How To Take Time Off Over The Holidays
We’re already in the full swing of the holiday season – and I’m hoping that means you’ll be taking time off from work to spend time with family and friends.
As a solo-entrepreneur, taking time off may seem impossible.
When you’re the only person running the show, you might worry that things will fall apart if you step away. Or you might worry that your clients will feel abandoned if you’re unavailable for a few days.
It’s wonderful that you care so deeply about your business and your clients, but your business shouldn’t be holding you hostage.
In fact, if you aren’t taking time to unplug and recharge your batteries, you’re much more likely to burn out. When you take time off, you can come back fully present and prepared to give your clients 100%. (As a health coach, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but sometimes it’s tough to practice what we preach, isn’t it?)
It took me years to learn that it’s OK (actually MORE than OK) to fully unplug from work. I used to go on vacation thinking that I could balance client work with down-time with my family. I squeezed in client calls and client work because I didn’t want to let anyone down.
Boy was it stressful having a husband and children who wanted to spend time with me, while I was working. I was either resentful of work or annoyed that my girls wouldn’t let me focus. At a certain point, I decided that the juggling act wasn’t working.
What I learned is that if I take a few days off, my clients and my business will be completely fine. I just needed to start planning ahead.
With a little prep work right now, you can take time off to relax and come back to a business that’s still humming – and feel rejuvenated and full of creative juices that will serve you and your business well!
- Block off time in your calendar
Put your holidays in every calendar that you use including your online and paper calendars. Let it serve as a reminder that you have vacation time coming up to look forward to. Also block off time in your TimeTrade calendar, or whatever scheduling system you use, so that clients know you are unavailable those days. (Bonus points if you block off 1-2 days before AND after your time off. This will help you get caught up once you return.)
- Schedule any one-on-one or group calls
Be sure there are no last minute call requests by getting all of your appointments on the books ahead of time. Communication is the key! Let your clients know that you’ll be taking time off and they should grab a spot in your calendar right away to avoid having to wait for the new year. Use a scheduling system like TimeTrade to set up your calendar and make it easy for your clients to book time.
- Create an out of office email
Set up an automatic out of office email letting people know you’re enjoying the holidays and that you’ll respond when you return on x date. If it’s an emergency, give them an alternate means to contact you. People will be fine waiting to hear back from you, as long as they know when you’ll get back to them.
- Schedule any blog posts ahead of time
There’s no rule that says you HAVE to blog over the holidays, but if you plan on keeping your blog going it might be wise to put the work in now, set it, and forget it. Write your posts now and schedule them in WordPress to be published later.
- Schedule emails to your list
Same goes for your list. Write them ahead of time and schedule them. If you don’t plan on sending out any communication while you’re off, just mention it in your last email in December with a note that says “I’ll be taking some time to relax with my family over the holidays so this newsletter will be on pause until I return, refreshed and ready for the new year on x date.” Pro Top: Hint at what you’ll be sending them in the new year. That will get them excited and on the lookout for your next email.
- Schedule social media posts
You can keep your audience engaged over the holidays on social media without having to login to Facebook everyday. Use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule social messages ahead of time.
- Communicate with your VA
If you have a virtual assistant, make sure to fill them in on your travel plans – and ask about theirs! If they’ll be taking on extra tasks for you while you’re away, create detailed instructions outlining the exact steps that should be taken. Also let them know how they can communicate with you and what your expectations for communication are while you’re on holiday.
- Turn off your notifications
If you want to truly unplug over the holidays, you have to disconnect. Turn off the notifications for your work email and social media accounts so you can forget about work and be present for your family and friends. (I learned the hard way that if I’m receiving work emails, it’s impossible to stay out of work mode.)
With a little prep work you can take time off to relax, recharge your batteries, and come back to work ready to rock 2017. Let your clients know your schedule and start setting up the systems you need to keep your business humming while you’re away.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What’s helped you take time off from work? What challenges do you face when trying to unplug from work? Share your comments below.