Work/Life Balance: How to Vacation as a Small Business Owner
While owning a small business gives you more freedom in your schedule, that schedule is still usually pretty heavy. In fact, 50% of business owners say that they work more than 50 hours a week, while another 25% say their workload is generally closer to 60 hours per week.(Source) It can seem impossible to step away from your business and take a vacation, but it’s something you should do for your overall health and happiness. The good news is; small business owners can take vacations without their business falling apart. Here’s how to make it happen.
Try to plan your vacation during a slower period and ensure that your employees won’t be vacationing around the same time. Make sure you tell clients about your out-of-town dates at least a week or two beforehand, giving them plenty of time to come to you with anything they want to discuss before you head out. Provide any client that relies on you directly with a point-of-contact that will be able to field any calls, emails, and questions in your absence. For general admin tasks, consider hiring a virtual admin service. Centerco offers community members basic administrative services for only $12/hour for anyone who needs a bit of assistance while they are out of office.
Give yourself space on either side of your vacation. Start clearing your schedule before you leave so that your last couple of days in the office are less stressful, making it easier for you to leave. Don’t feel bad about telling clients that you’ll be back a few days later than you actually plan on arriving. Leaving your auto-reply on for a few extra days will give you a nice buffer zone so that you can ease back into work and not feel bombarded by clients and projects.
Delegate tasks and responsibilities
Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to do everything on their own. You should be training your employees year round, not just right before you leave. Delegating tasks is not just a good way to make your day-to-day life easier, it’s also great for when you need to take some time off. If you train your staff year-round, you’ll be able to observe them taking on responsibilities you generally reserve for yourself. If you have seen your employees handle things without you before, you will feel a lot more comfortable letting them take hold of the reins while you are gone.
Set a check-in schedule and stick to it
Too many business owners waste half their vacation checking emails and fielding phone calls. If you really want the physical and mental health benefits of a vacation, you need to check out. If going completely off the grid is simply out of the question, set up a schedule and stick to it. Decide how often you will be checking email and voicemails before you go and hold yourself to that schedule.
Taking time off has been shown to increase productivity, enthusiasm, and motivation upon returning to the office. Of course, if you want to reap those benefits, you will have to take a true vacation, which means actually relaxing and not working. So plan ahead, learn to delegate, and focus on checking out!