One of the primary dilemmas faced by those who take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship is how to maintain a healthy work/life balance. There are many things that rest upon the shoulders of those who go to business ownership, ranging from financial burdens, decision-making, day-to-day operations, and potential investment opportunities. Because you are so invested in the success of your organization, it is quite possible that you don’t take time away from the business recharging and giving yourself a break. While working at a frantic pace can propel the success of your company, you also run the risk of facing burnout and dealing with chronic stress. In the end, these conditions will leave you less effective and decrease your productivity.
You Need a Break
The average employee is able to take a break, whether it be in the form of a sick day or paid time off. For the business owner, it is a lot harder to pack up and leave the shop or the office for a few days. To close for one day might not interrupt your cash flow as terribly as you think, but closing down for several days to take a real vacation could be detrimental. Besides, you may think you are going on vacation, but you will still be tempted to check your email, return phone calls, or check on how things are going back in the business world. To take a day off but then try to still manage work could end up being more stressful and chaotic than a normal day at work. For your mental health and the productivity demands of your business, you have to take time off. Period. It takes a little pre-planning, but you can have some time to get your energy back. Here are some crucial steps to take.
Make a Scheduled Plan
It is one thing to just plan on taking some time off in the next few months, but it is another thing to set a date on the schedule and plan around it. When you have a hard and fast date, one where you put money down for a reservation, the more likely you will be to stick with the plan of going on vacation. Because of your situation, you probably won’t be able to give yourself time off next week or even next month. This is okay. In fact, the more time you have to plan and inform those around you of your intentions to take time off, the more prepared you and everyone else will be. Letting others know that you are taking time off can also motivate you to keep your plans.
When you have a date scheduled, others will be able to plan their own schedules and responsibilities during your absence. If you have a partner in the company, they can start to learn some of the duties that you currently undertake. You need to make sure that everyone knows you won’t be answering the phone or checking emails for work purposes. Set this expectation while you give them time to prepare. If you are the sole employee of your business, you need to inform customers or vendors that you will be using a call answering service during your absence and that you will respond to emails when you get back.
Prepare to Postpone or Delegate Tasks and Roles
Everything that you would normally do during the day will need to be shifted or postponed if you are going to take extended time off. It is possible for emergency situations to pop up while you are gone, and you need to decide now how you will handle those. If you are the sole employee, you may want to consider hiring a personal assistant for the time you are away to help keep things managed. If you have team members that can fill in while you are gone, start to train them now in the roles or tasks that you want them to handle.
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Prepare Yourself to Disconnect
In some ways, it is okay for your business to consume your life. After all, it may be the only financial support you have. However, no matter how badly you need your business, you need time to yourself or with your family more. You need to disconnect from work and reconnect with the things in your life that are going to give you the motivation to keep going.