Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Take a Vacation...From What?

The business section in today’s Raleigh News and Observer includes an interview I did with a reporter about small business owners taking vacations.

If you own a small business carving a chunk of time out of the year to take a vacation can be difficult. Time is money and money is the lifeblood of the business. But, for most of us, if we don’t take some time to recharge we burn out.

My main point to the reporter, Jennifer Gregory, was that small business owners need a sense of self-awareness. If you don’t know what stresses you and you don’t know what recharges you you’re making decisions without the necessary information.

Here are two of my suggestions you might want to consider. Both are based on self-awareness:

Ask yourself: Am I more recharged by long weekends or by taking a couple of weeks for vacation? A range of personal energy experts say we don’t really wind down and relax unless we take a couple of weeks for vacation. But, I’ve found that if I take a couple of weeks I slow down so much it takes me another couple of weeks to get back up to speed. I’m better served by taking long…sometimes very long, weekends.

What worries you about taking a vacation and how can you lessen the worry or keep it from occurring? Can you leave someone in charge, put an autopilot project in motion or have someone screen your calls? Can you schedule short periods during your vacation in which you’ll take care of business? If you do, be sure to have clearly defined boundaries about work and time.

Finally, maybe it’s less a case of you needing the vacation than the people around you. Maybe your staff or family needs a vacation from you. While my parents didn’t own small businesses I can tell you that we never took a traditional vacation as a family and I can only remember a few times when we all spent a weekend on a trip together.

Maybe the first decision in the vacation question should be: From what or whom do I need to take a vacation?...and that's based on self-awareness.

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