After the last two years, it may seem like no surprise that most people are itching for a vacation. Especially when we think about the blurred lines of home and work that have transpired with the remote working trend.
However, when you’re running your own business, taking time off may seem like a luxury you don’t think you can afford – particularly when you’re just starting out. You may feel guilty stepping away at such a pivotal moment, especially when it seems like you’re gaining a lot of momentum.
The secret though is all in the planning!
And with summer just over the horizon, there should be no reason you can’t take a breather – without stressing out.
So, how does one take a break without feeling like everything else will break, too?
Start with the hard work, and delegate!
There may very well be items that can’t be postponed – no ifs ands or buts. If you have business transactions that cannot be pushed out to your return date, delegate the work to a contractor, family member, or friend that you can trust. A great way to do this is by making a list and dividing it into three categories:
- Things that need to happen before you leave
- Things that can be happening while you’re gone
- And things that can wait until you’re back
Then, carefully go through the “needs to happen before I leave” list and create a checklist of the action items and who can handle it for you.
Pro tip: Once this list is created, take a quick scan and see if there is anything on the list that you know won’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes, and knock them out right away. Oftentimes, a pressing task like paying a bill seems to loom over our heads, but in reality, can take just a few minutes to complete!
Clear your schedule early.
If you know you’re traveling, or just planning on taking a staycation during the last two weeks in say, July, make sure your calendar is blocked off and there are no “leaks” anywhere. This means making sure to do a quick audit of all the places you may have additional booking links and ensuring they all connect to your one main calendar.
If an event or appointment has snuck in anyway, or had been scheduled way in advance, be sure to reschedule it with ample notice. You’ll most likely want to push it out to your return as you’re trying to clear your schedule and not add more to your prepping time.
Pro tip: Set your out-of-office notice early! You can schedule it way in advance so when the day comes to head on out, your away message “magically” turns on and notifies your clients if they happen to forget and email you.
Notify your customers ahead of time.
We suggest sending a calendar invite with a note attached letting anyone who requires your attention on a regular basis know that you will be offline / out of the office from X date to X date. Always be sure to include an emergency contact method – even if that’s someone else who will be taking over in your absence.
If someone else is going to take over the reins while you’re gone, you can alternatively also just forward your calls and emails to them directly. Whether that’s your virtual assistant or online business manager, make sure it’s someone who can field any immediate need questions or concerns.
Pro tip: Add your out-of-office days to your email signatures so that you have an additional gentle reminder in all of your communication leading up to your vacation.
Create a buffer for when you are back.
One of the most overlooked things business owners do when planning a vacation is not giving themselves a day or two buffer between being back in the office. Before you take client calls or make yourself fully available, you need at least a day to catch up on anything you may have missed. You can be back at your office, but working quietly.
This buffer will help you not only the day of but also leading up to your return. Let’s face it, as business owners, we can’t help but start thinking of all the things we need to do the following day. This practice will set you up for success and let you thoroughly enjoy your time off!
Pro tip: Add that extra buffer into your out-of-office notice so it feels real!
Whether just one or perhaps all of these suggestions can be used for your next vacation, we hope you are able to take some much-needed time to enjoy the summer with family and friends!
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