HOW TO EFFECTIVELY TAKE TIME OFF AS AN ENTREPRENEUR
‘How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?” This is one question that probably every successful entrepreneur has been asked.
It is true that to run a successful business at any level, one has to be completely dedicated and devoted to the work involved in making the business thrive and anything short of this just won’t do: the more you put in, the more you get out and the gratification that comes with this is a ‘high’ in itself. But what is also true is that this ‘high’ makes entrepreneurs work with their heads down almost indefinitely and of course this isn’t healthy in any way. Physically, mentally and otherwise.
The solution? It might seem like a given “just take a break then”. Take a leave off work and go on a vacation. While these are what you should do, it is likely that your vacation might turn into a “work from home” type situation. Say you’re on a beach in the Maldives and of course you’re with your phone, you’ll probably still look through your email to keep in touch with what’s happening with the company. So are you really taking time off then?
For your time off to really be what it should be, you need to go about it a little more intentionally and strategically. So how do you go about it?
- Plan, schedule and be vocal about it
For your time off to actually work, it is important that like the rest of your work activities for the year, you fit it into your calendar. Every company has a yearly calendar with which they plan out the business year and it is very likely that all members of the company have access to it or atleast the key players. Once you have put in your vacation or leave in this calendar, it is easier for you to actually be away when you are away.
Because everyone knows you’ll be away during a certain period, they can organise around it in such a way that work still gets done effectively in your absence. Also, everybody knows about the break now so you have to take it! You’re a person who does what they say they’ll do right?
- Help your team plan for your absence
Now everyone knows you’ll be away for a while and they have started organising towards it. Help them make the process easier by delegating. As their team head and member, you know who will best handle certain tasks, so assign those tasks to them.
Also leave room for them to discuss how they intend to run the tasks with you. This way, you can block any possible loopholes.
Also, postpone tasks you think aren’t that important and can be handled when you get back.
This way, you worry less when you’re away because you not only know that work is getting done but you know who exactly is doing what and have helped prep them to get the job done well. This also helps with accountability when you resume.
After planning strategically, now you’re away on your vacation, resting; turn off your work phone. No emails, no calls, no work related social media.
This is probably the most important part and also the most difficult because you love your business and are passionate about it’s growth so you feel anxiety and worry that everything will fall apart while you’re gone but you have to trust that everything on that end will be alright. That’s the only way this works. Trust that your team is capable and even if there was an emergency, they will mitigate it before you get back.
- Create a “check in” window
While you’re away, to put your mind at ease, you can create a small window where you can do a little work related communication. It should typically be an hour long and should be mainly communication focused, not actual work.
Within this hour, you can check emails, take short calls and check in with the team. After the hour passes, you disconnect again. You have to make sure that you commit to disconnecting once the hour passes. Keep yourself accountable.
- Take a “mock” break
Practice makes perfect. The plans may not work effectively if you take a long vacation the first time around. A few days in and you find yourself struggling.
To help you get a feel of it first, take short breaks and then graduate from there. Using all the steps above, you can start by taking a day off work and see how that pans out. Also, see what went wrong and correct it and then graduate to a week. Do this a couple of times and you will be ready to take a much needed long break from work in no time.
Using these strategies, you should find it easier to take time away from work without being overly anxious and slipping back into work while on a break. It is true that it is a tough call to disconnect your mind from work as an entrepreneur but it is very important that you do at some point.
For the most optimal life and for just happiness in general please take a break sometimes, burnout does not look or feel good!
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