In part one of this two-part guide, FreeAgent partner Company Bug explains why it’s so important to take time out from your busy schedule when you’re self-employed.

If you are self-employed or a small business owner then you may feel like time isn’t on your side, and it’s tricky to take time out. You might even feel that you can’t afford to have time off, or you’re worried about losing clients while you’re away. However, it’s vital for your health and your mind to take time out and away from your work, and this will inevitably benefit you and your business in the long run.

If you’re not able to delegate or ask for help from employees or partners, then it’s a great idea to prioritise and get organised so you are able to take time out when necessary. Let’s take a look at the top five reasons why you really do need to take time out.

1. Look after your mental health and wellbeing

It’s so important to be proactive in taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has even started a campaign to combat mental health issues amongst small business owners.

There are a few straightforward ways to improve your wellbeing; making time for exercise, for example, whether this is half an hour in the gym or just going for a long walk. Ensuring that you are physically active will help to improve your mood as well as release any stress. Try to make sure that you are taking short breaks regularly throughout the day – taking a couple of minutes to get fresh air, or a cold glass of water can help with your productivity. Lastly, if you can, booking holidays or longer periods of time off can really help you relax and recover.

2. Spend time with family and friends

Running a business, especially in the hectic early days or at peak time, can mean you probably don’t see your loved ones as much as you’d like. Taking a break from work allows you to reconnect and re-engage with your family and friends, and investing in supportive relationships is as important as investing in your own health. Take some time to read up on tips to create a good work/life balance, and don’t be afraid to ask those around you for help when you need it – someone may be to give you a hand with your workload or provide good advice.

3. Indulge your passions and hobbies

Taking time out for activities you enjoy doesn’t need to be a daily occurrence, however occasionally you should take time out to do something you love, whether this is going on a fishing trip or playing your favourite sport. It’s important to realise that there is more to life than just your business. And although it is of course essential for you to work on your business, from starting it up to growing it, you do also need a healthy mind and a thought process which is not overstressed or overworked.

4. Make sleep a priority

Establishing a sleeping pattern and making sure that you get good quality sleep is incredibly important in order for you to function properly. Many people don’t see sleep as a priority, but regular poor quality sleep can have a huge effect on your health and put you at risk of developing medical conditions that can affect your body, thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Getting good quality sleep gives you vital energy and allows your brain to rest and recuperate, ultimately making you more productive. It also allows your mind to unwind and de-stress, helping your mental and emotional wellbeing to be restored. Try clocking out and putting all work aside to have a certain time to switch off and unwind before you go to sleep.

5. Avoid a burnout

A burnout is thought to result from long-term, unresolvable job stress and leads to physical and emotional exhaustion. Signs of heading for a burnout include a lack of motivation and feel disillusioned with your career. Left unchecked a burnout can impact your health, happiness and job performance, all of which puts your business at risk, so if you recognise any of the signs then take steps to rebalance your work/life balance and seek help if you need it.

About Company Bug

Company Bug provides small business owners, entrepreneurs, contractors and consultants with all the information they need to set up and run a business in the UK. This includes latest news and insights into relevant economic issues and legislation changes. Whether you are looking to launch your own start-up, franchise, or grow your business – Company Bug has all the tips you need to succeed.