As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in working too much: working late into the night, working on holidays, working on vacation, skipping social outings and gatherings to get more work done. If you’re a work-at-home parent, of course you have other responsibilities, but you may find yourself sometimes borrowing work time from family time.
There are some steps you can implement to create more time for relaxation and vacations, and avoid the stress that comes with taking time off.
- Be organized, set a schedule, and stick to it. This helps prevent procrastination and work piling up, but it also gets you in the habit of closing the home office door at a scheduled time.
- Automate as many tasks and systems as you can. Some tasks can be set up so they will run automatically without you. For example, you can pre-schedule blog posts to be published, newsletters and emails to be sent, and social media updates to be posted, all while you are on vacation.
- For some other processes that can’t be automated, you can set up templates where you can just copy and paste information, instead of having to type the same thing each time.
- Outsource tasks that don’t need your direct personal attention (that can survive without you) to an in-office assistant, a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, etc.
- .If you are going on vacation, inform clients ahead of time that you will not be available and when you will return to work. Set an email auto-response and update your voice mail message with this information before you leave.
- If you have a business where customers may require customer service while you are away, or phone calls or emails will need to be responded to in a timely manner, arrange for an assistant (in-person or virtual) to cover for you while you are gone. Don’t hire someone last minute who is not familiar with your business/products/services or the assistant may not be able to answer questions and handle problems on your behalf. When they understand your business, you can instruct them to only contact you if it is an absolute emergency.
- If you have certain times of the year that are slower for your business, consider taking your vacations during that time.
- Make a list of all business-related tasks you need to take care of before your vacation and allow enough time in your work schedule to complete them.
- Create a Standard Operating Procedures Manual. This will include instructions for every procedure, process, and task that takes place in your business. It includes the step-by-step instructions for each task and when it needs to be done. An assistant can help you do this if you are short on time. If you have a Standard Operating Procedures Manual in place, anyone can step in for you at any time to keep everything running smoothly, and they will have the manual to guide them. This is also a very valuable asset if you have a business that you want to be able to sell in the future, and it will be attractive to any potential buyer.
The benefit of automating and systematizing your business as much as possible is so that it can continue to run without you being there. If the unexpected happens (you or a family member becomes ill for an extended period of time) or you want to take an extended vacation, your business will not collapse because everything is well organized and someone can step in for you at any time and rely on the Standard Operating Procedures Manual to tell them what needs to be done.