Many business owners struggle to take a vacation. Even though the title offers every power to take time off, it can be really hard to step away, even for just a few days. In fact, a survey of 400 small business owners found that only 60% take an annual vacation and of that group, 75% continues working while on vacation.
With the new year on the horizon, we want to encourage you to plan for a fully unplugged vacation. And we have a step-by-step plan to make it smooth and low-stress.
Why You Should Be Taking an Unplugged Vacation
There’s certainly a big stigma around stepping away from your business. Bill Gates famously said that founders should not be taking holidays or weekends. And while we agree that there’s a lot of sacrifice involved in pouring yourself into a venture, stepping away can be extremely valuable to not only you, but also your team.
By taking time off, you can avoid cycles of burnout and get the chance to step back and reevaluate how things are going, which is often when new ideas strike!
Additionally, it indicates to both you and your employees that you’re confident your team can keep things running without you and it models to your team that taking time away is a healthy practice.
How to Take an Unplugged Vacation
Ready for some relaxing time off the grid? Here are or tips:
1. Plan in Advance
A successful unplugged vacation starts with a plan. Choose the dates you’d like to be offline and commit it by putting it on your calendar and alerting your team and clients as soon as possible. Try to work around your company’s busy season when it’s easier for you to step away.
It’s important to be clear and specific about when you’ll be away and that you won’t be available (scary, we know!). Most people will be totally fine as long as they have plenty of notice and know who to turn to if they need anything. Plus, being open about your plan builds in accountability for you to stay offline and avoid slipping into a working vacation.
2. Set Your Team Up for Success
The next step is to think through what your team will need while you’re away. You can’t anticipate everything, but you’ll want to make sure they have access to any resources and tools they need and that they’re comfortable with the work they’ll be doing. This is a great time to brush up on your SOPs and make sure everything is up to date.
You’ll also want to appoint a point person who knows the ins and outs of your daily operations and can be the main point of contact for any questions that arise. This is a great task to delegate to a VA who can handle administrative or technical questions.
3. Automate What You Can
We’re big fans of automation and it can really be a lifesaver while you’re away. You can set up automated responders on email and social media, and you might even want to consider automating some business tasks like running payroll and sending invoices. This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, but can give you peace of mind to know that things are still running like a well-oiled machine while you’re out.
4. Don’t Open up the Line to Your Personal Phone “In Case of Emergency”
Adding in the note to “call or text if you need to reach me” is that tiny security blanket that keeps you connected to your company. But… this is your vacation! It’s the time when you really should be disconnected.
And if you leave that door open to your clients and customers, they will use it. Instead, we challenge you to trust your team to handle things without you. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well they do.
It’s a good idea to give your contact information to your point person in case anything really important needs to be brought to your attention but set expectations beforehand of what those things should be.
5. Resist the Urge to Log On
The work never stops for business owners and it can be tempting to want to log on just to see what’s happening. But even if nobody realizes that you’re online, you’re sabotaging your time to recharge.
Log out of your work email and set your work apps to Do Not Disturb, or better yet, delete them entirely! If you want to really take it to the next level, try implementing Arianna Huffington’s tool that deletes all emails when anyone is out of office.
6. Enjoy Your Time Off
You’ve put in all of this work to carve out some time for yourself—well done! It may feel a little strange at first to be so far from your normal rhythm. Give yourself the space to slow down and reconnect with yourself. Use your time away to rest, journal, spend time with your family, read, dance, meditate, play, enjoy good food. It’s time well spent and you’ll be back to your desk feeling refreshed and recharged.
We hope these tips inspire you to take an unplugged vacation soon. If you do—drop us a line to let us know how it went (after you come back, of course 😉).
Get tasks off your plate faster with the VA Starter Kit!
Ready to meet your perfect VA match?
Focus on your best. We'll handle the rest.