You have climbed your way up the career ladder, shattered glass ceilings and have a long history of success on your resume. But you didn’t work this hard to stay perched at the top with no respite from your daily duties. You need to take advantage of your time off. Here’s how to do just that when you’re the boss and can’t go off the grid.
Designate your duties. Many CEOs, business owners and even government figures choose to stay in charge while they recharge. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t delegate a few duties to trusted managers or employees. Not only will delegating specific tasks ensure that important things don’t slip through the cracks in your absence, it’s also an excellent way to prove your employees that you trust them. Inc. explains that your best bet is to utilize your workers’ strengths, include instructions, and perhaps most importantly, learn to let go.
Make introductions. Introduce your biggest client to those with whom they will communicate during your holiday. Don’t simply leave this up to an automated message. Your clients and contacts will feel more comfortable if you personally vouch for your proxy.
Make your employees pretend you’re not there. In a perfect world, your employees are prepared for whatever may come. But impersonal training programs can only go so far. Your business is unique and as such won’t fit neatly into the mold of the latest online seminar’s instructions. While classroom and online learning are certainly beneficial, prepare your employees by letting them fail and having them come up with solutions to problems without your direct input. In short, make a habit of having your employees work problems out independently so they are empowered and confident to do so when you aren’t around.
Plan ahead. It’s one thing to plan ahead in the office but you must also consider how your time will be spent on vacation. If you plan to make it a working trip, make sure your hotel or rental has high-speed Internet and that you will have access to all the tools you’ll need on the road. Entrepreneur and blogger Cody McLain advocates hiring a virtual assistant. This is an individual that can handle mundane tasks such as answering and fielding phone calls that your employees may not have time to tend.
Keep the finances afloat. Before you head out on your grand adventure, look ahead to your finances and try to anticipate any issues that may arise. Make sure you have enough cash to cover operational expenses including payroll. If cash flow is stagnant, you may want to consider small business lending to keep things moving before and during your time away. Don’t feel guilty about taking a loan and a trip at the same time. Sometimes, you have to get away in order to be more effective.
Block off time for questions. If you absolutely must be available during your vacation, designate specific hours that you can be reached. Make sure to account for time differences and limit your contact to one or two employees. If possible, schedule this for first thing in the morning so you can shut your computer down, stick your phone on silent and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that your business isn’t going to buckle simply because you’re at the beach.
If you want to continue being an effective leader, you must learn to step away from time to time. Without at least a few days of R&R, you risk burning out before your flame has had a chance to be seen from afar.