Next month, I'm going away for four weeks. Part of that time I'll be on the other half of the world, learning to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I don't plan to be continually checking e-mail, voice mail, or calling the office. Someone who owns her own business leaving for a month? How's that possible?
Frankly, it scares the daylights out of me. Like any boss, I find it impossible to leave my business. There's always a big project underway and a pile of work to be done. As a result, it's been years since I've had a serious vacation. Sure, I've added extra days to business trips and have even gone on a week-long vacation, but I've always called back to the office daily, checked e-mail daily, and done business on every trip. Let me tell you, sitting by a pool proofreading book galleys is most definitely not the same as lying by a pool reading a junk novel with a pina colada. Work is still work even when you're getting a tan.
So this time, I'm determined to really take a break. I certainly need one: I've got a new book about to be released, a Web site about to launch, a new business venture underway. These days my human batteries run down faster than a cheap laptop's. I need to get completely recharged.
So I'm making July a mini-sabbatical. I'm not ready to be completely out-of-touch with my business for all that time, but I am planning on clearing my work schedule completely, staying away from the office, and getting so far away that it's impossible or impractical for me to even check in.
Doing this, of course, isn't easy. Leaving for a real vacation (or any other extended time period, such as maternity leave) takes planning:
Even so, if you're like me, the idea of seeing my bags packed will make me happy but apprehensive. After all, it's "MY" business. How will it get along without me?
Copyright © Rhonda Abrams, 2001
Rhonda Abrams writes the nation's most widely read small-business column and is the author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies and Wear Clean Underwear: Business Wisdom from Mom. For free tips, register at www.RhondaOnline.com or write her at 555 Bryant St, number 180, Palo Alto, CA 94301.