Surefire Signs It Might Be Time to Take a Vacation (and how to prepare for it)

One of the perks of owning your business is setting your own hours. One of the drawbacks is figuring out when you can take some time off. How do you know when it’s time? And how do you keep the business going while you’re away? Here are some signs that it might be time to take a vacation (and how to prepare for it).

Watch for the Signs

With all that small business owners do, it’s not surprising that many don’t plan to take a vacation. In fact, one study reports that only 57 percent do. And over a quarter of them take just a few days. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day that you may not see the need.

If any of these sound too familiar, it might be time to start reading the warning signs:

  • Short fuse – Do you find that even the small things set you off? You used to take it in stride but now your reaction is bigger than the problem itself. And things get worse, not better.
  • Losing customers and staff – Are customers fleeing to a competitor or is staff turnover becoming an issue? Maybe it’s time for a change but you can’t figure out what to do.

Creeping health issues – Do you find yourself sleeping less or getting every cold that comes along? It might be your body’s reaction to sustained levels of stress.

It’s natural to think the answer is to tough it out. But sometimes, the solution comes when you step back and get more perspective. That’s the value of taking time off.

Stacking the Deck

Here are some ways you can stack the deck before you leave so you’ll feel better about taking a break.

  • Start delegating – Make it an everyday practice to delegate. Before you leave, make a detailed to-do list. Remember, it’s not just people you can delegate to. The Mailbox Zero app will sort your email for you so you spend time on just the important stuff.
  • Give key customers a heads up – Let your key customers know when you’ll be out. That gives you a chance to resolve any issues before you leave. Reassure them by providing a contact person who can answer their questions or resolve issues while you’re out.
  • Send up a trial balloon – Give it a trial run first. Start with a half-day vacation. You won’t be far away if staff needs help and you get the benefit of a quick break. Use it as a training opportunity to see how things go, then adjust.

Plan for the What-Ifs

Establish a game plan for what staff should do when the unexpected occurs (and it likely will). For example: what to do if the Internet goes down, who to call if a maintenance issue arises, or how to react to a security concern. A part of the plan is knowing when you want to be notified and who should contact you.

It might seem like a vacation is a “nice-to-have” for small business owners. But in reality, it’s an investment in running your business. Knowing when it’s time and how to prepare for it will help you see a return on that investment.

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