What I Learned From My Working Vacation
If you’re a business owner, then you know how hard it is to step away.
We often feel like no one else can do what we do in our business, everything will fall apart if we take even a day off, how will our business survive? Well I recently spent 2 weeks in Italy, traveling with my husband’s family that I don’t see often because they live in Canada, and spending time with my Dad’s side of the family for my cousin’s wedding. It was a special trip, once in a lifetime, couldn’t be missed… and all I could think about for months leading up to it was: how am I going to do this?
If you work in social media or you have a business that has a social presence, then you know that social media is 24/7. How was I going to be out of the country for 2 weeks, running a client facing business, and keep everything running efficiently?
It’s been a week since I’ve been back and I’m happy to report - I accomplished just that and I learned A LOT in the process. Wisdom which I’m now imparting upon you. If you feel so engrossed in your business that it feels impossible to take time off; here are a few practical steps that you can implement to ensure you can enjoy your time away.
1. Take Stock of What Needs to Get Done, Delegate, and Divide
Easy and obvious right? Wrong.
Here’s what you need to do. A MONTH OUT: look at what will need to get done before you go, while you’re there, AND the week after you get back. Write it ALL out both in list form and in a calendar. Then delegate what you can. Are there things you normally do that you could potentially hand off to team members? If you don’t have team members, can you push that task back a bit to when you get back? If the answer is no to both of these things - it’s time to divide.
Divide all of the tasks that need to get done into weeks when you will do them and assigning a day to get them done. This helps MASSIVELY with accomplishing tasks. Instead of just having a giant long list of what you need to accomplish- assign them to individual weeks and days which will help them feel MUCH more manageable.
Finally, decide what you will actually have time for when you are away. I knew this would be a working holiday for me, but I wanted to make sure I kept the work to a couple of hours a day. I left minimal tasks for my day to day and still had time to enjoy my trip.
2. Don’t Let Your Own Social Media Stop
People will tell you that “it’s fine to take a week off”, “take a break from social and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to go!”. I’m here to tell you - take a week off at your own risk. You have worked SO HARD to get that engagement up, be consistent with your posting, drum up those incoming comments… taking a week off WILL impede your progress. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. Having a dead account for a week means you’ll have to work twice as hard to get that engagement going again.
Instead, schedule ahead. Sure, schedule static content that week that can be easily autoposted. Edit your reels ahead of time, schedule EVERYTHING you can so that your marketing efforts on social don’t come to a complete standstill.
3. Functioning Day to Day on a “Vacation”
You’re supposed to be on vacation, right? But you’re answering emails every minute and getting notifications every 2 seconds. I know the feeling. Here’s what I do. I get up and deal with whatever came in overnight right away. I take stock of what needs to get done that day and accomplish as much as I can first thing in the morning. It will alleviate anxiety and allow you to enjoy your day without thinking about the work waiting for you the entire time.
Then I would generally not open emails or look at notifications for the bulk of my day to stay present with my family. I would NOT mute them. If something important or urgent came in, I needed to know about it, but I felt confident that I had taken care of everything pressing already that morning. Before dinner I would do a check in and see if there was anything that urgently needed answering or reviewing from my team and get back to them about it. Tune out during dinner and do a final check before going to bed.
In summary, I was working about 4-5 hours a day in total which is a LOT better than my usual 10. Hey, it’s the life of a business owner.
To me, 4 hours was super successful! I was able to travel, still run my business, and make sure everything continued smoothly in my absence. A BIG win as far as I was concerned.
I hope these tactics help you to organize and prioritize your work while taking a trip so you can get out there and enjoy your life! Because what’s it all about, really? Money. Just kidding - LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE. There we go. Living your best life.