I recently read a depressing pair of statistics:
14% of small business owners believe they can completely check out while on vacation.
Meanwhile, 54% of American workers feel the same way.
(Here’s the study if you want to check it out)
When I was working in the corporate world, I knew that many of my coworkers were checking email, joining meetings, and logging hours during their vacations.
I was able to avoid working during time off, but I paid the price by digging out of a mountain of work when I returned.
Part of the reason I started my own business was to experience much more freedom. I wanted to mold my business around all of my other priorities and adventures.
So many of you feel the same way – you signed up for this entrepreneurial adventure because you wanted MORE freedom, not less.
What went wrong?
Why are so few of us taking unplugged time away?
We can’t blame a boss, or a corporate culture, or promises that someone else made that we now have to keep.
We’re the ones making the rules. We’re the ones with the power to change things.
So, if you haven’t truly, completely unplugged from your business in a little too long, here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your life to add yourself to that 14%:
- Schedule a time
If you want to start small, you can even make it a four-day weekend three months from now. That’s totally up to you. But block it off on your calendar now. Pretend it’s totally nonnegotiable.
I gave birth to my daughter during my second year of business. Taking unplugged time off was nonnegotiable. Would I have taken a five-week break without that impetus? Probably not. But because it wasn’t optional, I made it happen. We can do a lot when we have no other choice…so we can pretend the same thing for our vacations!
- Own your role
As an entrepreneur, you’re calling the shots. Your lack of vacation is on you. This is great, because you are in the driver’s seat! If you find yourself thinking, “but my clients need X, Y, and Z,” or “how am I supposed to make money while I’m gone?” or “what if something goes wrong?,” write down the questions and objections in your mind and think about ways you can work around them.
✨ If you tell your clients a month in advance, can you flex their projects around that time off?
✨ Can you slow down or postpone non-money-making activities for the weeks before and after your vacation so you can ramp up the revenue-generating things and get just as many of them done as you would have without the vacation?
✨ Can you deputize a team member to make decisions and only contact you with TRUE emergencies so you can stay out of your inbox?
The phrase “I can’t take a vacation” as an entrepreneur just isn’t true. You can choose not to take them…or you can choose to take them.
- Let small bad things happen
I learned this one from Tim Ferris. He talked honestly about the times when he would come back from a vacation to find that something had gone a bit haywire, or he’d missed a cool opportunity. But the benefit of that restorative time was always more valuable to him than any of the downsides.
When I took my first maternity leave, my revenue dropped by 40% for a couple of months. It didn’t feel great. But looking back, there’s no comparison between that money we didn’t make and the time I had with my newborn.
Unplugged time away is not just important – it’s very likely part of the reason you’re doing all this work in the first place! Small bad things might happen, but they can’t eclipse the value of your time.
Tell me…when will your next unplugged vacation be?
Mine will be a week off in October…hold me to it. 🙂
p.s. If you need support to build freedom back into your life and business, that’s exactly how we help our clients. You can learn more right here.