How to take a vacation when you're the boss
If you've been eating countless meals in front of your computer, having nightly dreams about work, or sacrificing way too much sleep, it might be time to take a break.
But when you're a small business owner, your job is inherently more demanding than others. A vacation might seem like a distant dream. However, going away could have great benefits - for yourself and your business. You may come back refreshed, inspired, and more productive than ever.
Here are six steps that can help make it happen:
1. Pick your destination wisely.
Are you unable to go an hour without checking your email? Does your business depend on you being online? If you know you may need to respond to urgent communications, which can be the case for many small business owners, then you may not want to disappear to a remote tropical island for a week. While it can be great to be completely unplugged, be thoughtful about selecting a destination and length of time that will let you handle any emergencies that might arise.
2. Make concrete plans.
There may never be a "good" time to go on a trip - especially if you're running a business. The key is to make it official by booking a flight and marking your calendar, ideally at least a few months in advance. Whether you decide to go away for a few days (or weeks), try to solidify your plans instead of putting them off in hopes that you'll magically find the time eventually.
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3. Delegate to the right person (or people).
A few weeks before you leave, decide who will cover for you while you're out. You may need to appoint someone to be the decision maker or provide you with updates. Make sure it's someone you trust, and give this person ample time to prepare and understand what you're expecting while you're away. However, if your company is tiny, you should distribute your responsibilities among a few people ... or decide which ones can wait until you get back.
4. Keep clients in the loop.
While you should still set up an out-of-office message, you may want to give your high-priority (or most difficult) clients a heads up in advance. You don't want to leave them in the dark - or they may call you with a frantic question while you're unwinding on the beach. Either email or call them at least a week in advance to let them know that you'll be gone, but that they will be in good hands.
5. Tie up loose ends before you leave.
During the weeks leading up to your trip, consider making a list of tasks and projects you've been dragging your feet on - and cross them off. There's nothing worse than waking up during your vacation with the realization that you forgot to send an important, time-sensitive email.
6. Let go of the guilt.
Many business owners struggle with "getaway guilt," or the belief that they're somehow letting their employees down by being away. But if you take all of the above steps, taking time off won't hurt your business; it could even help it. Taking time for yourself could even help you be a better boss in the long run.
This post is sponsored by CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage®.
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