We all know how important it is to take some time away from the office and give yourself a chance to mentally disconnect -- especially when you're the boss. But that's easier said than done if you're worried about coming back to a mess once your vacation is over.
These six entrepreneurs share their top strategies for vacation success, ensuring their businesses continue to run as usual while they're away -- and allowing them to enjoy taking the breaks they deserve.
Meet with the department heads you interact with most.
"It's important to me that I'm completely present on vacation and not constantly checking my phone for work issues," says John Hall, co-founder and CEO of content marketing agency Influence & Co. For this to happen, you must be confident things are running smoothly back at the office.
"What's really helped me has been to meet with the department heads prior to my vacation to discuss any items that need to be taken care of before I head out. We'll list everything and then label them as either a 'now' concern or a 'later' concern."
Contact your clients.
Once your employees know your plans, give clients a heads up that you'll be away. That way you're less likely to have a long list of messages waiting when you return and they won't be caught off guard when their emails are met with an out-of-office reply.
"I usually call all my clients and anyone who may be contacting me during vacation. I catch up with them and set up a time to talk again after the vacation," says Richard Fong, CEO of digital marketing agency Bliss Drive. "That way they know we'll be talking again and less likely to reach out during my vacation."
Make sure your systems are in place.
"If you have to handle emails and run your business on vacation, it's not a vacation," says Arian Radmand, CEO and president of concierge photo printing service TurnGram. "To avoid this, systemize your business so that your systems and processes run the business and your employees just need to follow the processes."
Living without your input for a week or two shouldn't send your employees into a panic. If you're that indispensible, you probably have a bigger problem. Radmand adds: "Every entrepreneur's goal should be to build a company that can run without them forever. If your business isn't at this point, you don't have a business -- you have a job."
Take time to meditate.
Mentally detaching from your work doesn't have to wait until you're miles away. Mindfully practicing before you leave can make the process less painful later.
"I introduce into my meditation practice the concept of detaching from work," says Matthew Capala, founder of SEO training program SearchDecoder. "Detaching from the outcome of particular projects and areas that may be of concern before I depart is of chief importance. Devoting practice to detaching from outcomes and thanking the universe for bringing me the opportunity for every experience is very rewarding."
Set rules -- and adhere to them.
Sometimes detaching completely from your work simply isn't possible, but you still want to get away. If you must do work while you're on vacation, be sure to set boundaries.
Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of cloud communication advisor GetVoIP, suggests: "Set times and limits for checking on the business. Choose a time of day when you're hanging around the hotel room -- say before breakfast or after dinner. Don't read social media while you're away. If it's crucial to your business, make time before you leave to queue up posts with management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer."
Remember that practice makes perfect.
Disconnecting may not be easy, so give yourself plenty of chances to practice. "As a startup founder married to my co-founder, we very deliberately unplug for even a single overnight getaway once a quarter," says Jennifer Mellon, founder and president of on-demand private investigator service Trustify.
"Early on we realized that, no matter how much we planned for our absence, we were still connected to the office. The only thing that worked was practice. We realized the importance of unplugging and how capable our team is in our stead."