Everyone deserves a vacation every now and then. Getting away from the daily grind is great for your mental and emotional health, and often renews your sense of creativity and passion for your work.
But business owners often find it difficult to plan trips for themselves, and even when they do, it can be hard to unwind. These seven entrepreneurs check the following items off their pre-vacation to-do lists to keep their businesses running smoothly. Follow their lead so you can truly relax while you're away.
Automate as much as you can.
With so many different tools and technologies available to automate business processes, there's no reason you can't set a few things to run on autopilot while you're away. "Take advantage of virtual assistants and automations to ensure daily tasks continue to run smoothly without you being there," says Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP.
"Emails, meetings, schedules, reports and financial tasks can all be automated. Now you don't have to assign them to another team member unfamiliar with these tasks and lose sleep over them," he says. "The best part about this strategy is that it can be used even when you're back."
Stop any new communications and projects before you leave.
There's nothing more stressful than feeling like you have to start a new project during your time off. To avoid this scenario, Jean Ginzburg of Jean Ginzburg.com pauses all new communications and projects with clients several days in advance of her vacation.
"I continue to work on current projects, but the pause allows for a break to not begin anything new until I am back from vacation," says Ginzburg.
Create a guidebook for your team and empower them to act.
Adelaida Sofia Diaz-Roa, co-founder and COO of Nomo FOMO, believes in empowering her team to take action in her absence. After all, "if you've done a great job hiring and have shared values with your team, you should be good to go."
"Think of most of the decisions your team comes to you for," she adds. "Then, come up with a mini guidebook on how to go about making those decisions and who is best suited to make each one."
Set clear expectations for vacation communications.
Rather than fully detaching from his business during a vacation, Chris Van Dusen of Parcon Media and Bota Hemp clearly communicates his expectations for the team while he's away.
"I travel a lot as it is, so we make sure we know how to escalate communication as needed, and what things can and cannot wait an hour, a day, a week without input," he says.
Set up an 'emergency' push notification system.
If you're looking to maximize your opportunities to unplug, implement an "emergencies only" communications protocol so that you'll only be notified if a critical situation occurs.
"Set up some type of push notification -- an automated email, asking a member of your team to message you, etc. -- for these moments," says Roger Lee, co-founder and CEO of Human Interest 401(k). "That way, you'll know that unless you get this notification, everything is fine." Lee advises against manually pulling information during your vacation; checking emails and apps will only cause you to worry about things unnecessarily.
Run drills of worst-case scenarios.
James Simpson, CEO and founder of GoldFire Studios, runs virtual "fire drills" with his team a few days before his vacations to simulate outages or other major issues.
"This allows everyone to follow the outlined protocols and run through the process of solving whatever the issue is," says Simpson. "Any issues in the process get corrected through the protocols, and I can feel safe that the team has everything under control."
Prepare for your return.
While you should be preparing for the time you'll be away, it's just as important to consider your post-vacation work. Blair Thomas, co-founder of eMerchantBroker, recommends making a thorough return-to-office plan before you go so you can hit the ground running when you get back.
"Doing this before you leave means you will be less likely to check your office email and calendar to ensure you didn't forget something," he says. "The goal of a vacation is to recharge your batteries. You can't do that if all you are thinking about is work."