When people think about being an entrepreneur, they often think of long nights and early mornings, and they definitely think of a lot of sacrificed free time. But what if I told you that your free time is actually very important and that you shouldn’t fill it up with a lot of work?

If you’re working a full-time or part-time job and trying to get your startup off the ground, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right. I need to use all of my free time if I want to get anywhere.” While starting your own business definitely takes time, effort, and sacrifice, it should not take over your entire life. If it does, there’s a good chance that you’ll burn out and lose the spark for building and running your business before it has a chance to succeed. Let’s talk about why your free time is so important and why you shouldn’t use every single free moment for work.

FEEL LESS BUSY AND GET MORE DONE

There’s been a lot of talk lately throughout the business world about “being busy.” As it turns out, when people feel busy, they actually get less done. They feel as though they have too much on their plates, and so they’re less likely to take on new and meaningful tasks. Instead, they stress about all the things they have to do, which, of course, gets in the way of actual productivity.

When you have unscheduled free time, you’ll be able to pursue personal interests and needs, and you won’t feel overly busy or concerned about how productive you’re being. Instead, you’ll have time to meet friends for coffee, take a much-needed nap, or start a creative project.

UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORLD CONTINUES TO TURN WITHOUT YOUR SUPERVISION

This is a big one for budding CEOs and business leaders. It can be overwhelmingly tempting to always be the first one through the door in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Sometimes that’s necessary, but not always. In fact, this can lead to a lot of micromanaging and the belief that your business cannot function without you. If that’s the case, you can say goodbye to vacations or sick days. But if you give yourself some time away from the business and let your people do their jobs, you’ll see that the world really does keep turning when you’re not looking after it.

GET SOME BUILT-IN FLEXIBILITY

If you have some unscheduled time during the day, you automatically get a little bit of built-in flexibility for your schedule. If, all of a sudden, a client can’t meet with you in the morning but can meet later in the day, you can just switch your unstructured time to accommodate them. It also allows you to consider which tasks and commitments in your day are the most important to you and which ones are actually unnecessary and can be delegated out to someone else.

GIVE YOURSELF SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Finally, having free time in your day gives you something to look forward to. It gives your mind a break so that you can come back to work with a fresh perspective, instead of feeling burnt out and tired. Plus, it ensures that you’ll have time to exercise and get a good meal, two things that are a lot more important to entrepreneurs than most will admit.

See why free time is so important? Find ways to see it as more than just an opportunity to do more work, and the time you do spend working will be more productive.

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