Let’s be real here for a second: Being self-employed is intense. No doubts! Needing to stay on top of every aspect of your business is exciting, yes, but it also puts a ton of pressure on yourself. No wonder you have a hard time logging out, shutting down and taking some real time away as a business owner.
But Christmas is around the corner. And with everyone else spending the holidays with their families, getting cozy around the Christmas tree, not checking their e-mails, this is the perfect time of the year to practice taking time off! Once you realize just how refreshing taking a break from work can be (and that it doesn’t mean everything will fall apart the second you are gone), you can move on to schedule some more off-times throughout the year.
Already getting excited at the prospect of some real free time or anxiously clenching your cup of coffee at the thought? Either way, be gentle with yourself. We’ve put together a bunch of suggestions if you wanna take time away as a business owner and ensure your vacation is as refreshing as you hope it will be!
Let’s dive right in.
1. Do Not Just Promise Yourself You Won’t Check Social Media – Delete Business Related Apps Off Your Phone.
Claiming that you won’t check Instagram or your e-mail is much easier said than done. Whenever you grab your phone these apps will just be there tempting you. It’s not going to hurt if you take just one quick look… will it?
We’re not claiming you need to go on a full on social media detox, but the more consequent you are in taking time away from the online world and any apps related to your work life, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits of taking time off: Reawakening your own creativity, connecting with your intuition and taking a break from the FOMO hanging out on social media so easily creates for us.
2. Make A Plan of All the Things You Wanna Do Before You Head into Your Vacation.
A book you just haven’t found the time to read? A board game you never play enough? A friend you’ve wanted to call forever? Whenever ideas for your time off come up, be sure to write them down.
That way you immediately have a go-to list of fun stuff once your vacation kicks off and it’s a lot less likely that you head to social media for bored scrolling or waste your time away only to realize once you’re back at work that there was so much you wanted to do, but didn’t think of it in the moment.
3. Work on Some of Your False Beliefs.
Do you have a mean little voice in the back of your head telling you that you really don’t deserve that time to yourself? At least not until you’ve crossed X, Y, Z off your list? Not until you’ve reached a certain number of followers or make X amount of revenue? Are you certain that as soon as you take a couple of days away it’ll ruin everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish?
There are so many false beliefs we carry around that can be detrimental to our health and well-being. And when we run our own business, these nasty little thoughts are turning up the volume BIG TIME whenever we’re supposed to relax. The worst part: Most of the time we aren’t even aware of some of the beliefs playing on repeat in our mind, while they still drive many of our actions.
The good news: Whenever these ideas come to the surface, you have a real chance of catching them – and then consciously start replacing them with better beliefs and more positive perspectives. This is much easier said than done, but totally possible.
The more awareness we create around our patterns, the more likely it is that we can choose more consciously what we wanna tell ourselves on a day to day basis.
4. As A Business Owner You Will Need to Plan Your Time of Absence Well In Advance.
Will your business rest while you’re taking time off? Or are there certain logistics that need to be taken care of? Will you have to hand over certain responsibilities to other trusted members of your team? Any deadlines, important dates, commitments within that time frame or coming up quickly after your return?
Planning well in advance is your friend here.
That goes for deciding early on when you’re going to take time off over the year. Then being consequent about keeping this time commitment-free.
Make sure you communicate to your clients early on that you won’t be available within that time frame. And brief potential team members on their to dos and responsibilities.
You might need to put together some protocols regarding certain processes, create a plan, have some emergency contacts for your team and clients during your absence. Planning all of that well in advance will guarantee that you won’t be stressed out of your mind leading up to your time off.
5. Finish What You’re Currently Working On – And Delay Starting New Projects Until You Come Back After Your Break.
If your mind tends to be restless, it’ll be even worse when you need to leave a project mid-finish. It won’t always be possible, but you should try and tie up any loose ends before your absence and, wherever possible, bring projects to completion.
Also, as tempting as it may be, delay starting something new until after your break. That’s when you’ll have the time to dive deep and bring some fresh energy to it.
6. Plan A Buffer of a Couple of Days Before People Know You’re Back in The Office.
There is nothing worse than returning to your office ready to rock after some refreshing time away, only to be bombarded with calls and pings and clients eager for your return, all expecting an immediate reply.
Your relaxation will wear off quickly when you’re immediately swamped with work, while hectically trying to get back to everyone at the same time, only to add their needs to your own overflowing agenda.
That’s why you should consider adding a couple of buffer days, e.g. communicating you’ll be back 2 days after your actual return. This will leave you with some time to get back in the swing of things, prioritize, write out what’s important to you and get a head-start on your client work before announcing your return, prepared to cater to your clients’ needs.
7. Set Up an Out-Of-Office E-Mail and State You’ll Declare E-Mail Bankruptcy After Your Return.
Remember how we just talked about feeling overwhelmed with to dos and inquiries right after your return? That extends to e-mail! There’s little less terrifying than to return from two weeks away only to find an insurmountable amount of e-mails in your inbox.
The solution? Declare e-mail bankruptcy. Your out-of-office e-mail should state that all messages making their way to your inbox during your vacation will be deleted. Anyone who is serious about their request should reach out after date X.
Will you miss out on a couple of inquiries? Likely. Is a missed opportunity worth more than your sanity? You decide. Especially since you could use that fresh energy after your vacation to bring in those opportunities tenfold.
And because we really want you to have the most relaxing time this Christmas, here’s a template for your automatic e-mail reply:
Thank you so much for reaching out! I am hitting the road from X to X and won’t be available within that time frame.
To ensure I get to bring all that refreshed energy to my business and not immediately get bogged down by an overflowing inbox, I will declare e-mail bankruptcy upon return, meaning I won’t read any e-mail making its way to me during my time away. Feel free to reach out to me again after DATE X.
If your matter is urgent, please reach out to X under XXX-XXXXX or [email protected]. She’ll / He’ll be happy to assist with any questions.
I can’t wait to connect upon my return!
Ready to take some away from your business this season? You deserve it!
Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.