4 Helpful Ideas on How to Really Leave Your Work Behind While on Vacation

Image courtesy of Luke Peterson's photostream

Image courtesy of Luke Peterson’s photostream

Vacation (va·ca·tion)

1. A period of suspension of work, study or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation or travel; recess or holiday.

2. Freedom or release from duty, business or activity.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vacation

This definition is why we work all year. For time off and away from the fluorescent bulbs! Unfortunately, as a society we just cannot stop working. Fear of missed opportunities and time-sensitive projects that can’t be ignored have kept our eyes glued to laptops instead of the swaying palm trees and crashing waves right in front of us. A majority of entrepreneurs will tell you the main reason they own their own businesses is for the freedom it provides. Yet as business owners, we trade flexibility throughout the year in for always having to be available, hence no true vacation. Here are some helpful tips on how to achieve the true definition of a vacation:

  1. WORK, WORK, WORK! Before your scheduled time away from the office, put your nose to the keyboard and get EVERYTHING done. The two weeks before said vacation, try to accomplish as much as you can by anticipating your business’s needs. Put deadlines on those pesky projects so they don’t follow you while you’re away. Contact your regular clients and complete your business with them, all before you pack your bags.

  1. REACH OUT! Communication is crucial in your goal to not communicate during your holiday. Contact the clients that have the most activity with your company, explaining the situation and ask them to only contact you if they have a crisis. These clients will appreciate that you have reached out to them.
  1. HAVE A BACK UP! Whether you are a one man team or you have employees to lean on, make sure you have someone to help with work while you are away.
    1. Self-employed and no employees? There are answering services available that are relatively inexpensive that will take your messages, and will deliver those messages in any format you prefer. With this, your cell phone isn’t ringing every 20 minutes and you can relax knowing the calls are being taken care of and you can retrieve them at your convenience.
    2. Employees and Co-Workers? You should have someone in your circle that can handle the basics of your position or at the very least be able to handle an emergency or a last-minute problem that pops up. Use those two weeks before your vacation to assign that person, if not already, and make sure they know exactly what is expected of them.
  1. TRUST! You have hired, trained and depend on these people for your business to succeed. Now put yourself first and hand the reigns over for a little while. You have done the work, reached out and made the necessary arrangements to let go and relax. So while on your R&R, trust your employees/coworkers to contact you if need be. Don’t call in, email or text to micromanage from your ski resort. Be assured that your people are doing what they do best: their jobs and a little bit of yours until you return. If you are constantly checking in, there is a good chance your employees will feel you underestimate them and can’t trust them.

So go forth and enjoy your time off! Ski down those slopes and catch that dream fish. Just don’t check your email while doing so.

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