When you run a home-based business, getting away can be nearly impossible. If you can’t remember the last time you took a vacation, you’re probably overdue for one. If you don’t take a break, your creativity and problem-solving abilities will suffer. It actually helps your business to take breaks.
Here are 10 tips to help you to get the most out of your time away from your home office, in order to relax and recharge.
- Stop waiting for the right time. Your first step to taking time off is to realize that there is no perfect time to take a vacation. Clients will always be waiting, deadlines will always loom, and phone calls and e-mails will always need to be returned. You have to make time off a priority above your day-to-day duties, or you will never go.
- Keep business communication to a minimum. If you absolutely must take your laptop, cell phone, or Blackberry along, set firm limits on how long you’ll work. Avoid this as much as possible to ensure your vacation is actually time off.
- Provide an emergency contact. Make sure existing and prospective clients have someone they can reach if necessary. If you don’t have an employee to mind the store while you’re gone, ask a colleague to cover for you, perhaps offering to do the same for them when they need to take a break.
- Give adequate notice to your clients or customers. Email or call important clients at least two weeks in advance of your vacation to let them know you won’t be available. Let them know the dates you are going to be gone, and politely remind them that if there is a pressing business matter, now is the time to take care of it.
- Make priority lists for your employees and for yourself. This will ensure your employees know what tasks and projects need to get done before your return, and your list will remind you of what you need to do when you get back.
- Don’t mix business with your pleasure. Try to avoid planning the vacation around a business trip. Make plans for a separate vacation-only trip to avoid the temptation of the work bleeding into the vacation.
- Pay bills and invoices before you go. You won’t be able to enjoy your time away if you’re thinking about overdue bills, so pay them before you go.
- Start small. If you can’t seem to make time for a full-fledged vacation, try a mini-vacation first. If you can’t justify taking a week off, leave town for a long weekend. If even that seems too daunting, practice taking mini-vacation breaks during the course of your workweek. Take an hour walk at noon, go to the gym, or set aside a weeknight for a getaway dinner or movie.
- Don’t ask for trouble. This may seem obvious, but don’t announce on your telephone greeting that you are out of town for two weeks, especially when people know you work from home. Keep your announcement simple and concise: The office will be closed for two weeks.
- No regrets. You’re absolutely, positively going to feel guilty about taking time off, so get over it. You deserve time away, and you’ll be a better home-based business owner for getting out of the house.