Have you ever thought to yourself, “I need to take some time off and recharge, but it is just never a good time.”? As a business owner/virtual assistant, there is always a list of things that need to be done. Someone is always needing something from you. There’s always an email that needs to be responded to. There’s always follow-up that needs to be done.
As a business owner who is also a mom to two active boys and a wife, I totally get the need for work/life balance. Scratch that. I actually prefer the term work/life blend because let’s be honest…Is there really such thing as a perfect balance? I vote no.
In order for you to achieve an optimal work-life blend, you need to schedule some time off. Hang out with me for the next little bit and we are going to cover exactly how you can do that to ensure that everything is handled and you can take some much deserved and needed time off as a business owner. Ready? Let’s go!
Plan Your Time Away in Advance
I encourage you to sit down with your calendar today and mark down the dates you want to take time off. Be sure to keep in mind busy times and important dates coming up in your business. For example, being away right before or during a major launch would not be ideal. Mark the time off on your calendar. If it’s written down, you are much more likely to follow through on taking the time off.
I personally try to plan some time off each quarter of the year. Sometimes it might be a long weekend or maybe it’s a long one to two-week trip. I find that having time off marked on my calendar gives me something to look forward to.
Decide If You Are Going to be Completely Unplugged or Plugged In
I’m always a big fan of completely unplugging and not checking in while I am away, but that is not always possible. If you do decide to completely unplug, stick to that. If you decide to be a little plugged in, set some boundaries for yourself and designate two to three times per day when you will be checking in. Be sure to set a time limit for yourself for each check-in as well.
Communicating Your Time Off in Advance
Communicating with your clients and/or team members will be key. Let your clients and/or team members know about your time off as soon as possible, and preferably four to six weeks in advance, when possible. You will also want to communicate if you will be completely unplugged or if you will be checking in and available from time to time and when those blocks of time will be.
It is also important to communicate who your clients and/or team members can contact while you are taking time off. This will eliminate any confusion and everyone will feel like they are taken care of. Be sure to send an email detailing all of this information so that they are able to go back and reference it as needed. If you want to be contacted because of an urgent situation, have a plan in place for who needs to contact you and how you wish to be contacted.
As your time off approaches, plan your work and projects accordingly. It might not be the best idea to kick off a brand new client or project the few days leading up to you taking time off. Think about any work that can be done ahead of time and/or delegated to other team members. The goal is for you to be able to enjoy your time off, not spend every second thinking about all the things you did not get done.
And just know upfront, you more than likely are not going to get everything done that you wanted to. Schedule anything that can wait until you return, and when possible delegate it to a team member.
It’s Go Time
Be sure to send a quick reminder to your clients and/or team members two weeks before your scheduled time off. You might want to consider scheduling any needed sync meetings prior to your time off so that everyone feels good and on the same page.
Draft and schedule your email responder for the days you will be away. Be sure to include when you will be back in the office and who someone can contact if they need immediate assistance.
If they are not already, be sure to turn off all notifications on your phone. Remember the goal for your time off is to rest and recharge. You did the prep work ahead of time to be able to enjoy your time off and not feel guilty about it.
When You Return
When possible, try to schedule one buffer day when you return from your time away and when you are back in the office working. This will give you time to settle back in, take care of life stuff like unpacking, laundry, and grocery shopping.
Spend thirty to forty-five minutes going through your email and adding any to-dos to your favorite task manager. You will already be ahead before your first day back working and will alleviate a lot of overwhelming feelings.
Taking time off as a business owner is vital to you loving your business and not feeling burnt out. Make this a nonnegotiable this year. Even if you schedule just one time this year to take some time off. You can slowly build on that and take more time off. I also want to encourage you to not feel guilty about taking time off.
Many of us started our businesses for the freedom and flexibility it can bring, but somewhere along the way, we lose sight of that. If you are feeling guilty, revisit your why for you starting your business. So often that can recenter you and light a spark within you.
Need some extra support when it comes to your virtual assistant business? Click HERE to get more information on scheduling a 1:1 power session with me.
If you have additional tips for taking time off in your business, I would love it if you would drop them below in the comments. Cheers to achieving a work-life blend and taking more time off to enjoy the life you have created!