This article is my personal view on holidays while running a business, challenges I recently encountered, and how I dealt with them.
Since I quit my full-time job I barely have taken any holidays. Owning my own business gave me so much freedom that I didn’t feel like scheduling my holidays. For a couple of years, I was travelling with my computer to different countries and continents. It requires good organization skills, but after a while, it became my second skin. I would have to move from place to place in the evening or over the weekend, spend a couple of days, weeks in one place, and then move somewhere else. I didn’t miss taking a break at all. Furthermore, I could have bought – work and freedom. And it felt enough.
After traveling long-term, short holidays (1-2 weeks) were not (in my opinion) worth an effort. I already knew that it’s not enough to know the place, people, culture. It’s not enough to unwind and relax.
But since my work becomes more structured, I manage projects of the returning clients, and since I’ve settled in one place, I’ve started to introduce short holidays into my life.
And this experience just confirmed what I thought before:
💔 One week is not enough to stop thinking about work and the deadlines
Even though the scientists say that 8 days is an optimal length of holiday, I’m pretty sceptical about it. Of course, it’s very individual, how we like spending our feel time, but I have a strong feeling that for a busy entrepreneur a week is a time when we actually stop thinking about work and set our mind in the more relaxing mode.
💔 Short holidays can create more tension while running a business
All because we want to do all this fun stuff we haven’t had time to do before, but obviously, again, there is not enough room for everything. Additionally, when there is more planning involves, and maybe we have small kids (which involves much more strategic thinking), the time for unwinding shrinks. Finding space for me-time is much more tricky and may grow unhealthy frustration.
💔 After coming back to work you have to work more and faster
I guess I don’t have to tell you about all these unread emails, messages, calls, and tasks that are piling up after your returns. This is a reality for every small business owner and solopreneur. So you speed up your pace, juggling meetings, orders, bookings, and projects. If you’re not prepared you can end up more stressed than before your holidays and close the crazy circle.
I could write much more about the problems that short holidays create while running your own business, but I feel this is very individual. So let me focus on a few things that actually may help you to overcome these challenges not only before/after the break but also on daily basis.
😍 Surround yourself with people who can support your business when you’re not there,
For a long time, there was no option for me to hire people who would help me with some tasks. Scheduling my holidays was super tricky, sometimes not even possible. Even when I had planned my days off a couple of months in advance something would have popped up last minute and I ended up spending half of the time in front of computer.
That happened to because I have a strong sense of responsibility for my client’s businesses and I felt that helping them it’s more important than my rest. But I knew if I want to grow my business I have to find a solution that will allow me to provide the best service and also have some time to unwind.
Surrounding myself with other professionals that take their work seriously and take pride of their customer service as much as I do, help me to let it go and let others do their job.
😍 Write all the tasks in your planner and scheduled them wisely right away
I always make sure that all the tasks and projects in my planner are scheduled right after I get the email. I put everything in my planner or Asana. This is how my inbox stays empty (again, it helps to avoid anxiety), your mind is free from rethinking your to-do list in your head, you feel calmer and secure that you won’t forget anything after your return.
😍 Spend minimum time on your computer
If you run an online business, or you are dependent on your emails choose the time of the day when you check your computer. I know that not knowing what’s going on in your business while you’re not there can actually create more tension. If you feel that way, and you really need to check your message, spend only 10-15 minutes on them. For me mornings are the best for it. Having the specific time of a day when you available can help to free your mind from thinking all the time about it.
😍 Remove social media apps
I wrote a bit on my social media approach in an article about a personal brand. I recently deleted most social media apps and email from my phone, and it was one of the best decisions I lately made. It freed so much time for me, not to mention getting rid of anxiety and FOMO. If you’re not convinced yet, holidays are a great occasion to give it a try.
You can remove notifications from social media apps. Try to check them ones-twice a day. If you find it hard, find the remote space in your house for your phone and leave it there for a couple of hours. Or just leave it in the suitcase. Turn on the no-disturb mode (some phones have the option to allow your family to contact you in case of emergency).
😍 Don’t plan too much
I must admit that I’m guilty of this mistake a lot. But I’ve learned not to punish myself for not doing everything that I planned. This is a lesson I learned while traveling long-term. Just remember that holidays should give you joy. Not an extra dose of frustration. So if you’re a ‘to-do list person’ try to divide your plans into two groups. First – 1-2 things that you really want to do during your short holidays, and the second with all the rest. Keep the second list optional.
😍 Do it your style
You deserve to spend your holidays as you wish. Don’t feel guilty for rejecting people’s invitations to meet. If you like to sleep on the couch at home for the whole week, don’t feel guilty. If you like to work in the garden with your hand dirty… climbing the mountains or taking a marketing course… yeah! Do it! It’s your time! You decide what holidays mean to you.