How To Take Time Off From Your Business

time offYet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.

Today’s Q is:

How do you take extended time off from your home-based business?

Alicia Jay from newVAadvice.com says:

AliciaJay100x100This question is actually quite timely as I’m planning for an upcoming no-work, week-long family vacation this summer. I have to say, I’m quite excited about it!

Here are the steps that I’m taking to prepare:

Plan Ahead and Pre-Schedule. Since I’ll only be gone for a week, this won’t take me too much pre-scheduling time. I’ve looked ahead at my schedule for things like marketing, blogging, my newsletter and social media. I’ll write my blog post ahead of time and schedule it to post on my site as well as a newsletter to my list so they won’t miss me so much while I’m gone. ;) Social media automation tools make it easy for me to still be seen and heard in places such as Facebook and Twitter without me being around, so I’ll be sure to schedule some posts for my time away.

Notify Everyone in Advance. I’ll be sure to give lots of notice to clients and also pre-schedule some reminders of the dates that I will be away and unavailable for work.

Mark it Off. This step may seem really simple, but I’ve marked off the days on my calendar that I will be away. I use Google’s calendar but I also have an old-school physical planner. I’ve made sure to mark off the days that I will be away so that I don’t accidentally promise anything to a client or sign up to be a guest on a podcast when I’m really soaking up some rays with my family.

Add A Buffer. This, to me, is the most important step to take. When I look at the days that I will be away, I mark off a couple of days before and after my actual vacation time. Why? I need the “before” time to prep. This is everything from finishing up client work to packing. The “after” time serves a couple of purposes. First, we all really want to ease back into “normal” life when we get back from vacation. This gives me an extra day or two to assimilate. Second, as you have all experienced I’m sure, that email inbox will be quite full and I’ll need time to sift through it! This also gives me time to focus back in on my work and look ahead at my schedule of what needs to be accomplished when I return.

It’s Good for You. I do have a few closing thoughts here. If I told you I was going on vacation and I won’t look at my email or social media accounts for a single second while I’m away, I’d be lying. After all, I love what I do. So I’m sure I’ll be taking a glance at things here and there, but I won’t take action on anything and I’ll have my phone tucked away more often than I will have it out, unless I’m using it to take pictures and video.

I think it’s so important for entrepreneurs to take some real time off and away from their businesses. It’s great if we love what we do, but time away can be so good for us. We can focus on our family and enjoy the fact that we live a lifestyle that affords us this valuable time to make memories. If you haven’t done it yet, try it. I guarantee you will come back to your business feeling refreshed and ready to go!

Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:

cjWith both businesses I run being service-based (coaching with my partner and part time web designing), I found that with just a little bit of planning it can be done with quite a bit of ease.

These are the steps I take to schedule time off:

  1. Complete any current client work before the time off
  2. Communicate and schedule any upcoming client work around the time off
  3. Update website with date of next opening for new clients to the date you can start scheduling after the time off

In the event of a family emergency that creates and unforeseen extended time off, contacting clients as soon as it’s feasable should be done. With most of us having access to smartphones and email, this can be done much easier than before.

Following steps that work for you can make taking time off a breeze, well,  less stressful anyway.

My Insights

lyzqa.pngMany people decide to start a business, especially one from home, because of the flexibility it’s supposed to offer. However, many small business entrepreneurs still view the word “vacation” like it’s some foreign thing. You would almost think that they still work for other people. Or worse, that they may be better off working a standard 9 to 5. I mean, who decides to start a business to work more? Yet, sometimes it is just too difficult to set that boundary.

For many years, I was an overworked and driven diva with big dreams. I lived by the motto “Go big or go home.” I did everything I could to bring true sense to the word success. I almost enjoyed it more than anything else. I sacrificed relationships, sleep, vacations…you name it. I was all in. I was praised a whole lot by friends and family who frequently asked about my secrets to getting so much done. I don’t usually have regrets but I definitely wish I had done things differently.

I paid a very hefty price for all of that ambition. For one, having children, which is all I can think about now that my window of opportunity gets narrower each day. And if that wasn’t enough, the years of pounding on my body have possibly invited health effects that may be interfering with my ability to start a family. So yes, I know a thing or two about the importance of taking time off.

In order to stay on track, I plan on following some of the tips that were shared by our Sparkplugging panel starting with – planning for breaks and vacations. Once you’ve set a plan in place you are in a position to make adjustments as necessary and would be prepared for emergencies. You can also adopt a business model that will allow for more time off and supports your personal vision.

An awesome concept that is often overlooked is to give yourself permission. Many times deciding to pass on taking time off is more of an issue with guilt. This interferes with your reasoning and convinces you that you can’t take time off.

Extended time off provides time to recharge and re-invent. If you are conditioned to work all of the time, your body and brain may adapt to that lifestyle and you may experience that feeling of being, “too wired to relax”. Plus, when you’re at ease, you increase your performance and make more room for breakthroughs. Ever wonder why so many people come up with great ideas while they’re in the shower?

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About 

Lyz has a passion for business, personal development and wellness. She hopes to help new and emerging home-based entrepreneurs discover both their personal and business strengths in order to develop a more productive, healthy and balanced life while rocking it in business from home.