It is widely thought that entrepreneurs are in charge of the way they spend their time. After all, the business is theirs to run, and the resources are at their beck and call, which means they can do as they please at their own time.
This, in turn, implies that they live a laid-back life with all the time in the world to look after themselves. However, all entrepreneurs know that this is far from true. In fact, most of them grapple with taking any real time off.
While entrepreneurs may have the liberty to work from any place they choose to, no one can take time off when strapped to their smartphone and / or laptop. In fact, things get tougher for solo entrepreneurs as the concern of looking after the business in their absence looms large.
So, is it possible for entrepreneurs to take a vacation and actually de-stress? We say it is, and we'll even tell you how.
1. Inform ahead of time.
You know you have great customers and clients when they do not object to your taking some time out every once in a while! Let’s face it, work isn’t everything, and we all need to take breaks to come back to it feeling rejuvenated.
It is extremely important that you give your clients, employees, vendors, partners and other related parties ample notice of your leave. Informing them in advance will prepare them for what is to come. Failing to do this will only cause confusion and frustration, leading to strained relationships.
Telling them about your plans in advance will also give them sufficient time to ask you about the documents they may need in your absence. If you would like them to report to someone else in particular while you’re away, make sure they have their contact details.
2. Keep your tech tools at bay.
Ideally, you should completely disconnect from your professional life when on vacation. However, this advice is rarely taken seriously. So, let’s be realistic. Keep your mobile phone and other communication devices away for as long as you can. If you cannot, strive to balance things out.
Set certain parameters for yourself for checking your emails and voicemails, and let your clients and business associates know about it. For example, you can set aside a couple of hours in the morning / evening everyday for work matters. This will show them that you care for their needs, which will result in an enjoyable vacation without jeopardizing your personal and professional life. Smartphone apps such as TeamViewer, Asana and Domo should help here.
However, there is no fixed formula here, and each entrepreneur needs to identify what suits him or her the best. Remember, you’re on vacation and it can be challenging to switch off completely with your gadgets buzzing all the time.
3. Pull back if you need to.
More often than not, travel plans include hobnobbing with family, friends and relatives, and holiday shopping with / for them. As if being an entrepreneur isn’t taxing enough, the added pressure of socializing with an army of people can make you more restless than rejuvenate you.
Feeling overwhelmed at the prospects of this happening is natural. If you think you’ve over-committed, feel free to pull back. Skipping a couple of social engagements and enjoying your holiday is much better feeling strained and drained while trying to squeeze everything in.
This applies to your business as well. When holidaying, choose and tackle only one or two issues which are the most important and make the most difference to your business. The rest can wait.
4. Use the holiday season wisely.
During the holidays, businesses close for a while and entrepreneurs experience a slow-down. If you happen to find some quiet time in such a scenario and have no plans to vacation yourself, use it wisely.
Instead of looking after menial tasks, focus your attention on the status quo of your business. Such times are ideal for reflecting on how it is shaping up. Consider your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, as well as assess the scope for improvement. Also, think of ways to better connect with your clients.
5. Don’t second-guess your decision.
Last but not least, do not feel guilty about spending some much-needed quality time with yourself and your family. Make sure you enjoy their company along with exotic food, drinks, nature and other luxuries. Unwind at vacation rental homes such as the ones provided by HomeAway as they are beautiful, comfortable and cost-effective. Taking a restful break will give your mind, body and soul the opportunity to revitalize and come back with a fresh perspective.
It isn’t easy for entrepreneurs to leave their business behind and throw caution to the wind as they holiday. However, leaving a part of yourself at the office or taking it along with you can make the vacation feel like an incomplete experience. The above tips should help overworked entrepreneurs understand how they can make their holiday time as smooth-sailing as possible.