Yes You Too Can Take A Vacation

Yes You Too Can Take A Vacation

Surveys are interesting. I took note of​ this one done recently by American Express because it​ backed up some data I learned at​ the​ (National Association of​ Female Executives) NAFE National Conference in​ May. According to​ the​ survey,​ 40% of​ the​ smallest business owners - those with less than $200,​000 in​ annual revenues - are planning no vacation whatsoever this summer. But even business owners with higher revenues aren't doing much better - only 75% of​ them expect to​ get away from the​ business this summer.

As we​ were told at​ the​ NAFE Conference,​ even those business owners who do get away from the​ office,​ won't truly get away. Rather,​ one in​ three will link their vacation time to​ a​ business trip and 50% will still check in​ with the​ office at​ least once a​ day.

Why can't business owners let go? What are the​ concerns that keep them tied to​ the​ business? According to​ the​ survey:

* an​ important client or​ customer will not receive appropriate service
* the​ business will miss out on​ a​ new opportunity
* There is​ no other competent person to​ leave in​ charge
* the​ individuals left in​ charge will make the​ wrong decisions
* an​ operational or​ equipment breakdown will occur without anyone to​ solve the​ problem

Such concerns are not surprising. it​ is​ hard for a​ business owner to​ take any type of​ vacation worry-free. But with planning,​ preparation and good leadership you can boost the​ enjoyment level of​ your time off to​ come back refreshed and ready to​ tackle new challenges and opportunities. Here are 8 steps to​ prevent vacation angst.

1. Make a​ plan - to​ avoid surprises,​ create a​ list of​ scenarios on​ your current projects and brief your staff on​ the​ possibilities and your major concerns about each client. Assign specific staff to​ each client/account so there is​ someone that clients can speak to​ who understands their concerns when you aren't there.

2. Brief your key clients or​ customers - Offer them advance notice of​ any extended absence you are planning. There's no reason to​ keep your vacation schedule a​ secret. Introduce them to​ your deputy and convey your confidence in​ their ability to​ handle any issues that may arise. if​ appropriate,​ consider letting them know how to​ reach you should a​ true emergency arise - not that one will because of​ all your pre-planning.

3. Leadership is​ being a​ delegator not a​ dictator - if​ you never delegate important tasks to​ others,​ you can't expect them to​ be ready to​ fill your shoes when you want to​ take time off. to​ create a​ saner situation and build confidence that good things will happen when you aren't there,​ learn to​ delegate responsibilities - divvy up those pieces that must still happen in​ your absence and postpone those that can wait for your return.

4. Strategically schedule your vacation time - Most businesses have a​ slow season or​ times of​ the​ year when the​ pace is​ slower,​ or​ at​ least a​ bit less crazy. Plan your vacations to​ coincide with those lulls.

5. Mini-Vacations - if​ you just can't let go of​ the​ business for a​ whole week or​ two,​ or​ you can't bear to​ be too far away from the​ office,​ try taking a​ few days out of​ town,​ or​ extend a​ weekend somewhere else. Even a​ brief escape from routine with a​ change of​ scenery can do wonders for your perspective and re-energize you.

6. Disconnect entirely - When you do take a​ vacation: turn off your cell phone,​ don't bring the​ laptop,​ don't check your email,​ don't bring work with you and avoid the​ temptation to​ call or​ visit the​ office to​ "check up" on​ what's happening. if​ there's an​ emergency they can't handle,​ they will find you.

7. Take time off to​ sharpen skills - if​ you just can't justify taking time off to​ kick back and relax,​ then take time off to​ learn something new - business or​ personal. Taking continuing education courses at​ a​ local college or​ business school is​ a​ low-cost and effective way to​ break from your office routine,​ be with new people and try new things. Some programs are 3-5 days off-site if​ that fits your schedule better.

8. Keep your priorities straight - When you go through the​ exercise of​ listing the​ things you really care about,​ is​ your business really #1,​ 2,​ and 3? Outside of​ work,​ your priorities might be connecting with family and friends,​ spending time with kids,​ cultivating personal interests,​ staying healthy or​ pursuing an​ avocation. to​ regain balance in​ your life,​ you need to​ keep work,​ family and personal time in​ perspective. Those other priorities help you find more enjoyment in​ your time away from the​ business.

Let me know if​ these tips help you take a​ well-deserved vacation (or two) this summer.

Yes You Too Can Take A Vacation

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