Overview: Hard work is important. But it’s not everything! The benefits of taking time off can be good for your mental and physical health — and there are steps you can take to ensure you can step away from work worry-free!
If you’re a business owner, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into growing your business. You may have started with very little — or nothing! — but you’ve built it into a successful company. Your business may even feel like an extension of yourself — after all, you’re the person who created it, and the decisions you make are what keep it going.
For that reason, you may find it difficult to step away. And you may find it unthinkable to take a vacation. Sure, the idea of a vacation sounds nice, but there might be questions swirling around your head: “Will my employees be able to keep the business operating in my absence? Will important developments happen while I’m away? Will I even be able to enjoy a vacation if I’m thinking about my business the whole time?”
It’s natural for business owners to have these concerns. But we’re here to tell you that taking time off is good for you! And there are steps you can take to ensure that you can take time off with confidence. Who knows? You might even find yourself experiencing true relaxation!
Why Business Owners Should Take Vacations
Why should business owners take time off? Simply put, achieving a work-life balance is good for you!
It’s easy for business owners to fall into the mindset of “The more I work, the better I’ll be at running my company.” Many business owners start work early and end work late, and often keep working over weekends. Entrepreneurs like this operate on the assumption that there’s no such thing as too many hours spent working.
Here’s an extreme example: In 2022, Business Insider reported that Elon Musk had admitted to sleeping on the floor under his desk at Tesla rather than heading home or going to a hotel for a comfortable full night’s rest. Musk explained his motivation for this uncomfortable choice this way: “…I wanted my circumstances to be worse than anyone else at the company. Whenever they felt pain, I wanted mine to be worse.”
Some might see this as an admirable level of dedication. But after lots of reading on the topic, we’ve yet to see any evidence that a more painful work experience leads to more success — and it definitely doesn’t lead to a happier life.
As career expert Chris Chancey explained to Business News Daily, “[a] good work-life balance has numerous positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of well-being.”
There you have it: A good work-life balance brings less stress — and less stress can mean improved mental and physical health. Now, which version of yourself do you think can do a more effective job of running your business: The version who’s frequently overwhelmed and tired? Or the one who feels clear-headed and well-rested?
There are many ways to achieve a good work-life balance — including regulating your work hours, taking up hobbies, and even the simple act of leaving the office for your lunch break. You may see us talk about these more in future blog posts, but today, we’re focusing on the great, time-tested method of packing your bags, walking away from your desk, and taking a vacation.
>> Related Reading: My Entrepreneurial Burnout Story: How I Recovered
How to Take a Vacation
So you’re ready to get some much-needed R&R. Now you just need to take a few steps to make sure that you can truly relax — and that you won’t be constantly distracted by thoughts of “Is everything going okay back at work?” and the desire to pick up your phone every two minutes. Here are some suggestions.
Give everyone plenty of notice: If you plan your trip well in advance, you’ll have plenty of time to let your employees, clients, vendors, and other concerned parties that you’ll be out. Consider sending a few email reminders leading up to your vacation: “NOTE: [Your Name] will be out of the office from [Date] to [Date]!” And don’t forget to turn your out-of-office email response!
Delegate authority: Identify capable employees who can take on temporary leadership roles while you’re away. Clearly communicate their responsibilities, and let them know you trust them to make important choices when needed.
Document processes and procedures: We recommend doing this whether you’re planning a vacation or not, but it’s especially important when you step away. Create comprehensive documents — or assign a trusted employee to create documents — detailing your business processes, a breakdown of responsibilities, and any relevant step-by-step instructions for specific scenarios. This information should be easily accessible to employees, so keep on a shared server or online folder like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
Establish a communication plan: Remember, your goal is to pick up that phone as infrequently as possible! But just in case, set up a communication plan so you can stay connected with your team while you’re on vacation. Maybe you’ll ask one person to email you at the end of the day with a report of the day’s activities. Or you might call every two or three days to check in. Whatever works for you and your business’s workload!
Trust your team: Remember that your team is efficient and capable. After all, you hired them yourself! Have confidence in their abilities and provide support when needed, but give them — and yourself — plenty of space.
Hire experts to handle pressing technical matters: It’s an unfortunate fact of life: Technical difficulties don’t cease to exist when you go on vacation. There is a chance that something will go awry with your company’s website while you’re away — which can cause major problems if you rely on your website to sell products, receive payment, or book appointments.
By establishing a relationship with a team of website experts — say, for example, MyUnlimitedWP — you can ensure that such problems will be resolved quickly. At MyUnlimitedWP, we offer monthly subscription plans, which means your website support will continue even after you’ve returned from your personal holiday!
Unplug whenever possible: Seriously. Once you’ve established how often and with whom you’ll be checking in at work, stick to that plan. If you’ve decided to call your second-in-command at 4:30 every day, don’t call before that. And don’t even think about checking your email while you’re relaxing on the beach… or enjoying the peace and quiet of the forest… or riding roller coasters at your favorite theme park.
>> Related Reading: How to Effectively Unplug from Work As a Business Owner
A Mini-Vacation Is Better Than No Vacation At All
Maybe you’ve read this far and you’re convinced that a break from work would be a good thing, but you’re not sure how you can make it happen. If you’re the #1 decision-maker (or the only decision-maker!) for your business, it might not seem practical for you to pack your bags and fly to some far-off destination.
Fortunately, there are still ways you can enjoy the benefits of time off! It doesn’t matter what your vacation looks like. You just need to take some time for yourself!
If you can’t take two weeks off, how about a “Friday-to-Monday vacation?” Taking one business day on either side of the weekend gives you four days to take a quick road trip to a nearby destination.
But you don’t even have to go anywhere — you could also take advantage of the extra-long weekend by enjoying your favorite activities and spending time with family and friends. Just remember to unplug! If you’re constantly looking at your phone, it doesn’t count!
>> Related Reading: 10 Simple Steps to Plan a Weekend Getaway
When you’re a business owner, it can be tempting to view work as a contest that you win by working the greatest possible number of hours. But nobody truly wins that contest! Maintaining a good work-life balance is the best way to stay mentally and physically healthy — and when you’re healthy, you’re in much better shape to run your business!
As we mentioned above, we at MyUnlimitedWP are passionate about helping business owners achieve peace of mind by relieving them of the burdens of day-to-day website maintenance. If you’d like to know more about our services, please free to contact us today! Thanks for reading — and enjoy your vacation!