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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

How Long Can You Unplug?

Taking a day off may seem indulgent and unthinkable, but I challenge you to try it.
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Imagine cutting yourself away from all technology and regular weekday activity for one day a week. No phone, no iPod, no movies, no e-mail and no business calls. For that 24-hour period it's just you and your family.

For hard working entrepreneurs, taking such a day may seem indulgent and unthinkable, yet I would argue that the tangible positive results are almost immediate.

One of the challenging parts of running a business is that it is all consuming. It takes every waking hour and every bit of focus to ensure success. Between the juggling of all the day to day details and strategic planning sessions on how to grow the business one can sometimes forget why they are in business in the first place!

Let’s take a step back to analyze an obvious, yet sometimes, forgotten point; the underlying purpose of why we work so hard to create a successful and profitable business. I'm sure the unanimous answer is "to make money." Now, let’s take that a step further and analyze the purpose of earning money. Here, there are many individual and personal reasons all dependent on each individual’s circumstance. It may be to provide security, shelter and joy for yourself and your family's life. It may also contain an element of wanting to impact the world in a meaningful way. It may include feelings of responsibility to charitable organizations and the list goes on. Regardless of the specifics, it is clear that in every individual case there is a specific underlying motivation. Yet, often we are sunk so deep into our work that, although we are making money, we may have forgotten what the money is for. Though we have our families’ welfare in mind, we may be largely absent from their lives due to our hours at the office….

Much of what I have learned about business comes from my late maternal grandfather. As an immigrant to this country and, despite his halting English, he built a multimillion dollar business. Yet most impressive was his ability to be totally immersed in the business during the working day, yet upon return from work, he would totally detach and leave the stresses of the business at his place of business. His dedication was to his family. It was clear from his way of life that business was merely a means to an end – the end being family. He was able to separate the tree from the forest.

I must admit that living like this is quite a challenge, despite  having a good role model. Yet, once a week as the sun begins to set on Friday afternoon and I usher in the Sabbath, I am handed a divine gift; one that lasts only 25 literal hours but effects my whole mindset and focus for the entire next week. Twenty five hours of disengaging from all sorts of technology and weekly business have had amazing results. For amongst other benefits, it ensures that when I reconnect after the Sabbath my perspective is fresh and re-calibrated with the principle guiding factors of my life.

Carving out time to see the trees from the forest is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Try it and you'll see!

Last updated: Jan 18, 2012

JOSEF GOROWITZ | Columnist | Founding Parner, Prodege

An experienced entrepreneur, Josef Gorowitz is the CEO of Prodégé, which offers "virtual currency" to its users, in exchange for their registration, every time they search, purchase, play games, and share opinions online. The company's flagship property Swagbucks.com, the web?s premier online rewards destination, is No. 43 on the 2011 Inc. 500 list.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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