Why You Should Ignore Your Cell Phone and Laptop: Six Keys to a Great Vacation
It’s a gorgeous, warm day and you’re loading your black SUV with a beach blanket, cooler, sunscreen, a sun umbrella, your family and …your cell phone and laptop. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you’ve worked hard all year and look forward to a vacation. Or do you?
Statistics show that over 25% of small business owners take their Blackberrys, Palm Pilots, cell phones or laptops on vacation in the hopes of combining work and play.
While this may sound like a reasonable idea, this isn’t always the best solution to trying to ‘stay on top of things.’ In fact, many business people may be shortchanging themselves and their families when they engage in this behavior.
A vacation is meant to be a change of scenery from work – a time to connect with family, friends and hobbies and oneself. The importance of a vacation is often underrated in today’s busy society. People feel the urge to be productive all the time and many don’t even know how to slow down and relax.
When a busy person takes time to slow down, relax and take a vacation, they often discover innovative new business ideas or are able to see their company with a fresh perspective because they’re away from it. They also avoid burnout – a major pitfall for new or established business owners and entrepreneurs.
It’s important for business owners to vacation and turn off their cell phones and laptops for their holidays. Time away from something gives a person a new perspective and they may come up with new ideas.
Ever notice how your best ideas come to you while driving, showering, golfing, exercising or drifting off to sleep? It’s because we’re more relaxed and zoned out from stress. Our brain goes into a deeper, almost hypnotic state that allows for a free-flowing exchange of ideas while our analytical side of the brain is not involved. Therefore, we can’t dismiss some of our greatest innovations.
It’s a challenge to ‘escape’ when you’re the key player in a business. Sometimes you can’t just ‘take off’ because you’ve got staffing challenges, money problems and overwhelming projects that need to be completed.
The top business concern among business owners with vacation plans is that an important client or customer won’t receive proper service followed by worries over who will run the company while they’re away and missed opportunities for new business. Other concerns include: technological problems, security and sick staff.
Since time and money play a large role in the life of an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ll need to plan your holidays and enlist help to be sure you have the best vacation. If you must bring projects with you, limit how much time you spend; get up earlier to complete your work so the rest of your day is dedicated to having fun and relaxing.
How to make a vacation better:
1. Plan a vacation well in advance.
Many business owners don’t think there’s ever a good time to vacation, but putting a date to vacation on the calendar early will enable you to prepare for it by having adequate staff, etc. when you’re gone.
2. Use a travel agent for longer trips.
If you’re planning a trip out of the country, consider working with a travel agent as they’ll help you save time and money so you can get to the business of enjoying your vacation.
3. Put a deposit down on a trip or cabin to commit yourself.
Sometimes it’s just too easy to cancel trips. Work piles up, staff quit, the computer dies… the list is endless. If you commit to a trip and put money down, set it up where you won’t cancel or you’ll be penalized. This way you will take that vacation.
4. Schedule escapes during business down times.
If you can't take a trip of a week or longer, plan short weekend excursions or mid-week trips during your slowest business times.
5. Tackle major projects before the trip.
When you know how long your vacation will be, plan to complete major projects (if possible), write notes for staff and prepare for your trip with a clear head. It’s more pleasant to take a trip when you know your important work is done.
6. Limit your work on vacation (if you must work).
It’s ideal if you don’t take work with you on holidays, but working on a vacation is better than no vacation. If you must work, do a small portion early in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day.
If you follow these six key steps, you’ll be on your way to actually enjoying your vacation.