Do you have a week or two during the year when your services are not in high demand? Do your biggest clients seem to always take vacations during the summer or winter holidays? Are you being pressured to join your loved ones on a ski vacation, cruise, college tour, or family reunion?
If so, you need a vacation from your business. Here are some tips that have helped me know when to get away over the past 15 years of being a consultant:
1) If Your Clients Are Away – If your biggest, most time-consuming clients are going to be away between mid-December and New Year’s Day, during Easter week, or a specific span of time next summer, why stick around if they’re not there? If you want to take a break, it’s simply the best time for you to go. Plus, there will be less to manage if your clients are away when you are.
2) If You’re Snapping At Everyone, Including Your Dog – If you’re super-stressed out about everything, no matter how busy you are, you really need a vacation. The longer it’s been, the more you need one to recharge your batteries and reward yourself.
3) If You’re Addicted to Email – Last year, I was so overwhelmed by emails, multiple projects, and the expected instant response times, I flew off to Micronesia to go scuba diving and totally unplugged for six days. No email. No laptop. No phone. Aaaahhhh. That was a vacation in itself.
4) If You Can’t Get Enough Sleep – As I wrote in this recent article, if you’re working too many long days because of too much work, too little time for breaks, and no time to eat, that’s another indicator you need to take some time off.
5) If You Not Busy Enough – We all go through slow periods during the year, but if things are extremely slow and you know that business will pick up in a few weeks or a month, take some time off to plan your next marketing project or year-end business plan. If you can’t afford an elaborate vacation, drive somewhere for a long weekend, take a few afternoons off to catch a movie, play golf or tennis, go for a hike, or just go out to lunch with a friend. All of this takes your mind off of work.
Remember, before your trip, don’t forget to alert your clients far enough in advance that you’ll be away, determine who’s got your back to work with them while you’re gone, arrange for secure remote access to your files, and change your office phone and email autoresponder messages. Then, relax and have fun!