It's not all work work work

Why taking time off is essential for your wellbeing

I’m not sure whether it was because I had a NatWest savings account as a kid or Jan Hammer’s evocative music but this ad always struck a chord with me. At 16 when I first saw this on TV I’d only worked in retail whilst still at school. NatWest’s portrayal of a young man enjoying his first job but also a life outside work resonated with me. It felt exciting and inspired.

Years later, a busy father of two working in Product, a demanding discpline that requires an always on mindset spanning so many touchpoints of business, customers, analytics and so much more, I realise the value in the ‘outside work’ bits now. And it certainly isn’t just after work drinks!

Tempatation to be relentless

It can be tempting to work long hours and sacrifice personal time to achieve professional success. However, research shows that taking time off is crucial for both mental and physical well-being.

According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, “Long working hours are associated with a higher risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.” This finding highlights the importance of taking time off to rest and recharge.

In addition to physical health, taking time off can also benefit mental health. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that “chronic work stress is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety.” By taking time off, employees can reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health.

Time off is personal development

As a busy professional, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of work and forget to focus on personal development. However, taking time off work to invest in personal growth can have a profound impact on both your professional and personal life.

For starters do not think as time off work or ignoring emails as unproductive. This is vital! Personal development improves your job performance: By investing in yourself, you can improve your job performance and increase your value to your employer. This can take the form of attending training sessions, taking courses, or simply dedicating time to self-reflection and personal growth.

Personal development boosts confidence and self-esteem: Investing in personal development can also help boost confidence and self-esteem. As you learn new skills and gain knowledge, you’ll feel more capable and confident in your abilities, which can help you take on new challenges and succeed in your professional and personal life.

Personal development reduces stress: Taking time off work to focus on personal development can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Whether it’s practicing mindfulness, taking up a new hobby, or simply spending time outdoors, investing in personal development can provide a much-needed break from the stress of work.

Personal development fosters creativity and innovation: By investing in personal development, you’ll be exposed to new ideas and perspectives that can help foster creativity and innovation. This can lead to new insights, fresh approaches to problem-solving, and a more creative and innovative workplace.

Personal development enhances work-life balance: Investing in personal development can also help improve work-life balance. By taking time off work to focus on personal growth, you’ll be able to achieve a better balance between your personal and professional life, which can lead to greater overall satisfaction and well-being.


In conclusion, taking time off work to focus on personal development is vital for overall well-being, job performance, and work-life balance. By investing in personal growth, you’ll be better equipped to succeed both professionally and personally. So go ahead and schedule that personal development activity today – your future self will thank you!

Well being tips in a hectic world

Over the years I’ve worked on the LESS framework.

👩🏽‍🎓 Learn

🏋🏼‍♂️ Energise

😴 Sleep

🏕 Self

These 4 pillars inform how I want to spend my time away from work – as in, I’m not working but I’m doing a combination of things under the LESS mantra.

First off is that endless meetings and to-do lists hamper a vital component of the human need – to learn. Learning isn’t just limited to your work stuff. Learning can be anything. It can be learning a new skill (how to make latte art), personal development (therapy), or anything that enriches us by letting the mind spool in a new direction. Remember Google’s 20% rule? Whether it remains or really led to global products may be debatable but think of putting time aside for your own hustles or projects.

Energise – fitness and working out has been a game changer for me. It gives me energy in so many ways both physically and mentally. Try to walk, work out, do something physical.

Sleep – vital. If you’re burning the candle at both ends you’ll literally burning out. Force yourself to get enough sleep and you’ll feel much healthier.

Self – be selfish. Make time for yourself, your loved ones and prioritise yourself and / or your family over work. This is vital in addressing the life / work balance.


Make all of this a non-negotiable. You’re not saving babies, your work can wait. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you need to work every single living hour!

Someone once said to me a on a Friday at 3pm, ‘What should I do? The client is going crazy, i’m so stressed, I don’t know what to do’. I  told my colleague ‘Close your laptop’. She thanked me later and rested over the weekend and no, the world didn’t end.

💡 Another tip – turn off LinkedIn notifications. It’s noise, trust me.