As a business owner, it can be difficult to justify taking time off for a vacation.
You may feel like you can’t afford to take the time away from your business, or that you’re too busy to relax.
But taking a vacation is important for your mental and physical health, and can actually help improve your business performance.
Here are some tips on how to take a vacation as a business owner.
1- Plan ahead
Are you eager for a break from the business and all that comes with it?
You’re not alone – I always take breaks and time off.
The one thing I do first is plan for it!
It can be challenging to plan ahead and make sure everything is taken care of while you’re away, but it’s definitely not impossible.
Here are some quick tips:
1- Start by setting some goals for your vacation.
What do you hope to accomplish while you’re away?
Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, relaxing on the beach, or exploring new places, having clear objectives will help keep you on track.
2- Create a timeline for your preparations.
Make a list of what needs to be done in advance and put deadlines on each task.
This will help ensure that nothing is left behind.
3- Know when your business slows down.
As the owner of a small business, you should know when your business slows down.
But those slow times might not always coincide with the best time to visit your vacation spot.
For instance, you might have a slow time at work when hurricanes are common or your child’s school breaks might not line up with times when your business is slow.
You can still align your vacation during the busy times if you plan ahead (as mentioned in step 1).
When it’s time to go on vacation, this decision will be easier to make if the team is strong and reliable.
2- Delegate responsibilities
Set up a plan for how and to whom you will give tasks as soon as you can before you leave.
Is there one person who should take care of all your daily tasks and things to do?
Can tasks be given to more than one person so that one person doesn’t have to do too much?
Is there anything you have to do that you can put on hold until you get back, besides delegating?
No one likes to come back to a lot of work, but if things don’t have to be done right away, you might want to think about putting them off until after your vacation.
3- Set rules and limits
Once you’ve chosen the best time for your trip, you’ll need to give yourself limits and rules to follow while you’re away.
First, choose how much you want to be connected.
Do you want to forget all about work for the week or two that you’ll be away?
Depending on how many managers and support staff they have, some business owners may have more freedom in this decision.
If you can’t get away from everything, decide how much contact you want to have while you’re gone.
Is it enough to check in once a day on Slack?
Will you only answer emails or texts that you know are an emergency?
Or would it be better to be available every other day for an hour, like a professor who has office hours?
No matter what you decide, make sure you tell everyone on your team what you expect and what you won’t do before you leave.
This way, everyone will know what the rules are for your time away.
What rules do you need to set for yourself, besides making sure your staff can reach you?
Will you give yourself an hour a day to check your messages and deal with anything urgent?
Or would you rather check in at the start and end of each day to make sure everything is going well while you’re away?
Make these plans ahead of time to give yourself the best chance of being able to relax and recharge.
4- Make time for yourself
You’re on vacation, but you still want to check your phone? You’re not alone.
Email has changed how people balance work and life for a whole generation.
Now, it’s almost impossible to get away from work in your free time, even if you’re on the beach, thanks to productivity apps like Slack and Zoom.
In many ways, the pandemic has made “grind culture,” or the idea that you should always be available for work, even worse by making it harder to tell where your home life ends and your work life begins.
For travelers, these issues don’t just happen during work hours: We don’t get to enjoy the relaxing parts of a holiday because we’re too busy or stressed out.
A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies showed that “it takes time to relax after a stressful work period and get used to vacation,” so it takes eight days of vacation to feel the full benefits of a break.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…Including you.” ― Anne Lamott
To be truly restful and restorative, you must unplug and let your mind relax.
Stick to it and you’ll thank yourself later!
5- Have a backup plan
To give yourself the best break possible, you might choose someone on your staff to be your second-in-command or temporary replacement while you are away.
You are more likely to get a real break from work if someone else takes care of the things you would normally take care of.
You should choose as your back-up someone you can completely trust to make decisions in your place.
But that person should also not be afraid to say “no,” and they should be someone who can be your gatekeeper and help you protect your valuable free time.
Then let the rest of your team know who will be doing your work while you are away.
If you don’t, people on your team might call you about things that could have been taken care of without interrupting your vacation.
6- Relax and enjoy yourself!
As a successful business owner, you care a lot about the businesses you’ve built and the teams you’ve built, but it’s just as important for your success that you take care of yourself.
You should take a break!
Business owners can, in fact, work what seems like an endless number of hours to make sure they are doing everything they can to help their companies grow.
Working that much can lead to burnout if you don’t also take time to relax and have fun.
People say, “Work hard and play hard.”
All the work a business owner has to do before going on vacation can make them tired even before they get there.
Planning, packing, putting the mail on hold, making sure the pets are taken care of, and doing all the other things that need to be done can be stressful.
But your business needs just as much care and planning when you want to go on vacation.
The more you can plan ahead for how the work will be done while you’re gone and who will be in charge, the more you can relax and enjoy your well-deserved vacation.
Now go get out there, take a vacation, relax, and enjoy your time away!