How to Unplug and Enjoy Vacation

by Leo Pound on May 11, 2015

Vacation | Pound Consulting | Leo PoundHow do you unplug while on vacation? Do you ever truly lose touch with the office? Will your business survive without you for a week or so? I was prompted to write this post after reading an article written by Barry Moltz for smallbiztrends.com. You can read the article here. It’s a great blog with many tips you can use to help unplug and enjoy time away from the office. I want to expand on his tips. The reason I am writing this is twofold.

Reason #1:

I want to address the question of, “What if you are a business owner and have no staff?”

Reason #2:

I find it hard to unplug, until I implemented a few strategies. You’ll read about them below.

What if you have no staff? My wife (Sonja) and I both run businesses so getting away on  family vacation poses some challenges. The business I run does not allow me to have someone cover for me, or takeover any of my responsibilities to my clients. My job as a consultant is very hands-on. The businesses I work with typically do have hundreds of employees, so that helps that I can leave a list of things that each team member needs to do. But, I have no staff. So what do I do when I plan a vacation? Here are three things in order us to unplug;

Strategy One: Plan

Me: It’s key that I know when and for how long I will be out of the office. At least a month before actually departing, I am focused on what needs to be done for each client to not notice my absence as much. I am very aware of deadlines, meetings and projects in the works.  I can make lists for clients and their employees and set expectations for while I am away. Each team member should clearly understand what their responsibilities are and what needs to be completed while I am away.

Sonja: She handles all of my marketing.  What does she do with any marketing and social media projects while we are away? Simple. She plans ahead. She uses tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite and Buffer allow her to schedule all social media posts. She uses WordPress scheduling to post and schedule my blogs and MailChimp to have my monthly newsletter released at the right time – even if we are away.

Strategy Two: Communicate

Me: I typically plan to have my cell phone on for an hour a day. I also check emails each morning. I let all of my clients know when I will be available (noting any time difference) and offer them that hour or so per day as a lifeline. It’s also helpful to set goals for a client’s employees. Let them know exactly what is expected of them while you are away.

Sonja: She communicates with me long before we leave. I know exactly what I need to write about for my next blog and when my deadlines are. We talk about any upcoming events or marketing materials that we are working on.

Strategy Three: Anticipate

Me: Most businesses run in cycles. What do I mean by this? The simple explanation is to use a tax accountant as an example. If you were a tax accountant, it probably wouldn’t be a relaxing, unplugged vacation if you went away anytime in Q1 or April. By anticipating when your busy time is and planning a trip outside of that season, you will likely have more time to relax and truly enjoy being unplugged. What if your business doesn’t have a consistent, cyclical busy season? You should be able to take a look at your business trends, activity, numbers and projections to determine when the best time to be away is.

Sonja: The big issue for Sonja to anticipate is any unforeseen technical issues. What happens if my website goes down? What if my social media sites are hacked? What if I have a potential new client that needs my CV and other materials immediately? She uses Dropbox. It is a great tool to organize any important files or documents she might need while we are away. She also alerts a fellow website designer that is an admin on my website. This person “covers” for Sonja if any website issues come up.

Certainly, if a crisis should arise while I am away, I make adjustments in my schedule. I try not to do this by planning, communicating and anticipating anything that might come up while I’m away. Not all plans are foolproof, so it’s important to be flexible. However, as tough as it is, taking a vacation really does recharge a person. It’s necessary in order for you to function at your needed level and to be happy. 

How do you unplug? Share your strategies below.

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Leo Pound

As Pound Consulting Inc.’s founder and principal, Leo Pound is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as building partnerships, maintaining relationships and providing value to all clients. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Leo has spent most of his career helping companies around the world.  He has worked with many multi-national companies – including ones based or operating in China, Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan and more. He has in- depth knowledge of operational and strategic planning, M&A, forecasting and budgeting and cost containment. Leo is a hands-on professional who is sensitive to the pressures and challenges facing a troubled or rapidly growing company and their management team.

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