Should Startup Founders Take Vacations? An Expert Weighs In.

This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.

It takes relentless drive for a startup founder to guide a business idea from nothing into a dynamic, life-changing company. But that same tenaciousness can often cause entrepreneurs to overlook an important aspect of business success: time away from the business.

Vacations, downtime and work-life balance can be easily overlooked in a startup culture that emphasizes long hours and total commitment to helping the business take flight. But stepping away and recharging is vital for founders, even at tiny early-stage companies, says entrepreneur Blake Stanfill, the director of growth at trepwise, a New Orleans-based consulting firm that works with startups and established businesses.

“It’s really important you take that time to really give your mind a rest and then come back reinvigorated and solve whatever problems you have,” he says.

Burnout is a Real Issue

Stanfill says burnout ranks among the most common factors that can derail a startup. In its executive coaching work, trepwise seeks to help founders avoid burnout by encouraging them to map out their work-life priorities, plan for stress reduction and build in necessary vacation time throughout the year.

Its executive coaching platform includes a needs assessment to help leaders identify and understand the various stressors and important components of their lives. Throughout the process, founders map out who the stakeholders are in their lives — including family members — followed by goal setting and structured stress reduction.

“With structure and planning you can, over the course of a 52-week year, identify blocks of time to step away,” he says. “In fact, I would argue that it’s necessary to really make the company thrive.”

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