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How to Take Time Off as a Business Owner

Photo by SugarPlum Creative

It can be hard for business owners and freelancers to take time off and separate from their business. There is a lot of pressure to keep the business running as usual and, many times, business owners feel like they aren’t supposed to or that they can’t step away for a bit. 

It’s also common for business owners to feel guilty for even wanting a break from their business – as if it proves they aren’t committed or that they don’t love what they do.

We are here to tell you that no matter what, it is crucial that you take time off and enjoy yourself outside of running your business. 

“A common misperception is that people who love their work wouldn’t need to take time off. However, increasing evidence points towards the benefits of taking time off for all of us, regardless of our work motivation. If anything, those who work not only for extrinsic reasons such as financial compensation, but also for intrinsic reasons are at higher risk of overworking, not taking time off.” – Source.

First, let’s talk about WHY taking time off is so important

Avoid Burnout

Overworking can lead to burnout. Working through burnout – depression, exhaustion, fatigue, and negativity – lowers your work performance, speed, accuracy, and your overall success. For your health and for the success of your business, we recommend avoiding feeling burnout at all costs. 

Increase Productivity and Creativity At Work

In order for you to think clearly, be creative, and perform your best at work, you need to take care of your body and brain. Coming into work feeling refreshed and ready to work is better than dragging yourself in and forcing yourself through tasks.

Manage Stress

If you are burning the midnight oil more often than not, when stressful situations arise, you may end up making them worse rather than better. By taking time off to refill your metaphorical cup, you are better equipped to handle problems and stressful situations…without any regrets. 

Build a Better Team

If you have a team under you or are building a team, prioritizing team members’ time off could help attract better talent and help with employee retention. 

OK, are you now finally convinced that you NEED to prioritize your time away from the office?! Yes? Great. 

So, next you are probably wondering “Yeah, but how?! I am a key player in making things run smoothly!” Or, maybe you’re the only player?! 

No matter your situation, here are some ideas to help get the ball rolling. Let’s take a look!

10 Ways to Enjoy Taking Time Off 

1. Communicate, Cross Train and Prioritize Protocols

  • It’s important to coordinate workload needs, put protocols in place, and to set boundaries with your team members. 
  • Are there tasks you can delegate to others so that you can take time off? What are the most important tasks to prioritize?
  • Cross train team members to be able to take on some of the workload while you are gone. What are tasks that can be handled by other members of the team?
  • Define what constitutes an emergency? Rather than your team contacting you all the time, make sure they are clear on what is important enough to contact you immediately.
  • What needs to be addressed quickly and what can wait until you come back? Again, to prevent a lot of texts and emails throughout your time off, if there are things that you want to stay in the loop on regularly, have your team compile an “end of the day” email with everything on that one email. Also, are there some things that can be put on your desk and wait until you come back? 
  • In the case that customers or vendors are trying to contact you, is there specific rhetoric that can be used to let customers know that there may be a small waiting period until their order can be addressed? Ask your team to take detailed messages or create an automated email that lets others know when they can expect to hear back from you. 
  • As you find ways to prepare your team and your business for your time off, you might even discover that some of these protocols are great to use on an everyday basis! 

2. Plan Ahead

If you are able to plan time off before projects and deadlines get scheduled, then theoretically you should be able to plan work priorities around said time. Once you schedule that time, it’s important to honor that time and to put up boundaries when potential interruptions arise. 

3. Plan Time Off During Your Off Season

You know your business and the needs of your customers. Most businesses have busy and light seasons, so plan to take time off when there will be less going on. For instance, say you run a landscaping business. While taking time off during the spring planting season might be difficult, during the winter should be the perfect time for some R & R!

4. Make a Contacts List

In case a work emergency would need to be handled while you are taking time off, having a pre-created contact list will come in handy. Rather than taking time to scroll through and search for people’s contact info, pull out your list and make the appropriate calls to quickly and efficiently handle the situation. 

Also, make a list for your team members in case they need to make any calls while you are away. If the roof is leaking or the internet connection goes out, have a list ready with all your suppliers for your team to call in case something goes awry.

5. Hire a Virtual Assistant

Perhaps you are a solopreneur and you don’t have team members to delegate responsibilities to! Look into hiring a VA that could cover the basics of your business while you’re away.

6. Give Clients a Heads Up

If you have clients that work with you personally, let them know that you will be out of the office and unable to work on their projects during that set period of time. Setting boundaries is healthy and necessary when it comes to running a business. If you have a client that likes to rush jobs or give you work at the last minute, tell them you will be leaving multiple days in advance of when you are actually leaving as a backup. 

7. Staycation

Time off doesn’t always need to be traveling. If traveling isn’t your favorite or doesn’t leave you feeling refreshed, staying home to relax is always a great, stress free option. 

8. Combine Work and Leisure

Depending on your preference and your industry, you might be able to travel and explore opportunities to help grow your business at the same time!  By extending your stay after a work conference or visiting places that offer industry specific resources, you could gain a lot out of your time away from the office for your business. 

9. Set Vacation Rules

In addition to setting up boundaries with clients, be sure to set up boundaries with yourself! As a business owner, it is easy to get sucked into logging onto your work email while on vacation. So set a designated amount of time at a specific time of day for how long you are going to check in on work. Perhaps you spend 30 minutes in the morning checking in on emails or communicating with team members back home. But once those 30 minutes are up, it’s back to focusing on the present and enjoying your time off!

10. Make the Most of Your Time Off

In addition to all the prepping, protocols, and rules, none of that will be worth it if you don’t actually ENJOY your well deserved rest. Be present, take deep breaths, and turn your mind off when it comes to your business. Release control of what may be happening back home and allow yourself to savor your time away. 

“Remember, the word ‘recreation’ comes from ‘recreate.’ Your employees and you need to take time off to recreate your ideas and your energy. So, kick back, see some inspiring scenery, travel someplace new, plant a garden or even read some books. Recharge. Reflect. Renew.” – Source

Need help taking time off from your business?

Let Haven help.

Don’t let running a business run your life. Haven Collective is not only a place for people to collect and get work done, it is a community that fosters professional success and personal fulfillment. 

With a Haven membership, you will gain access to our Resource Collection. The Resource Collection is stocked with content surrounding not only business topics, but also wellness and personal development tips.  Every personal and professional development event adds to our growing collection too, so you never miss an ounce of information that could help you grow and feel more productive and fulfilled. 

By joining Haven, you will commit not only to taking care of your business, but to taking care of the star of the show – YOU. 

If you are looking to build your business AND prioritize your own fulfillment, click below to see if Haven Collective is the next step for you! 

Written by April Warner

Sources: US Chamber, USA Today, On Deck, Zen Business, Benchmark,

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