Every now and then I do a full 180 degree about-turn.  I believe that hard work breeds success. But success in business is one thing, and success in your personal life is another. Too many successful business people are unhappy, stressed and on the verge of burnout.

Success is about balance.

Here are three cardinal sins – usually associated with lazy, unambitious people – that you need to commit from time to time to ensure you don’t burnout.

Take a break

Yes, it’s ok to go home after a day’s work and switch off. Watch your children’s sporting activities, lie on the couch on the weekend, take holidays, put your out of office message on and leave your laptop at home.

Always have the next break planned so you know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it’s a braai with friends and family, a golf game, a weekend away or a family holiday in December. Work hard with the knowledge that you will get a proper break from it all in the near future. And then take the break!

Tomorrow is another day

We’ve been conditioned to believe that procrastination is the root of all evil. And it is. But you must not confuse procrastination with prioritising and planning to do something the next day. We are only human, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, our goals are too ambitious, we overpromise, we are under resourced and over stretched.

There comes a time when you need to draw a line in the sand and call it a day. Because tomorrow is another day, and another opportunity to get things done. When you try and squeeze too much out of a day, you don’t get enough rest, your mind never takes a break and you will actually be less productive. Do it properly tomorrow, rather than doing a half-baked job today just so you can tick it off your list.

No is also an answer

This is sometimes the hardest thing to say. You want to please everyone, you believe your clients will leave you, you will lose your job and your friends won’t like you. Saying yes just to please when you mean no causes burnout.

When is it ok to say no? When the demands are unreasonable, when it’s not possible, when the sacrifice is not worth it, when your family will be compromised, when it clashes with your values, when you simply don’t have time, or when there is an alternative. The world won’t end, and no one will die. By respecting yourself, others will start to respect your boundaries too. It’s a fine line between being reliable and being taken advantage of.

It’s been a tough year. Cut yourself some slack and make space for downtime as we head towards December.

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