How to take time off without stressing about your business

I’m going to be totally honest here and admit that I can find taking time away from my business to be stressful especially when I’m away for a week or more.  I can find myself worrying about revenue and clients simply because I’m not actively working in or on my business.

Do you do that?

 

What causes the worry?

I think this is pretty easy to work out.

Given that running a business is a pretty absorbing activity (if you are like me then it will occupy a lot of your thoughts) then stepping away from it can be hard.

I find that after about 5 days my brain starts to twist my chilled downtime into little worrying thoughts like…

“all your revenue will drop away”

“what if client X doesn’t rebook their meeting?”

“you’ve forgotten to submit your VAT return”

Do you get similar thoughts?

I think my brain does that because I haven’t occupied that brain space with other non-work thoughts.  But realistically when I’m relaxing on holiday I don’t want to have to fill my brain with constant activity, so how do I manage those thoughts?

It’s all in the planning

Here’s the 11 steps I take to keep my brain panic free

  1. I make sure I know that I can have time off without denting my revenue & profit. This comes down to having a great pricing strategy which covers me for having a good chunk of time throughout the year.

 

  1. Before I go away I work out my revenue for that month so I know I’ll hit my target regardless to being off. This works wonders at stopping those panicky thoughts.

 

  1. I make sure I’ve planned in all of my marketing for the quarter and that I’ve scheduled elements of it so it’ll be working while I’m off (and that’s a great feeling). This usually entails my VA getting a spreadsheet of things to do while I’m off 🙂

 

  1. I let all my clients know that I’ll be away and that I won’t be checking emails; this way they tend not to send me emails while I’m off which definitely helps to keep my work brain switched off.

 

  1. I change my email settings on my phone so it only downloads emails for 1 hour a day, plus I turn the notifications off so I don’t see that I have any emails. This works wonders. Not seeing those little notifications makes your brain believe you haven’t received any emails so you don’t even think of checking.

 

  1. I turn off all my work related notifications on my phone. Given you can run your entire business off your phone these days it makes it harder to switch off while you are on holiday.  So I go into settings and turn off all of the notifications including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Trello etc.  This really helps to remove me from my business so I can chill.

 

  1. Before I go away I’ll check all the key dates for my business such as VAT returns etc so I know I won’t miss any while I’m off.

 

  1. I’ll plan in all my client meetings so I know all of them are in my diary waiting for me when I get back.

 

  1. I make sure my laptop is fully backed-up so I don’t worry about losing everything in some freak incident (my laptop backs up automatically but I always check it’s working before I go away!).

 

  1. I write myself a list of things to do once I get back from my hols. I find this helps to empty my head before I go away.  If I think of anything I need to do once I’ve left fo my holiday then I either set a reminder to do it when I get back or I brain-dump into Evernote on my phone.

 

  1. Finally while I’m away I often get some great ideas so I capture them in Evernote so I can work on them when I get back.

 

If I do get any stressy thoughts…

I remind myself that it’s all covered because I’ve done those 11 steps and the little thoughts disappear 🙂

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