It may be that all it takes is one glance at your 6-month goals or your weekly to-do list to give up on the idea of taking a vacation.
You couldn’t possibly imagine packing a bag and heading out of town for some R&R, even if you knew it was much-needed.
If just the thought of planning a vacation gives you more anxiety than excitement, that might be the very reason to hire a travel agent. If you are scratching your head trying to remember the last time you took a vacation, that might be the very reason to start checking airline prices.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for hard work. You can’t build a business without hard work, without commitment, without a fierce drive and motivation.
However, what I am NOT for is, “All work and no play,” which is a trap small business owners often fall into.
According to a survey commissioned by Sam’s Club, nearly 50% of small business owners take only major holidays off, or nothing at all.
In a poll done by The Balance, 24% of respondents said they take only a day off here and there.
At that point, what kind of quality relaxation are you getting? In my experience, it takes at least a day or two of being on vacation to unwind before you can fully relax and enjoy yourself.
As business owners, your days and your schedules are so full that it is easy to become desensitized to busyness. To become numb to the daily grind and the negative effect it can have on you – and even your business.
Vacation Benefits For You and Your Business
As I said earlier, some time away may be the very thing you need. While there may be more work to do on the front end before you leave town, there are many benefits of taking a vacation.
- Health Benefits – The Framingham Heart Study links regular vacations to a decreased risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Escaping the nine-to-five demands allows you to relax, and to greatly reduce your stress and anxiety levels, which if too high can lead to physical pain and many health risks.
- Mental Benefits – It is easy to get mentally bogged down when you’re stuck in a daily routine. Your stress, your busyness, your responsibility can become overwhelming and lead to negative feelings, depression, an anxiety disorder, etc. Vacations forcibly remove you from familiar surroundings and allow you the time and space to think more clearly.
- Business Benefits – Taking time off work is not a weakness. Now, I’m not encouraging taking a vacation every two months, but taking a much-needed trip is to your benefit and your business’ benefit. The best thing you can do for your business is to take care of yourself. When you’re able to remove yourself from routine and familiarity, you create a space for inspiration and creativity to dwell.
- Relational Benefits – Over time, the day-to-day stresses and demands can negatively affect your attitude. You may become increasingly impatient or be short with your employees. You may find yourself easily irritable or taking out your work frustrations on your loved ones at home. Dedicating time to take care of yourself will have a positive impact on your work and personal relationships.
How to Prepare for a Relaxing Vacation
- Look at your work calendar when planning your trip. In order for you to get the full benefit of taking a vacation, the trip needs to be extremely relaxing. And, the only way for you to be relaxed is to go during an appropriate time. For example, a grand opening might not be the best time to up and leave; however, it is likely that your business has a slow season, and this might be the perfect time to plan a trip.
- Let your clients know. It is customary to prepare an auto-response email for those trying to reach you when you’re on vacation, however, this isn’t how your clients should find out. Reach out to them personally to inform them of the dates you’ll be gone and to give them any information they may need in your absence.
- Prepare in advance. As mentioned earlier, oftentimes the week or two before your vacation can be a bit overloaded with doing extra work ahead of time. The earlier you start this work and prepare, the more stress you’ll be able to alleviate the week before you leave.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. According to BlueVine Blog, nearly 75% of small business owners worry about the work that goes undone in their absence. Part of preparing to leave is preparing your staff. Hand off work with a detailed explanation and/or training of how it should be completed. This will communicate to your staff that you trust them and allow you to relax more while you’re away.
As a small business owner, you owe it to your company to be dependable and to work hard. And, you also owe it to your company to take care of yourself. When you’re looking at your yearly planning and yearly calendar for your business, don’t forget to prioritize some R&R for you.
Whether a silent retreat or a family vacation, you and your business will greatly benefit.
Now, you only have one more decision to make: Where are you going to go?
Thanks for this tip! Does a Mission trip abroad to do “member care” counseling count as a vacation??