Small-business owners, when was the last time you took a vacation? If you scoff at the very thought, if even the idea of setting your phone on silent to spend the day with your family for a holiday makes you anxious, this list is for you. You don’t have to live and breathe your business 24/7/365… with the right approach.
But before we get into how you can take a step back to enjoy the holidays, let’s underline why. Burn out is a very real phenomenon. If you’re not balancing work and family, you’re not balancing your work and your life—you yourself are becoming imbalanced. And that doesn’t sound like an ideal state for a small business owner (or a human being in general!) to be in, does it?
Here are some work life balance tips designed to do just that, while reducing the stress and anxiety that come along with taking a much needed step back from your duties at the office.
1. Never Underestimate Administrative Assistance
If you don’t already have an assistant that you trust implicitly, that might be a big part of why you’re hesitant to take the day off for a turkey dinner with the kids. Even if it’s not something you can remedy in time for the closest upcoming holiday, put it on your radar.
A great administrative assistant is more than someone that takes dictation—your assistant can serve as your lifeline and boost your productivity day to day. It’s rare that an on-point assistant isn’t a win in terms of profitability.
If you work closely with your administrative assistant throughout the week and give them hands-on access to the projects you’re overseeing via a strong project management software solution, you’ll be amazed at what he or she can do. Remember, great managers are also good at empowering their employees, and learning to rely on your assistant does just that.
2. Prepare to Delegate Daily Duties
Too many small business owners imagine they’ll wait on a vacation until they can get everything done “ahead of time.” Think about this seriously if you’ve put yourself into this mindset. Is there ever a day when something else doesn’t come up? If you stick with this method, you’re never going to take a day off, let alone be able to plan ahead for a fulfilling vacation or holiday!
One more thing: How many of those daily duties are actually duties and not a form of micromanagement? If you’re not already exploring marketing automation software solutions and what they can bring to your company, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice. Many integrate with other software solutions and can handle a lot of the heavy lifting that might, right now, be making your days more hectic than they need to be.
3. Reach Out to Your Network
Successful business owners cultivate strong networks for many reasons, and depending upon those networks when you’re out of the office is just one of them. Not only that, but fostering these types of relationships with your network—relationships where you demonstrate your trust in your colleagues and even competitors—strengthens connections.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Neither you nor the office is probably ready for your month-long European backpacking trip. But that doesn’t mean that could never happen. What does need to happen is baby steps. Take off on a Friday and test-drive your contingency plans. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at just how competently your employees can run things, even without your intervention. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of how well your employees are able to make use of decision-making and management tools, like your customer relationship management software, without you there to call the shots.
5. Set Boundaries
While brief vacations can be a good opportunity to go cold turkey, it’s unrealistic to expect that a situation that really does require your input won’t ever come up. If it does, think carefully about what communication channels should be used to contact you. You may wish, for example, to delegate one or two points of contact within the company—your assistant, certain department heads, etc. That way, when more minor situations occur, situations that can be resolved without interrupting the flow of your vacation, these gatekeepers can step in and ensure that their handled properly.