How to allow yourself to take a vacation as a business owner

Being your own boss is an attractive notion, and for those who turn that notion into a reality, it can be rewarding. It can also be stressful. And we all know what the best solution for work-place stress is, right? Time off.

Stress isn’t the only ailment that vacations are purported to cure. Everything from your personal (and professional) relationships to your mental prowess can be improved by a little rest and relaxation. And if you’re the owner of a business, then you can approve your own mental health getaway at any time. 

If you rolled your eyes, sighed, or chortled at the naivety of that statement, you’re not alone. Despite the inherent freedoms that come with being your own boss, small business owners are far less likely to take a vacation. Whether it be the need or desire to continually take on and turn out work or an innate fear of leaving things unattended, those in charge have a hard time getting away. 

Despite all the excuses, the truth is you do need a vacation, and if you’re the one person standing in the way of that necessity, you need to step back, take a deep breath, and give yourself permission to let go for a few days.

Realize it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

If you struggle with the notion of taking time off, then consider this: Work is a leading cause of stress, and stress can cause everything from headaches, fatigue, and sleep problems to irritability, anxiety, and depression. As a result, your health, productivity, and ability to make decisions can all suffer.

A vacation can reset your mind and body, making it essential to not only your professional life but your personal life as well. Some time away will make you more happy, healthier, and productive in the long run. It should be a non-negotiable pact you make with yourself.

Make it Real. Put a date on the calendar.

Once you convince yourself that a vacation is essential to the well being of your business, your body, and your personal relationships, it’s time to set a date. 

You may think, “I’ll just wait until the time is right.” You’ll be waiting forever. Putting a date on the calendar makes it real; you’ve officially said, “I’m taking some time off.” It’s harder to brush aside something you’ve specifically scheduled time for. It also gives you time to plan appropriately and make any necessary preparations for your absence. This is a big deal for those of you who are less than thrilled with giving up the reins.

Meet with your employees who will handle the business.

Your employees will need to take care of things while you're gone, and so a few weeks before your departure, set up a specific time to meet with those who are next in command. At this time, you can clue them in to any expectations you may have, delegate your responsibilities, address any concerns that may arise, and discuss what to do in case of an emergency (or what defines an emergency).

The heart of this step may be logistical, but it also works to set a standard of separation. By letting your employees know you’re officially on vacation, you can mitigate the risk of unnecessary calls and communications.

Designate a check-in time for while you’re out.

Ideally, you would leave everything at home and absolutely avoid all things work for the duration of your vacation. However, the wonders of modern technology mean you can check your email, hop on Skype, or manage your finances from anywhere at any time.

This accessibility is often a blessing, but when it comes to vacation, it can be a real burden. If the thought of staying disconnected is one of the leading reasons you can’t come to terms with a vacation, then do yourself a favor: acknowledge it as a key reason why you can take a vacation, and then set some parameters.

By determining (and sticking to) a scheduled check-in and -out time, you can check your emails and then make the most of your vacation.

You need to run your business, and to do that successfully, you need to be the best version of yourself. That’s not possible if you’re chained to your work 24/7/365. Give yourself the permission to take that vacation. It will pay off in dividends.



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About the Author —

Jennifer Lobb is a alum of the University of Denver. While in the graduate program there, she enjoyed spending time identifying ways in which non-profits and small businesses could develop into strong and profitable organizations while promoting strong community growth. She also enjoys finding unique ways for freelancers and start-up businesses to reach and expand their goals.


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Nicole Pannuzzo