7 Tips for Work-Life Balance: How to Take a Carefree Vacation
July 5, 2017
By: Kelly Spors
In need of a vacation? If you’re a small business owner, you’re not alone. Getting away to relax stymies many entrepreneurs. It’s hard to find the time to break away from your business routine and unplug from work gadgets, even if only for a few days.
But the good news is that taking a vacation is cited as one of the best things you can do for yourself. More business owners are urged to pack a bag and take a break in order to improve their business life, according to Inc.’s 4 Reasons You Really Need to Take a Vacation as an Entrepreneur. Getting away is actually a demonstration of trust that can help strengthen employee relationships and boost confidence that they can take care of things in your absence. By getting away, even if only for a long weekend, you’re sending a message that also says you advocate balance, fun and good health.
The challenge is figuring out how to get R&R, so you're not wasting your precious vacation time buried in work. Here are some tips on how to strike a work-life balance and take a carefree vacation:
Time your vacation wisely.
Before you book any flights, make sure you’re choosing a slow enough time at your business with little risk that your clients or employees will need you around. For certain types of business owners, slow periods may be predictably seasonal. Other business owners may need to plan around project deadlines and other events to ensure their vacation won’t be ruined by unexpected work requests.
Prepare your operations and employees.
Just like you might create an itinerary for your trip, create a plan for how your business will operate in your absence. This will reduce the odds your employees or clients will disrupt you while you’re away. Simon Philip Wolf is the founder of Wolf Designs, a Los Angeles-based company that makes products such as jewelry boxes and watch winders. He spends the weeks before his vacation meeting with his company’s department heads to discuss project work, procedures while he’s away and troubleshoot any problems that might otherwise arise while he’s gone. “Otherwise, while you’re away, they panic,” Wolf told The New York Times.
Appoint another point person.
If possible, appoint someone else at your business, such as a trusted manager, to handle any urgent inquiries or questions you get while you’re away. Before you leave, give this person all the information they will need to handle your job while you’re away.
Communicate your vacation plans broadly.
Tell — and remind — your clients and employees about your vacation to improve the odds they won’t bother you while you’re away. Make it obvious that you don’t plan to spend your vacation time working. “Set an automatic email response telling people that you’re out of town and when you’ll return,” recommends Annie Pilon at Small Business Trends. “Call the clients and colleagues you talk to most before you leave to tell them when you’ll be gone and how they can contact you in case of emergency.”
Keep gadgets to a minimum.
The more technologies you tote along on your vacation with you, the more tempting it will be to use them. Restrain yourself and try to only bring one gadget — whether a smartphone or laptop — along on your vacation, so you’re not simply transporting your office to a faraway place.
Designate a time for work, if absolutely necessary.
While achieving work-life balance might mean lettings go a little, it may be impossible not to check in. If checking your email or doing some work is absolutely necessary, allot a specific time of day for it. Perhaps you'll work no more than an hour at 8 a.m. each morning. Commit to working during that pre-allotted time — then leave your gadgets behind in the hotel room, so you're not tempted to check back in later in the day.
Take deep breaths, and don’t micromanage from afar.
Remember, the goal of vacation is to relax and refuel. Focus on enjoying your vacation and not worrying about your business. Your employees may not be able to answer every question in your absence, but chances are, things are moving along smoothly without you.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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