Small business professionals have an unfortunate tendency to work themselves to the limit, around the clock. It’s understandable; you’re responsible for an entire operation, and you’re nervous that if you take even a day away, things will blow up or fall apart.
However, that’s not the case. Even if you’re a one-person operation, your business can afford to miss you for a time. There are plenty of good reasons to treat yourself to the occasional holiday—and if you play your cards right, stepping away from day-to-day operations for some rest and relaxation can end up benefiting the organization.
There’s more than a nugget of truth in the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” If all you do is work, work, work, it can grind you down. Human beings need to switch gears from hard work to kick back every so often, or their mental and emotional wellbeing could be at risk. What’s more, you’ve got friends and family that want and deserve your time. If you’re always on your laptop working on files, or answering business texts on your phone, and not paying attention to your loved ones, you’ll miss out on everything from little moments to big events. Don’t make your partner or spouse a “work widow.”
Here’s a list of tips to help you prep for a vacay, enjoy your time away, and return to your small business with renewed focus.
When leaving for a short or long trip, I like to make sure all the pressing or timely tasks (like reconciliations or paying sales tax) coming up are done and buttoned up before I leave. Leaving my clients in good shape before I leave for a jaunt makes them feel valued and cared for, and it gives me peace of mind. It’s also a good idea to make a list of things that are going to need to be attended to when you return—coming back to an organized plan, rather than relative chaos, helps avoid “I need a vacation from my vacation” syndrome.
Let your clients, vendors and other important contacts know you’ll be out of pocket. It might help to let them know they can still contact you (via text, email or however you prefer) in case of emergencies—but this is more to reassure them you’re not leaving them high and dry, than to actually take care of disasters while you’re on the beach. In all likelihood, there’s no challenging situation that can’t wait until you’re back home. In my experience, for example, there’s no such thing as an accounting emergency. Your business and money are important, but it’s unlikely that anyone is going out of business over an unpaid bill, a missed Facebook post or a typo in a publication. Unless you’re delivering organs for transplant, your “patients” will survive until you’re back in town.
We’ve said it before, but it warrants repeating: you can’t do it all yourself. Even the most capable small business professionals benefit from help in areas outside their core capabilities—everything from cleaning your office (you can hire a janitor to spruce up) to getting your finances together (talk to My Small Business Pro). It’s a little trickier to offload important tasks if you’re a one-person operation, but if you’ve got even one other person helping out (like MSBP does), consider entrusting them to cover your field while you’re off—they can prevent tasks from getting piled up on your desk for you to swim through when you return and keep your clients happy by responding to non-emergency issues.
One item you should cross off your pre-vacation to-do list: making sure your small business finances are in order. Knowing you’re in the best possible shape moneywise can help take a load off your mind. Reach out to me at Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com to find out how to make that happen.