As business owners, our to-do list can seem endless. There’s always one more thing.
You have read plenty of articles about the work/life balance, and you do your best to make your version of balance happen. Then someone mentions the word “vacation,” and you think that is not possible.
If there aren’t enough hours in the day, then there can’t be enough days for a vacation. Or so you think. Here’s my 3 & 3 for small business owners … three reasons you need to take a vacation and three ways to make it happen. (As I’m writing this, I may be talking myself into my own vacation.)
3 Reasons Why You Need to Do This
1. Clear Your Head (Mental Health)
Like most business owners, you probably are overworked. Your vacation gives you the time to decompress and breathe. This will help you come back stronger and more focused. This also may help your ability to see things more clearly … distance often can bring clarity.
2. Renew Yourself (Physical Health)
From lowering stress levels to improving your heart health and the quality of sleep, article upon article demonstrate how vacations help our physical health. And for those of us who take advantage of vacation time to incorporate exercise, there’s even more benefit!
3. Restore Peace and Calm (Emotional Health)
“What neuroscience is showing is that we require down time in order for our bodies to go through the process of restoration. It is only when we are safe from external stresses that our bodies can relax enough to activate restoration.” – Clinical Psychologist Deborah Mulhern of Bethesda, Md. from The Benefits of Taking Time Off
Back in 2013, 49 percent of small business owners reported they were going to take a week off for summer vacation. In 2014, that bumped all the way up to 60 percent! This year, it slid just a bit to 59 percent (as reported each year by the American Express OPEN Spring Small Business Monitor). It’s good to see that more small business owners are seeing the need to take the time for their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
3 Ways to Make It Happen
1. Determine Your Go-To
Figure out who your clients and employees will go to in your absence and have confidence that this person can take care of the majority of questions and items that come his or her way. Do as much prep work as you can so your go-to person can handle his/her load in your absence and review any possible scenarios that may arise with this person. Wrap up any large projects so there are no deadlines that occur while you are on vacation.
2. Redefine Vacation
Office Depot, Inc. Small Business Index “found that while nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of small business owners plan to take a vacation this summer, 76 percent will stay connected to their work in some way while out of the office.” After effectively delegating, figure out the minimum amount of time you need to be connected to keep things running. Set boundaries so that if you are going to connect for one hour a day, that’s all you are going to work each day.
3. Use Your Out of Office
What used to be a totally disconnected vacation has now become a redefined vacation allotting one or two hours in the early morning to address anything necessary to keep things flowing while you’re away. If that’s what needs to happen to make your vacation become reality, then do it, but use your “out of office” on your email and phone and do not respond to messages that others can handle.
Now, start planning your vacation.
Then, enjoy the anticipation of knowing your trip is coming … that’s part of the fun!
And when it’s time for your trip, go, get outta here. Take your vacation and recharge your batteries. Your body will thank you, and for your business-minded self, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be more productive when you return!