When you own your own business, taking a vacation where you completely unplug from the office may seem like a pipedream. But did you know that one of the best ways to hit the reset button and recharge your business is by taking a vacation?
Whether it’s for your health or your sanity, chances are you and your small business need a break from one another.
How to take a stress-free vacation from your stressful job
As a small business owner, do you really know how to take a vacation?
Vacation is meant to be a brief period of relief from everyday life, where you can find rest and recharge your senses. For some, the act of taking a vacation is easier said than done.
Vacationing doesn’t mean showing up at a beach condo with your laptop, logging on when you get to the pool and doing work with a floppy hat and fruity drink.
Finding rest doesn’t mean answering text or phone calls to answer questions from the office while you’re sitting on the porch at a mountain cabin.
Recharging from your stressful work environment doesn’t even mean taking 5 minutes to share a file with a team member when you’ve taken a day off.
If you have done all of thee above while on vacation, you’re not alone. I’m just as much an offender as you, so you can come sit next to me!
Be unapologetically unplugged.
Time away from your small business – regardless of how long or short it is – should be time off. You have every right to be completely and unapologetically unplugged.
I have a very hard time unplugging. And for that reason it has been a very long time since I have really taken a vacation. I don’t want to hold anyone else up or risk getting behind on my latest project.
The first jump is the scariest. Once you unplug for the first time, the subsequent unpluggings aren’t as challenging!
Taking a vacation can be good for your health.
Whatever the reason – you feel like your work-life balance is out of whack or you feel overwhelmed by deadlines – you are skipping much needed vacation time. But you’re not the only one.
Americans work more – including nights and weekends – than anyone in the industrialized world, take less vacation, work longer days and retire later.
We just don’t know when to stop, do we?
We are often driven by fear of falling behind at work, being penalized for missed days or letting our teams down. Some find it hard to take the vacation days they’ve earned.
Studies have shown that taking time away from your job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life and more motivation to achieve goals.
But let’s go back to the original question. Do you really know how to take a vacation? Here are some tips that will help.
Vacation tips for business owners
- Keep it simple.
Don’t take a vacation that has so many flying parts that you have more stress over the details than going into the office.
- Consider the timing of your vacation.
Avoid traveling during milestone projects, such as a business expansion. Find out when a good time is to go and work it out. Those details don’t always sync up, but it’s good to do it if you can.
- Ask a colleague to sub for you.
If you have direct reports be sure they have someone to communicate with who has the authority (and knowledge) to help them.
- Tell people you plan in advance.
Give plenty of notice to the appropriate people now of your planned absence. Make sure that those who may seek you out know the dates of your vacation and know who to contact if they need something before your return.
- Provide reminders.
Periodically reinforce the dates of your vacation with your boss and those you work with.
- Plan periodic check-in.
If it is absolutely necessary, select a day and time that you will check your emails and messages while away – and stick to it. Inform your contacts of this day and time so they properly set their expectations of hearing from you.
- Review your schedule with your boss.
Go over the details of how work will be handled while you enjoy your time off.
- Be organized about leaving for vacation.
Don’t leave a nightmare in your email inbox, neglect existing voicemails or leave your desk in turmoil. The worst thing to do to yourself is leave a mess to greet you upon your return.
- Use automated tools while away.
Take advantage of technology tools to streamline and automate as much of your process-oriented tasks that may be make you feel you can’t be away from the office.
- Really relax.
Try to put work out of your mind and enjoy what you’ve planned, paid for and anticipated. After all, the definition of a vacation is when you unplug somewhere that allows you to relax, enjoy yourself and think about anything but work.
- Limit your communication with work.
You’re sure to have your phone with you but try to limit communication with your office. It’s a great idea to turn off work email on your phone while vacationing.
- Allow relaxation to happen.
Not only does your vacation allow you to unplug, it allows you to reconnect with other people and things in your life that make you happy.
- Ease back into it.
Try to take it easy on your first day back. In other words, scheduling a meeting would be a bad idea. Catch up first and then dive back in.
- Catch up.
Seek out what you’ve missed. Don’t wait for it to come to you.
Actually, relaxing and leaving work at work enables you to come back recharged and more productive than if you had stayed in the office for the same period of time. You may even find solutions to problems or think of innovations or new ideas when you are away and your mind isn’t stressed and overwhelmed.
Really and truly look at your vacation as an important way to deliver a better you to work each day.
5 other ways to hit the reset button:
- Unload your workload on others
- Explore your competition
- Refresh your school’s curriculum
- Review your policies
- Discover your work-life balance.
Don’t miss any of our posts on these topics. They will be showing up on our blog during July’s remaining weeks.