Like most entrepreneurs I’m incredibly busy juggling the never-ending demands of three companies and responsible for business development, project management, customer service as well as dealing with the assorted and sundry tasks that fall to all entrepreneurs and most especially to the ones at the helm of a micro-company.
Did I mention executing the work too? You get the idea.
As passionate as I am about my businesses I also have another passion – travel. For about as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in exploring new places, sights, sounds and culture both here and abroad. From the exotic to the more mundane, and whether I arrive by plane, train or automobile, the thrill of travel has never waned.
But wait you say. Didn’t you mention that you run three companies and are responsible for just about everything? Is it true that you can run your businesses and travel too?
The answer is most definitely “yes.” It takes planning but it’s totally doable. Here are 5 suggestions that can help you to experience stress-free and enjoyable vacations:
Begin to put things “in order” approximately 2-3 months before your trip.
Putting things “in order” means different things for different people but for the sake of simplicity it entails evaluating the work that you have in-house to make certain that it can be completed by the time you are ready to leave. Keep your departure date in mind every time you take on a new assignment unless of course you have staff that can do the work in your absence. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself with a tight deadline right before you’re set to leave. It takes the enjoyment out of planning for the trip and should be avoided at all costs.
Start to alert your clients 2 to 4 weeks before you’re set to leave.
Clients like to be kept “in the loop” especially when it concerns their work. Tell them personally and make sure that they don’t find out about your vacation by getting your email vacation message. Review their projects with them and provide assurance that their work will be completed by or before the due dates. Keep in mind that if your clients feel left “in the lurch” they might start to explore other resources while you are gone.
Decide if you are okay with being contacted while on vacation or do you want to be “off the grid?”
My style is to stay in touch and check my emails two or three times per day often before I leave the hotel in the morning and then again when I return at night. I respond to emails that are important and require a timely response and will save others for when I return to the office. I also delete everything that will not be relevant by the time I return (i.e. invitations to events that will take place when I am away) so that my email inbox is not overloaded any more than necessary.
Get ahead of your work so that when you return you’re not swamped with immediate deliverables.
If possible get a jump on work that is due within a few weeks of your return. No matter how much you prepare for your trip it will be hectic when you return. Try to do as much as possible before you leave so that you can better manage the outstanding work when you are back in the office. It might mean a few late nights before you head out on vacation but that’s much better than being overloaded when you return.
Don’t schedule any meetings on your first day back in the office.
Returning to work requires a bit of an adjustment so it is best to keep the first day clear of any meetings. Give yourself time to catch up on what occurred when you were away. Playing it slow on Day #1 will make re-entry much easier.
If you like to travel make it a priority. Use these 5 suggestions, be disciplined and you’ll find that taking a vacation may not be as difficult as you think.