I just got back from taking a much needed summer break from my business.
I was fortunate to be able to escape to the amazing Grand Canyon and then spend a few days in Las Vegas with my husband and kids. Not only did we have a wonderful time together, everyone was able to unplug and come back home refreshed and recharged.
As a business owner it can be a struggle and I’ve dealt with figuring out how to take a break successfully over the years and ending up with a mess when I come back
Everyone deserves a break from their business now and then, its essential to keeping your sanity and self care. Just how should you prepare yourself so that you can take your break and enjoy yourself?
Not everyone feels comfortable taking a break. Some people can’t afford to take one even if they want to, due to the work overload, responsibility, or monetary reasons.
My advice is … if you can, you should take a break.
I have a strong opinion about taking breaks from my business. The number one reason I take breaks is to have real quality time with my family and number two is so that I can come back recharged and much more effective.
So this means that I need to completely unplug from my business.
Sounds scarey? Not if you know how to take a break successfully.
For me this was a big challenge that I needed to learn how to overcome and come up with a plan so that my business would not stop dead while I was gone.
Let’s talk about why and how you can take a break from your business.
“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
Why you need a break from your business
1) Taking a break will help prevent burnout and refreshes you so you can be more productive. It can be a simple as taking a 3 day weekend or as I just did taking an 8 day trip to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas with my family .
2) Everyone in the family gets to bond. I know from experience that life can be short and that the opportunity to create lasting memories is something that should not be overlooked.
3) When you start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged, this is a sure sign you need to take a break.
When I take my break, my goals are to take care of my physical and mental health, give time to my children, get the family bond together, and travel somewhere where we can enjoy our time together.
“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you have been taking” – Earl Wilson
How to Take a Break Successfully
I find that summer is the time when my productivity can be at the lowest because the weather is so wonderful that I would rather be outdoors enjoying it rather than cooped up in my office each day.
So finding the delicate balance between getting the work done and staying motivated is essential.
How to Prepare for Your Break
- Tell your clients in advance that you will be taking a break. Let them know that you will be unavailable during this time. And if you are lucky and have a team, then give them someone they can contact if they need someone. This works beautifully, my clients knew I was going on vacation and they were all just fine with this because I told them in advance, I make arrangements with my team and got things delegated so that nothing was left undone.
- Let your team know you are going on vacation. This is a great opportunity to let go and let them take care of things for you. Believe me if you have built a good team like I have, they will be excited to have you let go and let them handle stuff for you!
- Use the vacation autoresponder of your email service. I set mine up on gmail and was able to specify my response and automated it to run during the 8 days of my vacation.
- Be okay with reducing the time you spend on blogging or social media. Your business will not fall apart if you don’t blog or tweet everyday during your break. I read a post on Social Triggers by Derek Halpern who I look up to as a blogging authority and he says that it really isn’t necessary to be posting all the time. If you must blog while you are gone then just prepare a few in advance so they can autopost and have someone on your team take care of the content marketing for you.
Trust me, your audience won’t forget you if you take a break!
Even if you feel you must be on social media while you are away, just make sure that you don’t over do it, because you’ll miss out on the special time with your family, friends, or spouse.
That’s it. Now you know how to take a break successfully and not have your business fall apart.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
What to Avoid During Your Break
I know it is hard to unplug but seriously, if you are going to come back refreshed and ready to be super productive, here’s what you need to avoid during your break:
- Resist the temptation read your emails. For this reason I use a separate gmail account for my business and keep my personal emails out of there. I did not open my business email while I was gone on my break this year. Because I told everyone in advance and had my vacation autoresponder set up – this worked beautifully. I was able to enjoy my time away and did not open my email once.
- Do not give your cell phone number to your clients. You should only conduct business using a phone dedicated to it. You don’t want to get texts or phone calls from clients while you are away. Just a single text from a stressed client can easily get you right back into work mode while you are away.
- Don’t check your website and answer the comments. It can wait!
Remember you’re on a vacation and you are supposed to completely cut-off from your work.
While we were on break my husband promised his team that he would not check his email and that if he did, he would pay my kids $10 each time he did. Okay so he wasn’t perfect and he ended up paying them each $20 for the two times he peeked. But this was such an improvement over past vacations where he was on email multiple times a day and talking to clients. The great thing was that when he came home his team really had taken care of his business while he was gone because he gave them the space to do just that.
What to do during your break
a) Sleep as long as you want and take naps – play hard and make time for rest!
b) Avoid over scheduling. Make sure you do all of the things you want but include free time as well. We planned our vacation around hiking, river rafting and just chilling out at the pool. Plus we made sure we had some down time each day where we could relax.
c) Laugh and have fun. These are the things make memories memories which will keep you rejuvenated for a long time.
d) Socialize and I don’t mean virtually– but in the real world! Go and meet people, unplug and connect with your family!
Everywhere we went on our vacation we took the opportunity to chat with other people whether it was on a hike in the Grand Canyon, rafting on the Colorado River or on the Monorail in downtown Las Vegas, we talked to people. It was fun, and we got to meet many interesting people from all over the world.
e) Help at home, help other people, or do some social work. If this is what makes you feel good then by all means do it!
g) Get pampered. Get a massage, pedicure, facial or whatever you like – Studies show that pampering is one of the best forms of self care and is a great way to make you feel good.
No matter what you choose to do during your break, make sure you do something that you enjoy and makes you feel goo.
“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Fears you might have about taking a break
I can understand the fears and guilt that may be running through your mind about taking a break, I’ve been there too.
You might be afraid you will lose clients, blog traffic and things will generally fall apart if you take a break. If you plan ahead, none of this will happen.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking a break then it’s up to you and your priorities. From my most recent experience, I know it can be done and you will be a better person for having taken a break!
I want you to take your much deserved break – go ahead, feel free and let me know what you did and how you felt afterwards!