How Even the Busiest Leaders Find Time to Recharge

Too busy? Too tired? On the verge of burnout? When a demanding job leaves you with little time or energy for anything else, having a life beyond work can seem out of reach.

For our latest LinkedIn series, “My Life Outside Work,” we asked Influencers to share their best antidotes to work-related stress. From Richard Branson’s obsession with kitesurfing to Suze Orman’s newfound love of fishing, we learned how some of the sharpest minds choose to rest — and reset.

Whether it’s cooking, running, traveling, or doing something as simple as watching romantic comedies, perhaps their stories will give you a burst of energy, more clarity and perspective, or even a new business idea or two.

YOUR TURN: What does the “life” part of work-life balance look like for you? What are the creative outlets and passion projects outside work that make you better at work? Write your post here; be sure to use #OutsideWork somewhere in the body of your piece.

Need inspiration? Here’s how some Influencers recharge, refocus, and reboot:

Let go so you can grasp something new.

Fishing has taught Suze Orman the true meaning of perseverance, which she also applies to her professional life. “If I really want a deal, I just have to keep putting that hook back in the water over and over again till I catch what I want,” Orman writes. “If I give up, then I miss the fish or the deal — they both got away.” The personal finance expert also reminds us:

“If you are holding something in your life that you do not like, let it go…. With your hands open, you will be able to grab hold of something new.” — Suze Orman

Give yourself the time (and space) to dream up new ideas.

Leave it to Richard Branson to turn a hobby like kitesurfing into a business opportunity — he founded a kitesurfing festival that raises money for charities. While being out on the water is where the Virgin Group founder does some of his best thinking, Branson also allots time in his schedule for introspection:

“Alongside the meetings, appointments, and email replies, it’s important to just be… As well as taking tea breaks, I do this by putting time in my diary to exercise and spend time with my loved ones.” — Richard Branson

Be creative about finding time for what matters.

Think you’re too busy? Prepare to feel guilty as Stan McChrystal recounts his running ritual — at 3 a.m.! Done by 4:30 a.m. and at his desk by 5:20 a.m., McChrystal says he treated his workouts with such discipline and precision because it helped him sustain a frenetic pace at work. And even when deployed overseas, the four-star general made a concerted effort to “make time for myself, whether it was listening to audio books as I ran on the tarmac at our base in Balad or typing up an email to [my wife] Annie every morning.”

What are the creative ways you’ve made time for what (and who) you love?

Know that your priorities will change — and that’s OK.

What matters to you now may not always be the case. Just ask Janine Allis, who spent her 20s traveling and playing. She then dedicated her 30s and 40s to launching her Boost Juice business in Australia. “It was my OMG period, where there was no hours outside of work; it was all work,” Allis writes. These days she’s all about yoga, surfing, and carving out time with friends. “I did have to remind them of who I actually was,” Allis says.

As you navigate these varying life stages, Allis urges us all to keep one thing in mind: “Many people are defined by what they do, and often when they retire, they are lost and then they have to work to find their next passion.”

Give yourself permission to indulge in guilty pleasures, whatever they may be.

For Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal, business trips are the one time he can indulge in watching (and crying over) romantic comedies on the plane. “Sometimes I’ll make a conscious decision not to log in — not to try and squeeze out one more piece of work or write an email that will take 20 minutes to send — in favor of zoning out to the sterling tones of Hugh Grant’s accent,” Blumenthal confesses.

How often do you cut yourself some slack?

When you’re exhausted, remember that you’re stronger than you think.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins wasn’t born with access to the rich and famous. When he was about 17, a series of events once left him with less than $30 to his name. Despondent but ever resourceful, Robbins pondered his next move at a restaurant while filling up on the all-you-can-eat special. After paying his bill, he was left with $17. While the rest of us might’ve clung to every last penny, this next event compelled Robbins to give the last of his money to another person in the restaurant. And then he was down to $0.

Sharing even in his most desperate hour taught Robbins an important lesson, which is something he continues today through his philanthropic work: “The secret to life is giving.”

What keeps you going when you’re exhausted?