One aspect of good time management that many business owners forget is down-time. If you’re running a business, scheduling time for a holiday is essential to your health and the health of your business. Putting the holiday into your schedule is only the first step, however. There are other steps that need to be taken.
The very first thing to do is choose when your holiday will be. For a business owner, the most relaxing time is going to be during a slow period for the business, so plot these periods in your calendar. For maximum relaxation, alter your schedule so that your workload decreases gradually in the days leading up to the holiday.
Deciding on Degrees of Control
Once you’ve chosen to take a holiday, you next need to decide how you’re going to handle it. The best holiday strategy is to completely cut off contact with the business, but for many business owners this either isn’t possible or it would cause more worry than relaxation. Simply winging it while on holiday is not the answer either. The best way forward is to plan out exactly how much work time your holiday will involve:
- Emergency calls only – this is possibly the best option. It requires a reliable person at the helm while you’re away.
- Weekly or twice-weekly updates – this option allows you to keep close tabs on your business without it completely intruding on your holiday.
- A daily phone call – not the best way to relax on holiday. If daily updates are necessary, schedule a time for them each day and stick to the time limit.
Preparing Staff for Your Absence
A second thing to do, and one that will help relieve any worry, is to thoroughly prepare staff for the time you’re going to be away. Have responsibility holders make lists of their priorities and tasks. This will help you to check that they know what to do, and will help them take control.
Remember that showing confidence in your staff is important as well. No-one likes to feel that their boss is looking over their shoulder. It’s a good test of the waters to start the delegation process before you go away.
Planning for Emergencies
Finally, form an emergency plan. Think about the things that could go wrong, and set out steps to be followed should the worst occur. Provide your staff with your contact details and clear instructions on when and how you are to be contacted.
Holidays are an important part of business. Letting go can be difficult, but it is essential.