As a self-employed person (often working alone), the thought of a holiday can fill you with dread. The kids have broken up from school, the sun is shining – and the temperature in the UK is high.
Concerns over having no one to reply to emails, close business, deliver service to your customers and keeping the bank manager happy often cause stress. However, taking a proper break is hugely important to revitalise and re-energise yourself!
These top tips can help you stay sane, and keep your business running while you take a much needed vacation.
Before your holiday:
When is the best time to take a break? If your business is seasonal, perhaps it doesn’t make sense to take a holiday in the summer or at Christmas. When is your business quietest? Maybe an off peak holiday will be more manageable and more affordable.
Forward Plan – manage the last 3 to 4 weeks like a project. Know what you need to do and when. Keep an up to date list of everything that needs completing. Can you delegate some of the work, or pass to a virtual assistant? Can something be postponed? Remember Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. This will help you to avoid working right up to the last hours before you go on holiday.
Communicate BEFORE you go on holiday – don’t rely on “out of office”. As a sole trader it is critical to communicate with your clients, suppliers and any other businesses/sole traders you have business relationships with. Start telling them 2 months in advance. Out of office can be useful for prospective clients, but is not a professional way to tell your existing and valued clients.
Decide on your availability and manage expectations accordingly – will you have an hour a day to manage any emergencies or can your clients expect you to be totally uncontactable? Talk to you family and anyone else going on holiday with you too – so you can set their expectations as well. Remember to set your out of office and voicemail accordingly.
During your holiday:
Stick to the availability schedule you set – Don’t disappoint family and friends by being totally stuck to your phone. If you have told Clients you will check email between certain hours – stick to it.
Relax and enjoy yourself – Everyone needs to rest, relax and recharge. This may be sitting by a pool, being at the beach or being out exploring and seeing the sights. Do whatever it is that will provide you with the chance to re-energise. Only you will know what this is.
Take a notebook and pen – Even when we think we are switched off, our minds will keep processing information whether we like it or not. A note book will provide a great tool to catch those brilliant ideas that pop up when you’re least expecting them.
After your holiday:
Prioritise – Just as you did before you went away, you need to be realistic about when and how you respond to Clients and prospective clients on your return. If necessary, acknowledge their email or voicemail, and let them know when you will respond fully to their specific enquiry. Remember that time management matrix! Consider what is important vs. not important.
Review any notes you made – build any actionable items into your regular planning activities. Don’t disrupt your normal “modus operandi” but do give your ideas the time to come to fruition.
Review & Plan – consider what worked for you as you prepared for and enjoyed your holiday. Is it worth documenting those items that worked well so your next holiday goes more smoothly? What didn’t work – and what would need changing to make it work for you in the future? Then set about planning your next vacation!
And if you can’t even think about taking time out for holiday!
If your time management skills let you down or you are too busy to think about holidays and family time – please make time to get this right! The Real Business Club can help you prioritize, plan with confidence and get you ready for relaxing! Peace of Mind – YES
Contact Isabel on 0118 9680813 or 07759 074864, or email us at email@example.com