It’s time to plan your holidays and down time

its important to plan in down time and holidays, Alun Rees saysPlanning holidays and down time is important to avoid breakdowns and potentially disaster, Alun Rees says.

The most physical, and dangerous, summer job I had was at the East Moors Steel Works in Cardiff.

During one 16-day period known as ‘stop fortnight’, I worked with the gang cleaning the rolling mills.

During that period, I worked daily 12-hour shifts, rising to 16 on weekends.

The significant overtime pay probably contributed to the demise of the British steel industry.

But I was glad of distraction whilst waiting for my A-level results.

Steelworks are terrifying places, which routinely run round the clock.

Exceptions being the summer ‘stop fortnight’ and Christmas when holidays were taken and the mills and some other machines were stripped down and cleaned.

What has this to do with dental businesses?

‘Sweating the assets’

One of the temptations, and problems, when self-employed with targets either contractual or self-imposed, is to run your engines hot, all day, every day.

The phrase ‘sweating the assets’, as I have heard it described, can override caution for the most fragile elements of the practice machines – the people.

Without downtime, to rest, recuperate, reflect and recharge, our mental and physical engines have little or no chance to recover.

In the steelworks I heard tales of catastrophic breakdowns when machines had not been maintained or serviced regularly.

As the world of work starts its next 12 months, take some time to plan your stop fortnights, your holidays and down time.

Look at your work patterns; if there is no space then consider what will happen if you continue to run your engines hot.

Research with sports people and others has shown that ‘sweating the asset’ mental or physical, doesn’t work long term.

Breakdowns are expensive and can lead to disaster.

Trying to deliver your skills flat out only leads to ultimate failure.

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