What made you start your own business? Working grueling long hours? Spending all your time at your desk? Probably not. You probably wanted to give yourself a life you love – and that life probably includes taking a vacation to somewhere fun and exotic once in awhile.
In spite of having the ability to pick up and leave whenever, wherever, most small business owners tether themselves to the desk. If they do muster up the courage to step away, they’re not relaxed, worried about what’s happening back at the office or what will happen when they return.
If that sounds like you, here are a few ways you can take a vacation, relax, and still maintain the productivity levels you need to keep your company in the black.
#1. Schedule in Advance
Chances are you have your vacation already scheduled months in advance, but have you told your clients, colleagues and employees?
Make your vacation plans public as far in advance as possible. This will make it easier for everyone to ask questions before you leave and plan for your absence. Instead of having your email inbox chirping or phone ringing while you’re trying to relax, you’ll sit back with complete confidence that everything is running as it should be while you’re out of the office.
#2. Auto-Responder: Don’t Leave Home Without it Set
An auto-responder is essential to have in place while you’re out of the office. It sets the expectation for the person emailing you. With a well-written auto-responder in place, you won’t feel pressured to respond to every email that lands in your inbox while you’re getting some much needed rest.
#3. Write a Good Auto-Responder
Writing a good auto-responder for your absence is just as important as setting it. Ditch the standard “out of office” replies and set your auto-responder up to fuel your productivity when you return.
Instead of saying, “I’ll be back in the office June 1” say when the person can expect to hear from you. Give yourself some wiggle room. When you come back from vacation, you’ll probably have quite a few emails to dig out from. You’ll also have to jump right back into the daily grind. State that in your auto-responder so that the person isn’t waiting on pins and needles for you to reply. This way, you will feel less focused on clearing out your inbox and more productive as soon as you get back to work after your vacation.
#4. Write Down Your Schedule
After sipping a few margaritas on the beach, or skiing down more slopes than you can count, you will feel refreshed. You might also feel as if you got out of the groove and need a little extra help getting started up again when you return.
Set yourself up for success by writing down your to-do list before you leave the office. No matter how obvious the task, write it down.
When you’re on vacation, you’ll feel more relaxed knowing that everything is ready for you when you return. You’ll save yourself the agony of running over your to-do list over and over again in your mind. Instead, you’ll know it’s ready and waiting for you when you return, so you don’t have to stress over missing a thing.
#5. Download the Essential Apps
Apps are developed to make your life easier. Use them.
Download any essential apps that you might need while you’re on vacation. Having these at your disposal will help you put out any fires while you’re out of the office faster, and easier. Some apps you might want to have ready are:
- A schedule management app so you never have to worry about who’s manning the store in your absence;
- Your CRM in case there are any burning questions about a specific client that arise;
- A project management app that lets you jot down and assign any last minute tasks you might have forgotten to dole out before leaving.
Think about the programs and functions you might need while you’re gone, then download the right app to have ready just in case you need it.
#6. Hire a Virtual Assistant
These days, there’s an app for just about everything. Still, some tasks are better left to human hands.
If you need some help finishing up work before you leave, or you want small tasks completed in your absence, consider hiring a virtual assistant. These people are trained to manage small tasks, such as checking in on social media, uploading blog posts, and managing your email. Having this person in your back pocket will let you tackle any emergencies that might arise while you’re gone. Even if you don’t use her to manage something, knowing that she is available will give you the peace of mind you need to relax.
#7. Check in Every Now and Then
Once you’ve landed in paradise and you’re ready to relax, you don’t have to completely unplug. If you’re the type of person who has a hard time disconnecting from work, you will want to know what’s happening. Not checking in could leave you with the worry that something’s wrong, or fear that you’ll arrive back to a flooded inbox that’ll take you days to clear out.
Don’t be afraid to check in once in awhile while you’re gone to make sure things are running smoothly. When you know you have nothing to worry about back on the homefront, you’ll have an easier time relaxing.
#8. Give an Employee a Test Run
Have you been considering a promotion for one of your employees? Give her a test run while you’re out of the office. Let her take over in your absence so you can see her true capabilities.
If you don’t want to check in while you’re on vacation, give your cell phone number to one trusted employee to only use in case of emergency. See how much she uses it. See how many fires she puts out on her own. Your vacation is a perfect time to let her test the waters in a new role.
Going on vacation doesn’t have to drain you. As a small business owner, you can set yourself up for success while you’re gone – including the success of actually finding the ability to relax while you’re away.
Images: “Woman on a tropical beach with hat/Shutterstock.com“
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