Finding Life Balance


Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/ Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

The Daily Telegraph
out of London recently had an article on how “skipping lunch break costs business £50m a day.”

It explains that employees who think they are being virtuous by not taking a break are actually lowering their productivity because at around 3 p.m., their energy level drops.
This leads to almost 40 minutes of lost working time, equating to a £50 million ($80 million) loss daily for employees.

That’s a cold way of looking at it but it made me think about how hard people are driving themselves these days. Most are doing so because they’re happy to still be working after the economic downturn and many have just gotten used to taking on more work than they ever have before. Everyone is in the same spot, working incredibly intensely and rather happy to be doing so, considering the alternative.

But The Daily Telegraph article has a larger truth to it. By denying ourselves the basic needs and pleasures of life in order to dedicate more hours to work, are we really helping or hurting our businesses?

As travel agents, what are you sacrificing these days to make your businesses thrive? You’re coming out of one of the most challenging eras for travel and I’m sure your balance sheets could use some right-sizing.

Does this mean, however, that you’ve given up the “pleasure” of taking time to review hotels you need to see so you know what you can offer to your clients? Are you so busy crafting itineraries that you’re no longer able to spend quality time with suppliers who come to visit? When was the last time you got out and networked with your community so you could build your client list?

All of these things may seem like guilty pleasures because they’re more enjoyable than sitting at your desk crunching numbers, but they are activities that are downright vital to your business.

Perhaps you are doing all of the above, because you know from experience that you need to keep to the basics to grow your business. If so, are you challenging yourself so much that you are losing quality time with your family? Are you missing events you need to attend for loved ones because you’re so wrapped in recovery mode for your travel agency?

Denying yourself the basics of life has the same result as skipping lunch; you end up irritable and tired without any fuel in your tank to attend to the important things in life. And while you may not be losing £50 million a day for your employer, you are costing yourself important profits for your travel agency and you’re sacrificing a balanced life.

One of the companies mentioned in the article instituted a “Reclaim the Lunchbreak” initiative, to encourage workers to take regular breaks. Why not do the same thing for yourself and for your colleagues? It’s a start, at least.