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Run, don’t walk away from your computer…
Sometimes it’s not easy to walk away from your computer – you’d miss it as much as you’d miss the dog, or kids (not necessarily in that order!). But, we all need time for a relaxing, stress-free break to rejuvenate.
As Walt Disney once said, “A man should never neglect his family for business.”
So, below are some business-related task we seldom think about but should do when planning that fantastic, much needed get-a-way:
- Call or e-mail your key contacts at least two weeks before leaving. Key contacts could be clients, partners, vendors etc. Create a vacation autoresponder announcing that you are on vacation. Identify the dates you will be away and name an “in-charge” contact person able to handle important items in your absence. Two weeks notice before leaving should be ample time for clients to inform you of any project they need completed. You can notify them if you will be able to accommodate their request(s) before embarking.
- Designate a contact person for you. Along the same lines, you need to identify someone to reach you in cases of — and only in cases of — an emergency. Entrust this person with details on how to make contact. You want someone who knows when and when not to call.
- Make a list of your work priorities while you are gone. Besides designating the person in charge, you need to establish a list of what tasks and projects you want completed.
- Make a list of your own work priorities for when you return. This list allows you to take your mind off work while you are gone. What you need to do when you return is all mapped out. Confine this list to short-term tasks; those that need finalizing and can get you back into the swing of things. Know that many unexpected things may come up while you are gone.
- Assign someone to handle your administrative tasks. By administrative tasks, I mean sorting through your snail mail, handling your phone messages, even answering your e-mail. Again, this has to be someone you trust. If you don’t have any employees or virtual team partners, you might consider asking a friend. Even if all they only sort your snail mail and put the priority items on top of the stack, that can help you get back into your work routine faster when you return.
- Notify your bank. Call your bank several days before your trip to alert them that you’re planning to use your card(s) on vacation. It’s especially important if you’re traveling to a faraway destination you’ve never been before.
- Pay important bills before you go. Set up a bill pay system with your financial institution one billing cycle in advance so that you can be sure it works and the payments post. If timing is an issue, you can also call your bank or credit card companies to let them know you are going to be away and payments might be a bit late.
- Use security smarts in disclosing your absence. Solo entrepreneurs often announce in their telephone greeting that they are out of the country for two weeks. That is like saying, “If you want to break into my business, feel free to while I am gone.” Be smarter than that. Tell callers that you may be hard to reach over the next two weeks. Better yet, transfer your business lines to your virtual assistant or live answering service. They can sort through the calls and handle appropriately.
- Tell your family and friends to avoid broadcasting your trip. In today’s digital world where interactions are seamlessly broadcast on the Internet, it’s easy to innocently slip up and let social media know that you’re not home.Ask loved ones to cut back on status updates about how they’re watering the plants while you are away. Unless they are house setting, these messages may alert others that your house is empty and vulnerable to dangerous people. Of course, and this is going to be hard, you have to cut back on your social media posting, too!
- Create a pet plan. Get your kennel or sitter lined up at least two weeks before a long trip. Plan for all the variables. Stock up on extra pet food so someone else doesn’t have to hit the store. Get extra keys made for your sitter, if necessary. Get extra scat bags, toys, catnip, anything that may help your pets stay comfortable and alive while you’re away…if you are taking them with you, stock up so they can enjoy their vacation, too.
- Have your contact person or neighbors make periodic checks of your business (home). You can also tell the local police or sheriff’s office that you’ll be out and request that they swing by on occasion.
- No notifications. Turn off all notifications on your phone and tablet. Don’t worry about Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Feedly, Pocket etc. Your support team can monitor these and tag important information for you to read when you return.
- Last but not least, don’t overwork before you leave. Try to add more hours to your day in the weeks leading up to your vacation, to spread your preparations over more time. The last two days before you leave will no doubt be hectic anyway. But put yourself in a position where you don’t have to pull any all-nighters.
Don’t stress the small stuff!
If you have a good handle on your business and a great relationship with your clients, it will survive your plunge into the Caribbean Ocean or some other exotic destination you have chosen. Oh, one more thing, start and end your time off on weekends, if necessary, to allow yourself restful buffers. And, have a swig of that great tropical drink the beautiful islander just served – on me.
Do you have any tips for a stress-free vacation? Share them with our readers, below. Don’t forget to signup for our ezine – Smart Business = Success for the latest on business, social marketing and virtual assisting.