If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you spend a whole lot more than 40 hours a week working. I know that’s always been the case with me. In fact, in my entire corporate career, I never once took an entire week off. Instead, I’d take long weekends, thinking I couldn’t afford to let business “slide” for longer than that. I was actually told that I couldn’t take any vacation time from September through December because my presence was too valuable during the holiday season. I always thought that was just part of the deal working for a large retailer. So, I’d just fly back to Boston from Cincy to celebrate the holidays with my family in January. No biggie. But it actually was a biggie. I didn’t realize it until after my Dad passed. Now, every holiday, I don’t think about all of the future holidays that I will miss with him but I regret all of the past holidays that I missed with my family because of work. 

My thinking about the idea of losing productivity while taking time off has changed. Why? For the first time in my working life, I actually took a two-week vacation! Okay, technically I still worked remotely while traveling, but something remarkable happened during those two weeks. I found I was actually MORE productive when I did sneak in a little work. I knew that I only had limited pockets of time in which I could get things done, a fact that made me laser focused! There was no time for “shiny object syndrome” or social media breaks when I was working on a project. I had to be very diligent about how I spent my time. It’s classic Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”! In other words, if you allot only a certain amount of time to complete something, it motivates you to get it done! Here are a few other tips for navigating some well-earned time off …

  • Communicate your plans to your clients. Let them know you’ll be taking some time off, but you’ll still be working on a slightly condensed schedule. They’ll appreciate the heads up, and aren’t likely to begrudge you a little time off.
  • Take advantage of automation. Set up email auto-response. Set up a “splash page” on your website with an awesome freebie, and plan out your social media and blog posts before you head out.
  • Share your vacation with your audience. People ultimately are buying YOU. So let them see the person behind the brand. One of our clients, Kathy Jalali from Happy Cinnamon, is doing this brilliantly right now while she and her family are traveling in Spain. She’s taking amazing images while incorporating them into her brand messaging of Spice Up Your Wellness.

You can take time off! It takes a little planning, but the rewards — a change of perspective and the balance gained from a bit of time off — make it all worth it in the end!