Small business owners don't have enough time.
We found this to be true in a recent report we did with Emergent Research. The overwhelming majority of respondents in the study reported not having enough time as one of their greatest challenges. I also hear this all of the time anecdotally from small business owners, and experienced it firsthand when we started Infusionsoft. If you don't have enough time to accomplish everything you want to, then how are you going to have enough time to take a vacation?
This is a natural question to ask, but failing to take vacations is one of the worst mistakes business owners can make. Below, I outline the benefits of taking time off and how you can realistically make it work.
Prepare, Delegate & Automate
In order to have a truly enriching vacation, you must first do the legwork in the weeks leading up to get your affairs in order. If you are not extremely organized in preparing for vacation, then you have failed before launch.
This is why I recommend delegating work to your team with specified directions and next steps. Not only does this keep them on track, but they also get the opportunity to take on new work that has the potential to grow their careers and responsibilities. You might end up being surprised by what your team is capable of, and they will feel grateful to have the vote of confidence from their leader.
In addition to adopting proven leadership techniques like delegation: embrace technology. This might not sound novel, but it is certainly worth underscoring. Simply put: let technology do the work for you, so you don't have to. Automation services like Infusionsoft and others enable you to still provide personalized customer service while away, so your business (and bottom line) doesn't miss a beat and you can get back to that poolside smoothie.
Realistically, it can sometimes be impossible to completely disconnect, so use tools that allow you to check-in when and where you want. Some that come to mind are Slack, Asana, Trello and Evernote to name a few. Just make sure you set boundaries upfront so you don't get consumed by the work and miss your needed time off.
Put Yourself First
Many successful entrepreneurs have an acute and unwavering focus on their business. This can prove successful, but doesn't come without its set of drawbacks. The focus on the vitality of the business can come at the cost of the health of the person. This can manifest in the form of unhealthy eating, and lack of sleep and/or exercise.
Use your vacation to get in a healthy rhythm. Ariana Huffington is a huge champion for 8 hours of sleep a night, while Richard Branson is committed to working out regularly and maintains a healthy diet. These successful entrepreneurs put their health first, and in so doing, bring a better version of themselves to work each day.
There truly is no better time to start this then on vacation, but the key will be maintaining the healthy lifestyle in the real world, which will require discipline.
It is far too easy to get caught in the weeds when running a business. You are making a hundred little decisions to the best of your ability over the course of any given day. It can be easy to lose sight of what you have accomplished, where you are and what you aim to achieve. At times, one can even forget why they started their business in the first place.
This is yet another reason for why it is paramount to take vacations. Vacations are the ideal opportunity to take a step back from everything and take inventory of your achievements, failures, learnings and goals. This time to think, reflect and dream will reinvigorate you in ways I cannot properly articulate.
You are always going to come up with reasons for why to not take a vacation. I hope, though, this will provide you with a few reasons to take that vacation and provide some practical techniques for maximizing the experience.