As busy CEOs and business owners, it’s easy to make yourself last and constantly bend to the needs of the business. The reality is that most companies these days run 24/7. However, humans do not, as much as we might try. The pressures and stress of the company are what we signed up for, but that doesn’t mean we can’t manage these effectively before the pressure hits.

About five years ago, my wife and I added an “annual calendar” to our year-end reflection time. We always look forward to taking time to reflect on the year and look forward to what’s coming next year. What changed for us was an idea from another business leader -- determine your time off at the end of the year for the following year before any pressure is on. It was transformational.

That first year we had the goal of taking four long weekends – Thursday through Sunday, one each quarter, and a one-week vacation. It worked great and took the pressure off for business needs because we had already committed to it.

The second year we did the same with long weekends, and I committed to taking a two-week vacation. I had not taken two weeks off in over 20 years! You have to delegate a bit differently when you take two weeks off, so it also turned into a leadership growth opportunity for me.

We continued our quarterly breaks in the third year, and I committed to taking an entire month off for a sabbatical. Again, I had to grow as a leader to delegate an entire month’s worth of responsibility to my team. And guess what? When I returned, I left most of those things entrusted and grew even more as a leader.

Bonus idea: Commit now that when you’re gone for a week or longer, you won’t check your email, and make sure your team doesn’t either when they are on time off. Nothing good will come from it, and you’re robbing yourself of the chance to rest and recharge fully.

We do all kinds of annual and quarterly planning for our business. Do some for yourself and your family between now and the end of the year. Your 2023 will be better for it, and you might even grow as a leader!