You may believe that the worst thing you can do is to take time off. Four out of ten self-employed Canadians don't take time off and describe most days as extremely stressful. Your startup is just starting to take off and you feel like you need to recharge your batteries. This can actually be the best decision you have ever made, but you need to know how to vacation right.
The fact is entrepreneurs need to learn to take a vacation in order to stay fresh, and this article is going to show you how to do it.
Why You Need to Take a Vacation
Some startup owners may scoff at the idea of taking a vacation in the first place. If you are thinking about putting yourself in this category, think again. Deciding to take a break could just be the decision that makes or breaks your business.
The problem with entrepreneurs is that they have few problems putting themselves through an immense amount of stress and pain. They do it because they love what they do. Unfortunately, love will never beat the effects of burnout. Sooner or later you are going to crumble, and that could cause the end of your company.
You need to take a vacation at least once or twice a year. This shouldn't just be a day off it should be some time spent away from your usual environment. The benefit of being energized will far outweigh the downsides of being away from the office for a few days.
Do it in Advance
The key to taking time off when running a startup is to make sure that you are doing it in advance. The worst thing you can do is to immediately disappear without any contingency plans in place.
Go out of your way to prepare for your vacation at least a month in advance, and you should never take a vacation during busy periods of the year. This is simply common sense.
The Person in Command
Who is in command?
You need another you in order to step in when you disappear from the controls. It should be someone who is well-qualified to do it. At the very least, they should be able to keep the company steady during your absence. If you need to bring someone up from below, make sure they have a replacement as well.
When a decision-maker leaves the company for a short time, you need to have a plan in place for who will take over all the way down to the soldiers in the trenches.
How Should You Stay in Touch?
There's a big debate over how much you should stay in touch with the affairs of your company during vacation time. It's not uncommon to have CEOs who stay in touch so often that they may as well have stayed in the office. Likewise, there are those who are nowhere to be found at all.
You need to strike a balance between the two. You should be accessible but only in the event of an emergency. If you are too accessible, you are diminishing the benefits of going away on vacation.
Is there an Ideal Time Away from the Office?
You will be shocked at the difference a day or two can make to a successful entrepreneur's productivity and motivation levels. The amount of time you need away from the office depends entirely on you and when you feel you can get back to work. If you haven't taken a vacation in five years, you are going to need longer.
An alternative to taking a full vacation is to go on a corporate retreat. This is essentially a business meeting in a more casual environment. You are still working but you are resting at the same time, and that's why it's so effective. It's the best of both worlds!
Do you ever wonder why you feel burned out?
It's not because this is not the sector for you. It's because you are overworked and your mind needs time to refresh itself. The greatest entrepreneurs in the world all know the value of taking a break. They are regular proponents of taking time away from the world of startups in order to reflect.
The way to make sure that you are getting the most from your vacation is to plan it in advance, make sure the right person is manning the fort, and to disengage entirely.
It can make sure you survive your first year of entrepreneurship.