Many of the business people that I work with find extreme difficulty in taking time off because they obsess about their business and meeting their customers’ needs.
Since the health of a small business depends directly on the health of the owner, I encourage my clients to plan downtime into their working lives to avoid getting worn down by work.
Being practical, taking a summer break will only recharge your batteries if you plan to get the most from your holiday break:
Declare a holiday
Mark your holiday dates in the calendar and prepare just as you do for other work projects: list potential worries, prioritise tasks to complete before departure and plan tasks for your return.
Straighten your admin
Pay important bills to avoid returning to final demands. Send out invoices early to ensure cash flows whilst you are away. De-clutter your office so you make a clean start.
Get your calls forwarded to the voicemail on your mobile and incoming faxes to your email account then pack your laptop and modem for easy access.
Wind down into your holiday
If you employ staff, arrange their holidays in a roster: discuss who will be responsible for during your absence, and how they should deal with important issues so you don't return to a mountain of post and messages.
Avoid important meetings in the weeks that you leave or return. At least three weeks beforehand, let your customers, suppliers and other key people know your absence dates so they can flex their plans.
If your premises are unattended, don't tell potential burglars: ask callers to leave a message on your voicemail. Secure your premises; store important documents elsewhere; and backup vital information and put the copies in two different locations.
Appoint someone trustworthy to check your answering machine and premises. Leave instructions on how you can be reached in case of an emergency.
Optimise your return
Work stress commonly spoils a good holiday and creates family tensions, so leave your business behind, consciously relax, get the most out of your break and recharge those batteries so that you return refreshed, invigorated and ready for business.
If you follow these simple steps, you will enjoy a well-deserved break from work, you will avoid worrying about the business and you will return ready to work profitably with your customers as they come back from their holidays.
Adrian Pepper coaches people through business and personal difficulties, helping companies figure out what to do, how to move forward and what to get organised. You can contact him through Help4You Ltd , through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you , you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.