as from 12 to 2 pm they were on a break. This was so business owners could rest up for an eventful afternoon. That was a crazy concept to us as American students, this would never fly in the USA. Not only do we Americans not break during the day, we often take our work home with us. During our busy season, I have stayed long past 5’oclock at the office to get what I need to be done complete. Time off is important to our mental and physical health. We will be more productive as a whole, if we take a little better care of ourselves.

  7. The article only scratches the surface regarding the unhealthy hours of work Americans are working. It is engrained in our way of life, and, for me, it wasn’t until my body could no longer endure long periods of working 12-hour days 7-days a week or a span of 20 years at the U.S. Postal Service that I realized how “beat up” my body was. It was my choice to work the overtime. It was intended to be a temporary opportunity to pay off some bills and to buy a toy or two. Ultimately it turned into a way of live. Now 5 years removed from the agency, I will be scheduled for rotator cuff surgery next week as the job was deemed an employment hazard for a preexisting condition from a military incident in 1988. I worked in a daze most evenings and overnight, while awake in the daytime running errands and having a hard time sleeping. I have learned not to go overboard in my efforts, exercise, rest, drink more water, and to simply “sit still” more often. In my new career, I have to take my laptop with me while on vacation because of a deadline, or I won’t allow myself a break from the action. Yes, it is up to us to ensure that our mental and physical health comes first. Without it, at least for me, I will be physically sick, mentally drained, and have an unhealthy eating pattern. This article is a wake-up call for me to better enhance my quality of life.

    Greg J.

  8. This article could not be more accurate. There truly are such things as “mental days.” Just like your body needs to sleep, your brain needs a rest as well. I find too often that when I work for a certain number of hours straight that my brain actually stops absorbing information. A quick break can actually reboost your mind and allow you to refocus. I love that Chic fil A takes an entire day off. They are so successful because they allow all of their employees to reboost their minds for a day. Some work days or weeks are busier than others, but it is always important to take care of your mental health in order to be successful.

  9. If better health and happiness isn’t enough of an incentive to do something about chronic overwork, it turns out overworking can have a legitimately negative impact on a business’ bottom line.

    Henry Ford outraged his fellow industrialists when he cut his workers’ hours to 40 a week. (Standards in some industries at the time were for 12-hour workdays, 7 days a week.) Ford did so because his internal research showed 40 hours was as far as you could push manual laborers in a week before they got stupid and began making costly mistakes. He also wanted his workers to have the leisure time to buy and use his cars.

    Today, the fact that employees are now always reachable eliminates what was once a natural barrier of sorts, the idea that work was something that happened during office hours or at the physical office. With no limits, work becomes like a football game where the whistle is never blown.

  10. There’s no doubt that technology has simplified the way we carry out our day-to-day routines. Computers help us do things faster, emails and text messages let us always be in touch, and the internet makes it easy to find the answer to any question with just a quick Google search.

    While being constantly plugged in can make us feel safe, connected, and in-the-know — both at work and at home — it also means we never really clock out.

    It’s one thing to pull a long day every once in a while to finish a project or deal with a crisis, but it’s another to routinely stay late at the office or work into the night. That’s chronic overwork — and it can have extremely negative impacts on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

    But working overtime has become the norm for most people. It’s one of those things everyone knows is bad for us, but no one really listens. The trouble is, failure to prioritize a healthy balance isn’t just bad for the employees — it’s actually bad for employers, too.

  11. Josephine Livingston

    One of my philosophy within the working world was ” I do not work live” and “I will not let the job control me, I control the JOB!” Everyone must realize soon or later working 8 hours per day non-stop is unhealthy. Taking a break (fifteen minutes twice a day, lunch, vacation, even a mental break) is vital to our health and our survival. What come to mind is the old saying, “work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy!” Everyone needs to relax and do not get so involve thinking I enjoy my work. Being stress-free help you to avoid situations such as: (a) are there any adjustments to be made before sending the completed job (b) was everything needed to be done is in sync with the project (c) and are you satisfied with the completed work? Within our personal life as well as our business life, time management is crucial. If we do not have complete control over our time, we will frantically forward the work without carefully reviewing and evaluating the project.

  12. Sometimes people become so sucked into their work life that they forget what it is to relax. Time management is key when it comes to a person’s life; especially when a person is working long hours at their job. Factors like exhaustion, mood changes, and stress will come when a person is overworking and not being able to take a break. Furthermore this will not only have an effect at home, but it will also cause issues in the work place. Less sleep will lead to less focus and for somebody working with a team, can cause them to fall behind – bringing the team down as a whole. This is not to mention what can happen with family if one adult in the family is stressed and unable to tend to other family members. Today, technology is supposed to be helping people do things more efficiently, but with more technology comes higher expectations. One must always be cautious and spend their time wisely, to ensure they are not constantly overworking. Breaks are implemented for a reason, and human beings will always need some rest to function.

  13. Jelena Cobanovic

    I completely agree on the importance of taking a day off as everyone deserves rest. I like the example of how Chick-fil-a closes on Sundays as it helps its employees take a much-needed break at the end of the week. People get caught up working long weeks and months chasing the company’s and personal goals and often forget how important is taking some time off. Growing up I have seen my parents working ridiculous shifts all the time, not having time to enjoy themselves and spend as much time with my siblings and me. They always had some excuses saying how “this week is very important” and then that happens again and again, similarly to those work calls that people always need to answer. As small business owners, they always wanted to push themselves to be more productive and often wanted to set an example to their employees. Talking to them about this now, 15 years later, they wish they slowed down and took more days off. I believe that taking time off can help people regain the focus, feel more productive when they return to work the next day and it can also help people gain a better work/life balance.

  14. It is my experience that it is vital to “take a day off” each week. In fact, I take the whole weekend. In an ideal world, I would rest, sleep in, go to the park with the kids, etc. In real life, however, I find that I spend most “days off” getting my household ready to start over again on Monday. Perhaps it is because I am a working class woman, married to a working class man. We do our own grocery shopping, house cleaning, bill paying, child rearing. By the time I do all of that, attend Church on Sunday, make the necessary meals each day, there is no semblance of rest going on.

    I actually was telling a coworker recently that if I ever became a boss, I would give my employees a half day each work week to do those things that are necessary for them to make it to work presentably each day: laundry, meal prep, vehicle maintenance, etc. It’s the human side of business that our society seems to not care about. Perhaps people in management can pay someone to do all of those mundane tasks that keep a life going, I don’t know. So, yes, on paper I agree that a day off each week is important. I have not quite figured out how to make that a reality.

  15. After reading this post, I took something very important. When you are looking for the perfect position, one has to take their own personal health into consideration. I remember going to Spain back in 2016 and remembering that their breaks, or “Siestas” were from 12 to 3 PM. The tactic behind this method was to give the employers and employees a down time to charge up for the second half of the day. As a result of this, they seem to be more productive and stress levels seems to be down. In the USA, we are so stuck in the “gotta always move” mode that we very seldomly stop and just take a look back at why we feel the need to always be into something. I believe that with taking a little break here and there, we could become a better productive society and be happy overall. Sometimes it just worth sitting back and just enjoy the simple things in life. I sure like to just sit back from time to time and do nothing, literally. No TV, no games, no reading, nothing. Sometimes doing nothing serves as the best medicine.

  16. In my experience, an off day will work wonders. Any way you can increase worker productivity, I think it is imperative you do so. Not only will that one off day give you time to unwind and catch up with family time, but it will also improve your productivity during the 6 days that you are working those 10-hour work days. Even during the baseball season, we give our players an off day. This gives all our players a chance to catch up on their school work, while also taking a break from throwing and swinging. Not only does a break help your body recover form the previous 6 days of work, but it also motivates you throughout the week. When I was still a player, I would look forward to our off day more than any other day of the week. On top of giving yourself at least one day a week to unwind, it is important during a work day to also take a 15 min break after a long stretch of work. This tiny break will help your body and your mind recover from everything going on during the day. 15 min just twice a day is not asking a lot, and I think it will only improve your productivity throughout the day.

  17. Mary-Christina Onyeocha

    “Non-stop work is bad for your health and bad for your productivity.” This is a hard truth that American system and other industrialized nations that value doing more than being seem not-yet-ready-to-accept. I discovered that, what matters is, “what do you do for a living?” Any other business (AOB) falls under second class. Regrettably, reputation is mistakenly tagged to doing than being; and, many of us have what psychologists refer as, “need for recognition;” therefore, if more doing might merit more reputation, why seek for being – which is referred as “second class”? Unfortunately, before one realizes that, being is seconded by doing (Not being unproductive; but, placing values in their rightful positions – good health begets quality output) the precious gift of healthy living might be at the brink of the grave.

    Workaholism is a kind of addiction/disorder that could be referred as a silent killer. It feeds the poor nature of human insatiability; and, the victim at advanced age might become somewhat frustration to all around – family, friends and caregivers (I’m talking from the view point of a missionary who interacts with different people including the seniors). Truett Cathy was wise enough to learn from experience that, balancing health and business increases productivity more than working round the clock like a cog (machines break down too). One day off per week for renewal makes a whole lot of positive differences in health and productivity. As suggested by Professor Yoest, having a mentor or a friend for accountability would be helpful in achieving the set goal of the “Day-Off” – TO REST.

  18. I think its a great idea to have off once a week the only thing i would want to know is how can we project workers from still being required to work in some way. i know too many people that work even on their vacations, not because their boss told them too but because they know for the amount of catch up work they’ll have to do when missing the days the days off just puts off stress not actually help relieve it. We need a way to have people off and unplugged without fear that they’ll fall so behind that they’re just going to double up on the stress when they get back to work and not make the vacation even worth it.

  19. Working in a federal environment, I can attest to not only a burn-out times, but options to avoid it. AWS and alternative work schedule have allowed me to further my career and finish one degree (the second is currently in progress and a testament as well).

    I cannot imagine after putting nine to eleven hours in some days and not working shorter ones to even my time out. I’ve done four, ten-hour days a week, AWS and flex schedule and they all allow for a life and self-case outside of work. My supervisors have been great about understanding my school schedules and without a schedule like this, it would be hard to accomplish anything outside of work, academically or personally.

    Having this benefits has boosted my morale and shows proven employee dedication and less tardiness. I am thankful to work apart of where this is allowed.

  20. I cannot agree more than what the article talks about in reference to enjoying a day of your life each week without any work. It is perhaps also the most important aspect of being healthy and wealthy working individual. Taking a day’s rest definitely improves your quality of work plus it also enhances your professional personality which is very much in need while one is working.

    Unfortunately, there are many industries in this 21st century such as the food and beverage industry, restaurants and other fast food joints which operate 24 hours a day and 365 days in a year which if one imagines is a big exhausting ones. Logistics company too has to bear the brunt of operating 24 hours which leads to a downfall in their services. One day off allows a person as the article says, to physically and spiritually recover is true in its sense. I personally have the experience of working 7 days a week with changing time shifts, trust me its a disaster! I couldn’t even used to get a time for myself.

    Whatever we say, one day break from work is pretty much required across all industries, but for now industries across the world need to work on that yet!.

  21. Harshani Kumarasinghe

    The main concern is to not to have a day off but is it really worth to give it when it is needed. mostly some employer do issue the day offs the works that the employees have done for previous work due to roster of the leave. these are just to full fill the requirements but not assure their health or well being. same as some industries they are strictly followed by the guidelines and the separate health benefits are offered too. health benefits for the on the job incidents they include as well.based on the nature of the job.

    employees are also humans too. the main concern of some employees : “if they get paid no mater what they have to work , even the exceeded hours.” so actually sometimes it is questionable weather to consider employees as humans or they just machines who complete the task in assigned hours. the health and well being is one of a main concern to keep employees motivating to go extra mile for the organizational productivity. allowing proper time schedules and their flexibility for the work also giving them the time they needed to get recovered are most important if an organizations expecting a genuine work from their employees.

  22. In my opinion, it is very important for any person to be healthy when considering to take a job. Many employees, do not prioritize to be healthy in their lives. The article explains about how non-stop work could affect our heath and how it is bad for our productivity. I think all human beings need to sleep because brain needs a rest as well. If I have a small company, I will give all my employees a quick break to refresh their mind and allow them to refocus. In these days, many employees working overtime and it has become the norm for most of people. However, they know that it is bad for them because no one is really listens. I think, if employees fail to prioritize a healthy balance is not just bad for them, it is really bad for employers, too.

  23. Edier S Cossio Mosquera

    What a great suggestion of taking one day of the week off. This is something that helps the body to recover, physically and also mentally. In some cultures, people stop working in the middle of the day and they go home to take a siesta or nap. I don’t know how practical taking a siesta would be for workers in a demanding economy such the USA. But the body and the brain needs time to recover. So, taking a 24 hours break during the week is a practical approach. For instance, in the old days “western cultures did not work on Sundays. Tradition that lasted for more than 1000 years according to Dr. Matthew Sleeth. He is an emergency room physician, and writer of the book “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.”

    Moreover, taking a day of the week off it increases happiness, it also helps business owners, employees and CEOs get closer to their loves one. Over working one body could have unhealthy consequences in the long run. So what a great example is setting Chick-fil-A’s CEO closing his 1,250 stores on Sunday. Other corporations should take into consideration this type of policies. That would help with employees’ retention, and better quality of life for employers and workers.

  24. As many of us know, same as time, health is one of the things you cannot retrieve back. In my opinion, health is very important. I couldn’t agree more with this article, encouraging the importance of health, having a day off and time management.
    But many companies and organizations do not really follow or try to avoid the importance of allowing the employees or even the managers to have more time to themselves and their families, giving them time off in order to look after their mental and physical health. Of course, there are great companies and management look after their employees but there ones who do not really care, in order to meet their goals and plans.
    I think that it is very important to acknowledge and enforce from the top of the management and from the human resources side to allow people have day offs, or proper time off needed for the employee to recover from the hard work, late nights, long hours.
    In my experience, small businesses specifically, do not really give much time off to heir employees as compared to larger corporates. I would think that since small businesses need to catch up more on profits, implementation of their certain goals, they would want their employees to work harder for longer hours for more achievements and profits.
    All the companies and all the management should know scientifically and practically, how the health of an employee is important to the achievement and productivity of the company.

  25. First of all, we know that we work to live – not live to work! I completely agree with this article. we should take a day off because of productivity and effectiveness. From my personal experience, I work on board a ship, but we take Sunday off even though we are at the ship 3-4 months because I believe that it will also improve our productivity during the 6 days that we are working those 8-hour work days. Furthermore, not only does a break help our body recover form the previous 6 days of work, but it also motivates us throughout the week.In addition, when we get off the work during the week, we should separate work from home life.

  26. Veronica Cordova

    Motivation is the key for a successful business. People that love their jobs dedicate more time working. On the other hand, it should be a balance between family and work. Sometimes being a workaholic can be bad for the health and the productivity of the business. It is true that when you are a small business owner, you need to work harder that other companies, but this doesn’t mean that you need to work 7 days a week. As the article mentioned, it is necessary to have at least one day off to “be unproductive”. It is beneficial to have a restful day off from work to clear your mind with other activities and family.

  27. Meagan McClendon

    I agree, it is important to take a break from work. Someone that works too much may be passionate about what they do and enjoy what that do, but extended periods of work can lead to stress and fatigue. Certain levels of stress can lead to decreased creativity and productivity. Being a workaholic can cause one to become burnt out no matter how much caffeine is involved. Allowing yourself a day to take a break from focusing on work gives you the opportunity to minimize stress, reflect and become more creative. For example, there are plenty of people that do not take advantage of their vacation time and have unused leave. Whether long or short, a vacation is a type of break in which you can get some psychological space from the workplace and return more energized and productive than before.

  28. The most common reason nowadays for many diseases (physical and mental) is stress. We live in the world that nothing is enough and we rush to accomplish more, to get more, to be more. We struggle with our own imperfections, trying to become impeccable. We expect a lot from ourselves. It is extremely difficult to take a break because it gives a feeling of missing out and not doing enough. In reality, one or two days break do not affect negatively our career or education. That’s why yoga and all kind of meditations hace become so popular lately. People consciously search for the ways to relax their body and mind. I used to think that appropriate time management is an answer for busy, multi-tasked schedule but ability to relax, and as a result to decrease level of anxiety, is an actual skill. It is something we should learn. Step by step through little challenges such as one hour without cell phone per day or 15 minutes of listening only relaxing music while laying down on the bed. Stress is a sign of our times which takes a lot of our daily joy and definitely declines our effectiveness.

  29. This article made me think about a piece of advice that I was given as I started working in collegiate athletics. That was to be conscience about the importance of a work-life balance. Athletics can be all-consuming especially in season. I am definitely culprit of working too many hours and stressing about my team’s performance. That’s because I am committed and passionate about my job and my athletes. I want the best for them. I do no believe that this is a flaw of mine or any coach. In order to be successful, coaches and all workers need to be dedicated and genuine about their work. However, I need to remember that taking time for myself allows me to re-focus and destress. I have found that I am a better coach when I do this. I find myself more energized, and less tired. That allows me to be my best self. This article was a nice reminder, and I think all people in leadership positions should be reminded that taking a small chunk of time off is actually a good thing.

  30. I agree with completely with his article. We as American’s are hard-working people, and most of us do not prescribe to the 40-hour work week. All of this work can cause havoc on your body, and it is up to the person to take a day, or two, to just relax and not think about work. I want to take it further and say that it is also the responsibility of the organization to create a culture that promotes their employees taking time for themselves to mentally and physically unwind without feeling bad for it. I understand that some people get a high and a sense of accomplishment from working, but even God, the ultimate worker, and creator rested on the 7th day.

  31. I found this article to be very true and very relatable. I have always been a believer that too much of something is always a bad thing, no matter what it is. Taking care of one’s personal and social health is something that tends to always be on the back burner, especially for the business people of the United States. People need to know what it is like to be normal and be relaxed, not just cooped up in their work and taking it where ever they go. With today’s technology, it is so easy for people to leave work at 5, but then go home and still do tasks until 9 pm. That is specifically something that people should try to avoid.

    I was a student athlete in my undergrad life and especially in the spring season, if I was not at practice, I was doing school work. By the time senior year came around, I had it figured out; I needed a break. I made sure that I had some time to myself where I wasn’t thinking about softball or school, I gave my mind a break and got to relax. In the end, I think that this made me a better athlete and a better scholar.

  32. Taking time off during the week and for vacations is vital to preserve one’s sanity. I tend to feel most productive at work after spending some time away from the job – both physically and mentally. Often, the mental break is needed to provide clarity and perspective on situations, and it’s hard to get that clarity while in the middle of the daily grind. It is probably difficult for a small business owner or sole proprietor to take even one day off per week, as their livelihood may be dependent upon the owner’s daily activities. But it is important to maintain balance, and ensure that other aspects of life, such as family and personal care, are attended to, in order to prevent imbalances. I like the author’s suggestion of taking any day off, even if it is not a traditional Saturday or Sunday. Taking off a day midweek can help the business owner be more productive by running errands while most people are at work, thus avoiding long lines and traffic. Taking regular time away can also help to alleviate burn out and stress, and give the company’s employees an opportunity to oversee the business operations while the manager is off.

  33. Mayara Correa Bonamichi

    I completely agree with what the post states, everybody needs a break, a one day to do nothing. And I would advise to rest maybe 30 min during a work day, it can be after lunch or in the middle of the afternoon when the tiredness of the day is starting to show up. I think is important to take some minutes to not do anything, maybe you can meditate, or you can go for a walk, or you can just seat still and look through the window, it will give you more energy to keep working. My job as a designer requires me to be creative, so it is very important that I change the scenario sometimes, leave the office, listen a music, have a break, so I can come back to work and do the best I can. I know it takes time to create a routine of having one day a week to do nothing, and hardest part is: some people don’t like to be unproductive, so a day off is definitely something that people need to adjust themselves in order to introduce this to their life style.

  34. This article touches me on so many levels; with me being an Assistant football coach I’m in a role where I work long hours a week. My job never stops, but I pride myself on taking one day for myself to get myself back in order. I call that day self-care Sunday’s; with me taking that day it’s to get back together mentally and physically for the next week. With the job that I work I use more mental compacity that I have ever used, and it takes a toll on your body during the week. You have to make a day for yourself just to rejuvenate to get ready for another hard work week. Also, I know that as a person who also worked two manual labor jobs before I also knew I had to take a day just to get it together; Even though I needed the money I knew that money wasn’t everything and I needed time for self.

  35. Priscilla Sanchez

    I agree that it can become unhealthy and stressful to be productive and showing effectiveness 7 days a week. This can overwhelm a person and over works their skills for what they love. This is understandable because you want to demonstrate satisfactory work for the organization you work for. However, it does not hurt to take a day off of those 7 days. The body needs relaxation and an unproductive day. This does not mean to not be physically active, on the contrary, it is important to keep your body moving throughout the day to get the blood flowing regularly. This may also add relaxation in your day because sweating out is not a bad thing. During this day off, you can regain energy and motivation to come in to work the next day with a fresh start and a fresh mind which is what is needed for any organization in order for them to be successful.

  36. I am not a small business owner, but an employee aspiring to be like those described in the memo you reference, Completed Staff Work. I hate the idea of taking a day off because I was always taught that the people who grind on the weekends will see a great change in where they see themselves in the work week. Going to classes, workshops, and volunteering for extra objects on top of the workload puts you ahead of your peers. There may be added stress and it may lead to burnout, but I can take those chances at this stage in my young career. However, if I were someday a small business owner then I hopefully head your advice. The last thing a business owner wants to do is to fall out of love with their dream and vision they have created for their company. I am sold if taking one day off for my health, mind, and spirit can actually increase enough productivity to outpace time lost over the long term.

  37. “No days off” is a popular saying among people who like to think they are super driven. What they do not realize is how important an “off-day” really is for someone’s physical and mental health. A professional athlete needs to take an off-day to allow their body to recover in order for them to perform. The same thing goes for people in the workforce. Everyone needs to give themselves a mental break because it allows their body and mind to recuperate and perform at their highest level. Another advantage of an off-day is to decompress from stress that can build up from working. Stress can have long-term affects on the human body and is something we should all try and reduce as much as we can. The stigma around an off-day should not be the way it is because a true off-day allows for the human body to rest and recover in order for us to be at our top performance.

  38. I 100% agree with this article. You need to take days off so you can focus on your mental and physical health. Working long hours with no breaks can cause people to burn themselves out. I feel that healthy work/life balance is what keeps an employee focused and motivated to do a great job on their job. I believe having one day to be “unproductive” and to yourself helps you refocus on yourself. The rest helps you to reset yourself for the week and be center. Also, you need to make sure you are able to spend time with your family and give the the time they deserve.

  39. Excellent article! I tend to work so much that I find it difficult to unwind and remove my thoughts from the workplace. It takes a real effort to disengage and just relax at times. When I’m at home, I feel the need to do work around the house and it just defeats the purpose.

  40. That’s right and I believe everyone wants to take off a day or two in a week. But, when it is because of your own small business, you don’t care about working schedule, it doesn’t work for you and it is because you always think that the work you have done is not enough, you always think the task is incomplete, even if you hire staff, your mind doesn’t let you to stop working. But, the reality is that we really need to relax, and it’s actually give you a fresh mind to start again and a fresh mind enhance the productivity. I think it is more about time management, in small business owners need to spend time to stand on their own feet but at the same time they need to relax.

  41. Getting the proper amounts of rest is something everyone should do to help their overall productivity. This should be especially important to small business owners who may have only a few employees, and those few employees have to perform all of the work for their businesses. With a small work force it should be considered imperative to keep the employees well-rested so they can perform their best while they are working to be as productive as possible for the business. Small businesses may not have the luxury that large businesses have of being able to hire more people to distribute the workload among several people in order to avoid overworking the employees. Overworking employees could lead to burnout which could eventually hurt the business.
    Receiving sufficient rest sounds like it should be something easy to do, but many Americans evidently do not rest enough. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of American adults do not receive the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. Maybe their excessive work habits contribute to the lack of sleep, and ultimately lack of rest. The difficult part is probably convincing employers that their employees, and they themselves, might be more productive if they received proper amounts of rest.

    • Thanks for adding statistics to the Business Bloggers’ already-astute presentation of this incredibly real issue for the average working American – not getting enough sleep. The CDC’s statistic that more than one-third of adults in America do not receive the recommended amount of sleep is a sobering reality worth everyone’s attention. I would add that the issue of sleep alone (separate from working too many hours) is also impacted by too much screen-time and being excessively connected to social media and electronic devices. As a social worker for children, I have watched the incredible impact that increased “screen time” has on a child (and adult’s) well-being. The brain must rest! It concerns me greatly that we have elementary-aged children on their tablet or watching their TV in the bedroom until the early hours of the morning. Perhaps the overarching issue for children and adults alike on this topic of maintaining a work-life balance is learning to practice self-discipline and prioritizing things in our lives. What do we value as an “American” culture? The average person would answer money, position, success among other things. Why can’t we value family time, health, exercise, and ultimate happiness? Happiness doesn’t cost anything but for many people it is the most difficult thing to work to achieve.

  42. A few indelible thoughts come to mind when I think about the issue of so-called work-life balance. Or should I say the myth of so-called work-life balance. If I’m being brutally honest, I’ll admit that in my younger, more naïve days, I watched with suspicion as an older colleague, perhaps married with children, dared to escape the office for a “family something-or-other.” And this is to say nothing of an actual, healthy work-to-rest ratio that may or may not exist.

    Albeit silly, the fact that there is a saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is evidence in itself of a pervasive work-rest imbalance in our culture. Now that I’m older and wiser, I almost consider the impulse to clear the daily to-do-list before six, a mental disorder.

    I firmly believe that we, overworked Americans, often mistake activity for accomplishment.

    And then there’s sleep. Or the general lack thereof in our workaholic culture. Too little sleep has a similar drunken-state-like effect on the overworked and under-rested that the Business Blogger refers to in his apt diagnosis of a problem that we all know exists but loathe to admit.

    To wit: Stan “The Man” Musial said his secret (to sustained excellence) was “eight hours of sleep a night.” I rest my case.

  43. This is very true, and one of the reasons I often turn in most of my school works at night after taking a nap when I am back home from work. No good work come from a tired mind or brain. I am assuming we all want some rests, but the reality of life does not allow us. We get weekends off but we never really be off as those are the days of doing family stuff, shopping, housework, and school work for those of us who are still in school. Break/rest is more important for our health but too bad that some of us could not afford them right now. Perhaps it is because we are in still in our early lives, and we have not done much or lived in this world long enough to start taking or asking for break or day off from our works. Regardless, I think we need a fresh start on every shift or segment of work that we have to begin, and that new start which has a high chance of increasing productivity could only be possible when we had a break/rests. That is also one of the reasons I like the morning/day shift. In the morning, my mind is fresh as it is just waking up from being in its haven (in sleeping mode).

  44. Thanks for sharing this great article Professor Yoest!

    While work-life balance is very valuable to employees, there are numerous ways that this concept can be looked at. Utilizing Chik-fil-A as an example is wonderful as they run a very profitable business only 6 days a week over the traditional 7.

    The practice of taking one day off a week is one that I’ve been striving to achieve more and more to maintain my overall wellbeing. Due to working 50+ hours a week I’ve found that working out, going out for food with friends, and just finding new attractions around DC are really great stress relievers. All of these activities help me re-gain energy for the week so I may be refreshed and energized for what’s to come.

  45. It is true that to achieve and maintain competitive advantage for any organization, hard work and innovation are crucial. However, to continue to grow as a person and to maintain a healthy lifestyle , breaks are necessary. I was puzzled in Germany my first duty station. These folks take more than an hour break for lunch, and during which they can have beers and a big plate of whatever. And yet, Germany is the leading economy in the European Union in particular and in Europe in general. To continue to be fully productive, an employee needs proper rest, and a time to decompress. Putting aside work related activities on a weekly basis could potentially have a boosting effect on productivity. It is understandable to work really hard at the inception of business , however, as time goes by, some adjustments are extremely important as we have only one life. Balancing life and work is also equally important, paraphrasing the late First Lady Bush, at the end of the day, we will not regret not achieving such and such project, such and such house, such and such social status, but we will surely regret not to have spend time with loves one.

  46. Calvin Chinanzvavana

    This is just a splendid read Professor Yoest!!!! Non-stop work is DEFINITELY bad for your health and bad for your productivity. Work-life balance is key to business success. As an individual who has been in a customer facing role at some point in time in my life, I found out that you are only as good as your last sale. However, the challenge I faced most of the time was burnout and feeling used and underappreciated due to non-stop work. I have also been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have travelled and worked in many countries and continents across the globe and what I find is the USA is certainly one country that never sleeps, at any point in time of the day somebody is processing a transaction. I feel people just want to slow down and not do complex but unfortunately the system is built around minimal work-life balance as I have experienced it as a working parent in the country.

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