How to Take a Guilt-Free Holiday Break
It's late December, the season for gathering with family and friends, toasting the holidays, and taking stock of the year that's been.
Well, you small-business owners may see things a bit differently. For many of you, 'tis the season for additional stress.
Nearly half of business owners failed to get away this summer on vacation, so it stands to reason that with clients and employees as demanding as ever, the holiday season is often also far from restful for many entrepreneurs. Getting away can feel like putting your business at reach, making the end of the year festivities a minefield of guilt.
That's bad news for family members who have to deal with the entrepreneur in the family spoiling the festive cheer with constant tapping on a smartphone, and it's bad news for business owners themselves.
"If you don't get a break, you're going to burn out, and you'll never achieve the level of success you're aiming for," Debra Condren, founder of Manhattan Business Coaching, recently told the New York Times regarding business owners' reluctance to actually switch off.
So is there a way for you to actually enjoy the season without stressing yourself out and frustrating your loved ones?
Small business cloud accounting company FreshBooks recently offered some tips on its blog, ranging from the sensible but obvious (tell your clients you’re taking off) to the less expected. The advice from writer and entrepreneur Justine Smith includes:
Pay Your Bills in Advance. Who wants to pay bills while on vacation? I certainly didn’t, which is why I always tried to pay my bills before I took my time off. Besides the traditional bills, I also made sure to pay my contractors earlier so they too could enjoy the funds for their holiday needs.
Make Your List, Check it Twice. Before you officially leave, think about creating a schedule of projects and deadlines you have in the New Year so you can jump right back into work upon your return. You may also consider creating a hearty to-do list for the New Year so you can get all those gnawing tasks out of your head before you take time off. The free app I use for my giant to-do list is Wunderlist, which allows me to sync my lists across different devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and Mac). So even if you’ve started your vacation and realize you forgot to add an important task to your to do list, with Wunderlist you can actually just hop on quickly from wherever you are, add it in and get back to enjoying your day off.
Smith isn’t the only one with tips. The New York Times also has advice, including: "set a schedule. Some small-business owners are able to cut the cord and eliminate communication with the office completely. More often, however, they set aside times during the day when they check e-mail or make calls."
Here on Inc., Selena Cuffe, president and CEO of Heritage Link Brands, has shared her personal techniques for forcing herself to get away. And Mike Pugh, a vice president at cloud communications company j2, suggested ways you can channel your vacation anxiety into productivity improvements for your business by honing your delegation skills and piloting new, more efficient tech tools.
Do you stress out about being away from your business over the holidays?
JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist
Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.