How (and Why) to Take a Real Vacation

why you need a real vacation
With the busy holiday season behind us, now is the time to start planning a “real” vacation. I know you spent time with friends and sipped a little eggnog in December, but did you really unplug over the holidays? Putting your nose to the grindstone may feel like the only way to make your small business a success, but when you work at 110% for too long, you can find yourself burning out really fast.

A real vacation – one away from the office and out of your email app – is essential for your personal health, and for your business. Even if you absolutely love what you do, avoiding leisure time can increase your negative emotions, decrease your health level and reduce your overall life satisfaction.

But how do you make this happen? It all comes to down to prioritizing, planning and disconnecting.

Prioritize your “must do’s.”
In the weeks leading up to your vacation time, you might be tempted to overwork in order to justify taking time off. Instead of overloading yourself and spending your vacation recovering from burn out, take time to prioritize your “must do’s.” Sending your client a project on time needs to stay on your list, but you might want to put off updating your website or reading the latest industry white paper until you’re fresh from vacation.

Plan what needs to happen while you’re gone.
If you understand the power of delegation, you’ve probably got a team member or two that you work with closely in order to get more done. Use a collaborative tool like Sage One to plan out what needs to happen when you’re gone. You can attach notes, resources and instructions to each to do item so you won’t constantly be worried, or following up with your team via email when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Set clear expectations with your team for communication (ie: you’ll be checking email each morning) so they know when they should and can contact you.

Disconnect from your role as an entrepreneur.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of focus – so it’s easy to let personal relationships, self-care and just plain fun fall to the wayside. During your vacation time you need to make a mental shift and think about yourself as a whole person instead of a business owner. If you see yourself as a busy entrepreneur who is guiltily stepping away from the office, you aren’t going to enjoy yourself as much.

Do yourself a favor and take a real vacation – even for just a weekend. You’ll avoid overwhelm, get new ideas and become a more well-rounded person.

What’s your plan for taking a break this year?

About the author:

Lawton Ursrey – Sage One awareness guru and fellow entrepreneur
I have a healthy disrespect for the impossible and a passion for the little details. While I run my own small business, I am also passionate about helping other small business owners. If I’m not running my business, or helping you run yours, then I’m probably playing guitar.

Follow me on Twitter.