It’s that time of year again.
Weddings are in full swing, suitcases are being rammed till they’re at bursting point, and the smell of barbeques, sun cream and freshly cut grass wafts through the air. Summer has well and truly arrived, which means the holiday season is upon us.
When you are an employee for an organisation, holidays are exciting times. Safe in the knowledge that everything will just trundle along like it always has, you get to pack up, grab your passport and jet off to wherever your dreams and bank balance will take you. A couple of weeks to forget about the 9-5 grind…absolute bliss.
But when you run a business? Well, holidays…they’re a little trickier.
Because your business is your blood, sweat and tears. You’ve created it, nurtured it, slogged at it and watched it grow. It represents your damn hard work and let’s not forget…your hard earned income.
When you’ve put so much of your heart and soul into something, it’s not surprising that switching off from your business and taking a break can feel like a challenge.
But here’s the truth of the matter. As the absolute backbone of your business, the most important person in the whole equation is you. Forget to look after yourself, forget to rest, forget that you are infact a human being and not a robot – and you risk burning out. Which is never a good option.
Just because you run a business doesn’t mean you can’t get away for a true break. So grab a drink, book that flight and follow the tips below for switching off and taking a well deserved holiday.
Before you go
Ditch the shoulds
I hate the word ‘should’. It’s an unhelpful word at the best of times and can stress out the calmest of business owners when time is short. ‘I should be doing this…and I should be doing that’. Should you? Really?
When planning some work free time, rather than thinking about what you think you should be doing, instead think about what you actually want to achieve. Get that ‘to do’ list on paper, work out what the priorities are, then leave the rest for another time.
Get the robots to help you out
If you’re worried people will forget you while you’re sipping sangria and slapping on the sun cream then get technology to help you out. Use tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to maintain some visibility on social media and if you’re a regular blogger, schedule in some pre-written blog posts to be published at various times throughout your trip. Happy days.
Let the important people know
Everyone goes on holiday now and again, it’s fine, no-one will judge you. So let the important people know what they can expect during this time. Are you shutting shop completely? Is there someone else they can contact with any queries? Can FAQs be answered from your website? Make sure you set up an email autoresponder and an updated voicemail message and you’ll keep everyone happy. (If you’re feeling overwhelmed with emails generally, here are some great tips to implement on your return).
Get someone else to take the reigns
Need someone to keep an eye on things while you’re away? Then get some virtual assistance. Just having someone to keep an eye on things while you’re away can mean the difference between a fulfilling break from work or simply being away and stressed. Just think of a Virtual Assistant as a house sitter for your business.
Prepare your desk for your return
As a child I remember my mum putting the hoover round the day before we went away on a 4 week trip. I thought she was nuts at the time but as an adult I do the same. It’s lovely to come home to a clean house and the same can be said of your business. Leave everything tidy with a clear ‘to do’ list and it’ll be far easier to get back into the swing of things when you return home with holiday brain.
While you’re away
Have a technology detox
Don’t go thinking that you’ll be able to switch off from work whilst keeping half an eye on what’s going on. It just doesn’t work that way. To truly switch off you need to allow yourself time off from emails, phone calls and social media. So leave the gadgets behind!
Give yourself a chance to unwind
Your business is a massive part of your life and consequently it’s going to take a while for it to drift from your thoughts. Accept that it will take a few days to truly unwind and use the following tip to speed things along.
Fill your mind with new experiences
If thoughts of work are constant then simply keep your brain busy with other things. Get engrossed in an exciting new book, explore new areas, learn the local language…Create some adventures for yourself and work will feel a million miles away.
Capture ideas when they arise
Have you ever noticed how creative ideas have a tendency to pop up at the most random times? If a flash of inspiration hits while you’re away, don’t ignore it but empty your mind of the idea by scribbling it down on a notepad. You can then continue with your holiday knowing that the idea is safe and secure ready to return to when you head home.
And most importantly…have fun!
Life is busy most the time, so this is your time to really enjoy yourself without worries of work or ‘to do’ lists. Take time to enjoy it!