Running your own business can be all-consuming. So it’s vital that you look after yourself properly and that means taking regular breaks.
It’s not only good for your health, but taking time away from the business will refresh your thinking, giving you new perspective on problems and allowing you to step away from the day to day issues to consider the big picture.
I love travelling and before I had my own business I lived from one holiday to the next. But that all changed when I became self-employed. For the first 2 years I had zero days off. For the next couple I managed to snatch a few days here and there while my husband held the fort – so no chance of a romantic getaway for two!
In the later years, once I had a team of capable staff, I did manage a few short holidays. But they needed to be planned with almost military precision.
Modern technology means it’s much easier to get away from the office – you can simply take your laptop or tablet with you and stay in touch. But for many of us taking time out means turning down work and that can be hard.
So how do you manage to fit a much needed holiday into your busy schedule?
Step 1 – Decide when is the best time.
Take a look at the next 12 months and decide when will be the most convenient time to take a vacation.
This may be when your business is quiet – or you may need to fit around your family, school holidays etc.
Step 2 – Put it in your diary – NOW!
Tell yourself you’ll take a few days off when things are quiet and it’ll never happen. There will always be something that seems more important.
So schedule your holiday dates well in advance and plan for them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you want to go, just block out the time.
Step 3 – Plan for your break
There’s no point in taking a holiday and then spending the whole time glued to your laptop working. But there may be some things that you just can’t avoid.
In my previous business it was paying the staff. This year it was keeping an eye on the Google Adwords accounts I run for a number of clients.
So think about all your tasks and decide for each whether you can:
- Ignore (i.e. simply don’t do this during your break)
- Take with you
Be ruthless with this – you should aim for as little as possible in the third section and preferably nothing.
Step 4 – Organise your backup
Once you’ve worked out what can be delegated, make sure you have everything in place.
Whether you have existing staff or are going to use outside help like a virtual assistant, make sure they are properly trained and give them some limits. You don’t want them emailing you every day with trivial questions, but if a genuine crisis hits you’ll need to know.
Step 5 – Let go and enjoy yourself
Finally, once you get to your destination, make a conscious effort to relax and forget about work as much as possible. Enjoy it – you’ve earned it!