Running your own small business has its advantages for scheduling your clients and services around your schedule, but what about vacation time for yourself? Many individual professionals often forget to take time off. This is something that needs to be included in your overall business plan to prevent burnout. The ill effects of refusing to go on vacation, documented in research, include fatigue, poor morale, heart problems and reduced productivity. Even if you have a heavy workload and fear of returning to an even heavier backlog, vacation time is critical to your overall wellbeing.
The truth of the matter is really just organizing your time so that your clients and your schedule aren’t inconvenienced. That’s easy enough with a few scheduling “tricks”:
- Timing is everything. Your vacation should adapt to key dates on the company schedule. You don’t want to find out after you’ve scheduled the time that it falls right in the midst of a project deadline. Take a look at upcoming events your company is involved in and timelines for projects.
- Make it a long weekend. Taking off Friday and/or Monday gives you that few extra days to your weekend and more time to unwind. Use three-day holiday weekends (Memorial & Labor Day, July 4th ) to take a mini vacation.
- Identify your backup. Things can, and often do, go wrong. The key to a relaxing vacation is to identify someone on your team to serve as backup to reduce your stress and help ensure the crisis gets resolved. The earlier you do this, the better your chances of getting a positive response. Have a plan mapped out and hand over work instructions, a project timeline or any other notes that will make it easier for your backup. To sweeten the deal, offer to return the favor in the future. And don’t forget to say thank you by bringing back a souvenir or giving a gift card to show your appreciation for the help.
- Close the loop with customers. Unplugging and relaxing during your vacation helps ensure you’ll be refreshed and not frazzled when you return, so notify clients and customers that you’ll be out of the office. Let them know the dates you’ll be out and explain who will be available to handle emergencies in your absence. Make sure your out-of-office email and voicemail message also indicate the same information.
Many small business professionals have few or no employees, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to take time off. Schedule it way ahead of time and you and your family will be able to anticipate this time together. You’ll be less stressed and you’ll be surprised how the time will bring your family closer.
These techniques will help even if you intend to take the time off alone. You don’t have to go somewhere exotic or spend a lot of money to get recharged and restored, you will be even more focused on your return to the office.
Summit Executive Suites offers an array of administrative help for our professionals to help them feel confident about leaving their offices for a week or longer. Come in for a tour and we’ll be happy to show you the many different ways we can help!