Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
If you are the owner and only employee of your business, vacations can be next to impossible. Even if there are other employees to keep things running, many SOHO owners have a hard time getting away.
But you need to rejuvenate now even more than when you worked for someone else. Taking a break from your business can refresh your interest, renew your determination, and recharge your batteries. Don’t put it off another year.
Here are some ideas to help you:
--Plan well in advance. By blocking out the time on your calendar months in advance, you can schedule meetings, events and even orders around that time. Hold that time sacred once you schedule it, or else you’ll be playing and endless round of vacation roulette with your calendar. One great incentive to stick to your vacation date is to buy non-refundable plane tickets or hotel rooms. Do something to make it hard for you back out.
--Choose the slowest time for your business. If you have data from previous years, you can probably spot some “down time” when sales were slower. Many businesses have cycles and seasons which may correspond with the weather, seasons, school schedules, holidays, or a particular cycle based on your own industry or location. If you are one of the rare businesses whose volume is always steady, just pick your favorite time to take a break.
--Review your scheduled tasks and move any urgent or important tasks to the time before you go. For example, if you have estimated tax payments due, or your newsletter is due to go out, or you need to order supplies, do so before you leave. You might be able to leave some for afterwards, but make sure you’ll have plenty of time when you return—no stressing about pending deadlines while you’re off.
--If you absolutely must take your laptop and cell phone, vow to check email and messages only once a day. Do so quickly and handle or respond to only the most urgent and essential messages. Allow yourself a set amount of time, say 10 minutes, to handle as much as possible, then unplug and go lounge.
--To keep your “business mind” from running things, take some totally non-business reading material and music. No how-to books allowed. Load your mp3 player with fun music or trashy audio books. Hit your destination’s used paperback store and stock up on paperbacks to read while you are there. (Leave them behind after you read them if you’re running low on suitcase space.)
--Don’t work so hard at vacationing that you are exhausted when you return. You can’t cram two years’ worth of fun into two weeks. Schedule relaxing time—hanging out on the beach or by the pool (umbrella drinks permitted), get a massage or three, take naps, spend an afternoon drinking tea and discussing beauty tips, meditate on a mountaintop—whatever it takes to feel like you have no worries.
Action Item: Pick a Vacation and schedule it on your calendar.