How to have a relaxing holiday when you’re a business owner

A little bit of why you started your business may have been for that extra work life balance, but oh boy is it difficult to switch off when you run your own business. Especially, if like me, you enjoy what you do because it doesn’t actually feel like work, does it?

But, seemingly without warning, the stress levels can increase and it all gets a little bit overwhelming – sometimes we don’t even know we’re stressed, it’s those around us who do!

I’ve listed some tips on how to have a more relaxing holiday, and don’t worry I’m not going to give you anything unrealistic, I do know how you feel.

Overwhelm buffer

First off, you need to lie!

If your holiday is booked from the 2nd to the 8th of the month you’re going to tell your clients you’re away from the 1st to the 9th, and let them know you’ll be unavailable – just in case you have that one client who isn’t quite aware of boundaries.

Giving an extra date either side is so YOU (yes, this is about you) have a day to prepare and then a day to ease back in.

Think of it as an overwhelm buffer. No one wants to feel like they need another holiday within hours of getting back from one, do they?

This is your advance warning

I always like to give my clients advance warning of any holidays, so literally as soon as we’ve booked I will email all clients and let them know the dates. I also sometimes ask that any work comes in a week before, where possible, so that I can begin to wind down. I’ll then send another ‘I’m going away’ reminder closer to the actual dates. As I manage a few clients diaries, I also put my holidays in there for them – so there’s definitely no surprises.

Before you go…

Remove apps

Remove any apps from your phone associated with work. So, you don’t need your email, you don’t need that voicemail app, you don’t need Trello or Asana or whatever software you use to plan your work, in fact, you don’t even need your diary!

Plus, if you have a Virtual Assistant they can monitor and reply to your emails while you’re tuning out.

Out of office

Set up an out of office to cover the dates that you’re telling your clients you are away, and put a clear note as to when you will get back to people. I also include a link to my social media channels in my out of office so that people can connect with me if they’re not already, and I then stay in their line of sight!

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

Update your voicemail before you go, again letting people know when you’ll get back to them. This is important so that they don’t keep ringing and you don’t feel the urge to reply.

Buy a notebook

Get a little notebook to take on holiday with you so that if anything comes to mind about work you can jot it down and deal with it when you’re back, not before!

On your return

Don’t forget you’ve got the extra day so don’t go replying to any emails! If you use Google mail you can schedule emails to send at a later time and date, so by all means ‘reply’ but don’t send them immediately!

Start at the top

Start with the most recently received emails and work backwards. The reason for this is because somebody may have emailed and said ‘I need help with x y z urgently‘, then sent another email a few hours later saying ‘oh it’s okay, sorted‘ – yes, we’ve all had those emails! If you’d not seen the most recent email, the likelihood is you’d have been hunting for a solution, replied, perhaps even panicked; worrying how they’d coped.

Before you’re back, back…

Have a look for your next holiday, I recommend Wild Meadow Cottage near Presteigne in Wales, it’s unbelievably relaxing.

Just before you’re officially back

Turn off that voicemail!

Catherine Gladwyn

As a Virtual Assistant I am here to take care of the jobs that need doing, but you just don't have the time for. catherine@delegatevirtualassistant.co.uk

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