How Business Owners Can Take a Vacation and Still Get the Work Done

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how to get work done on vacation

American small business owners don’t take enough vacation. In fact, the United States is the only western nation without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation.

Do they know something we don’t?

Most entrepreneurs would agree that time away from work is actually good for their productivity. Unfortunately, so many small business owners are afraid to take vacation for fear of missing something or the their company “falling apart”.

However, vacation time is actually a good time to measure how well the company actually operates without you. If the company‘s success is all about you, it is actually a very dangerous situation.

Assign someone take your place while you are on vacation and test what happens. Even though it is a risk, a company that runs without your daily involvement is more valuable to any buyer or shareholder.

When going on vacation, yes, you may come back to over 3,000 emails. But you may also realize that no one died and nothing happened that could not be resolved the next week. No matter how fast we think business moves, things will, many times, wait longer than you initially realized. While there may be a few missed opportunities, the time away will be worth the increased productivity when you return.

If you can’t leave work for an entire week to recharge, consider doing work every morning for an hour while on vacation. During this time, follow these strict rules:

Set an “Out of Office” Message on Your Email and Voice Mail

Do not respond to emails that can be successfully handled by others at the company or when you return. While this may be tempting, it is important not to engage in these conversations since they will lead to additional work while on vacation.

Leave Strict Instructions with Your Staff

This should include not being bothered unless they need your advice or approval to a situation that will be “irreversible” if it is resolved in a week instead. Never call into the office to see “what’s happening”.

Have no Major Deadlines While on Vacation

Don’t take work with you. Any business done during this week should be only new issues that come up while you are gone.

Do not use Your Laptop, Tablet or Phone for Work Except During this One Hour a Day

If you forgot something that you think of later in the day, write it down and let it wait to be addressed until the following morning.

What tips do you have to go on vacation from work?

Vacation Photo via Shutterstock

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Barry Moltz Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck. With decades of entrepreneurial ventures as well as consulting with countless other entrepreneurs, he has discovered the formula to get business owners marching forward. His newest book, BAM! shows how in a social media world, customer service is the new marketing.

3 Reactions
  1. I’m naturally an early riser, so getting up at my regular time and working for an hour or two doesn’t affect anything, or anyone else, during vacations. You’d be surprised how much you can do when you’re that laser-focused.

  2. Robert, great advice. But, what about solopreneurs?