So, the summer holidays are just weeks away and this time you’re gonna do it! You’re going to take an actual, real break and have a holiday, you booked it months ago and now it is so close you can almost touch it….
But… you are starting to find yourself panicking and feeling all icky about leaving your business that you have loved and nurtured into a thriving venture. To make matters worse, most of your friends and family simply don’t understand why you feel this way because they just pop their holiday request form in, put their out of office response on and away they go for two weeks!
So, you find yourself starting to descend down the spiral into overwhelm and stress – not good for anyone that is planning to switch off, have a really good break and return rested and full of new ideas for their business!
But, with a little bit of planning and putting some easy things in place now will totally help you prevent you sliding down the slippery slope into overwhelm city!
So here is my essential guide to taking a break with confidence:
Do a brain dump
This is an essential part of planning your biz break – do not skip it! Take a large piece of paper and write down everything that is likely to cause you stress or worry whilst you’re away – this will allow you to pop things in place now so that you can mentally tick off that you have dealt with that worry before it arises.
Update your website
Anticipate customer queries and prepare for them in advance. Add anything to your FAQ page if you have one that may be asked over the break. Put a notice on your website that you are closed and let readers know when you’ll be back.
This is also a really great opportunity to have a quick spring clean of your website – make sure all links are working and that all the info is still up to date.
Schedule your social media in advance
Now, even though you’re enjoying some well earned rest and relaxation, you don’t want to drop off the earth when it comes to posting on your social media platforms whilst you are away. Use a scheduling tool, there are some great ones out there that have a free option and will allow you to schedule to your social media platforms well in advance.
Of course, Facebook has its own scheduling tool directly on your biz page – win-win! This, of course, is something that can totally be outsourced! If it saves you stress before and during your holiday, consider hiring someone to plan, create, curate and schedule your social media posts for you.
Add an out of office message to your emails and social media messaging
Adding a quick message to your out of office will let anyone know instantly that you are closed and that you will answer their queries or emails upon your return.
Also, take the opportunity to add a little call to action, in this digital age people expect a quick response and likewise as business owners we then feel the need to respond quickly (come on, we have all answered that email at 8.00pm even though we know we shouldn’t)
So, don’t leave them empty-handed, perhaps pop a link in there to your FAQ page so that you can at least point them in the direction of a possible answer.
Set up auto response messages to your emails
If you really feel that an out of office message just isn’t enough then you can set up autoresponders in your email system, so that they receive an automated response. These are particularly useful for new enquiries.
Set up filters on your emails
Setting up filters will allow you to return after your break to a nice neat inbox instead of an uncontrollable monster
Tidy up your office/workspace before you go
Returning after a break to a nice clean office and workspace will help you instantly feel more productive and allow you to hit the ground running when you return full of all those new ideas that having a good break is bound to generate.
Turn off all notifications
So, the day has arrived you have put everything in place and you are ready to shut your computer down, lock your office door and head off for your well deserved break; but don’t forget one vital ingredient essential to switching off!
Notifications are a wonderous thing when we are in work mode, however, they are not so helpful when we are trying to relax. So, switch them all off! If you absolutely cannot do without checking in with emails and your social over your break at least make it a scheduled check in and be firm with yourself when your times up!
Set reminders and prompts
Sometimes taking a break is hard, particularly from a business that you love! And it can be really hard, if for example you work from home and are just taking a break but not actually going away. Why not pop some little positive notes and prompts around to remind you that you are not working?
This can be as simple as popping a little post-it note on your computer or office door if you have a home office – stating ‘DO NOT OPEN UNTIL XXX.’ (the date you have agreed to return)
These little actions are really simple to put into place, and I suggest if you are going away for a week you set up the things in this guide at least 3 weeks before you are planning on taking a break – this will allow you to do several things:
- Break down the tasks and just spend a little time doing each one over the week
- Plan – you should plan these tasks into your work diary and make it non negotiable.
Going away for longer?
Totally fine. The tasks themselves will not change, but I suggest that you start actioning the steps at least 4-6 weeks prior to going if you can!
Now, that may seem like a long time in advance but things such as scheduling social media posts etc have other tasks associated with them so you will need to break these down into smaller chunks before getting to the stage where you can schedule them in:
You may need to:
- Source images
- Design memes
- Break down your Ebook or blogs into top tips
- Write copy for blogs and/or social posts
- Record videos
All before you get to the scheduling stage, so giving yourself a little buffer will allow you to do these things in the time slots that you allocated in your diary. Remember, when it comes to your social media posts that you do not need to go off and create lots of new content! Always use your evergreen content such as blogs, your about me page, testimonials, ebooks, previous videos etc. where possible, this will dramatically reduce your workload!
If you have booked a last minute holiday and don’t have the time to do all the steps in the guide, my advice is to do the tasks that you can do and outsource the rest!
Following these steps will allow you to take a break with confidence and return refreshed and rejuvenated to a business you love.