I put this together for my own benefit but thought I would share this with you. Have I missed any critical ones out? What would you add to this list?
Leave your desk as you would like to find it!
Don’t leave any important tasks sitting on your desk. Finish them before your holiday, so you don’t have the distraction of a nagging to-do list in the back of your mind. Clean out your inboxes, voicemail, and physical paper piles, too, so you can come back to work with a clean desk and fresh attitude. That makes the world of difference.
That “organised chaos” you see before you makes sense now but will it make sense when you’ve been away for days or weeks!? In the past I have run JUST GET IT DONE days for myself and my clients to boost productivity by working through a to-do list as a group and being accountable to the group. It works wonders.
Turn on automated email replies.
This gives you some cushion in case you can’t get to your email right away during your time off. (Also, why should you be checking email at all? You’re on holiday!) It’s tempting to “forget” to do this, but it’s important.
There are three reasons small business owners tend not to set a holiday responder:
- They don’t want to make people feel like they have to wait for a response.
- They fully intend on checking in every day.
- Their particular system (or combination of email systems) does not allow it, as in my case!
Of course, the logic here is flawed:
The world will not collapse without you in your absence.
The whole point of a holiday is to not have to check in for a few days.
The people likely to send you e-mails either need your direct attention, or they need immediate attention. Let them know when you’ll be back and ready to address their concerns, and give them the contact info of someone prepared to handle things in your absence. Nothing kills the magic of “getting away from it all” like giving yourself the extra pressure of needing to check in throughout the day. I’ve challenged myself to a 2 week digital detox while I’m away on holiday (except the books I’ll be reading on my Kindle App!) so if you don’t get a reply from me this summer, you know why!
3. Prepare your social media presence, blog, and newsletter and schedule them to go out in your absence.
If you run an online business, social media and blogging are a big part of your daily and weekly activities. To keep the ship running while you’re gone, populate your social media accounts by scheduling tweets and Facebook posts. Sure, you won’t be able to reply to comments on your unplugged holiday, but at least it won’t look like you dropped off the face of the earth.
You will also want to populate your blog with posts to stick to your regular schedule. Same holds true for your newsletter. In fact, preparing a month’s worth of posts before I left was a big boost to my holiday excitement, because I knew I’d have one less thing to think about while I was on the sunny beaches of Greece.
There is no greater feeling than lying on a beach and your phone pings telling you that you have a sale! (Oh I forgot, I was supposed to turn my phone off!) You are transported back to the days when you were paid to be on holiday in a job! But better.
In order for your business to run without you, you must have systems in place. Systems allow your business to run on autopilot; this is essential when you’re not around!
Technical systems: These are tools that automate tasks, like links that drive traffic to a glitch-free shopping cart to manage e-product sales, that trigger automated mailings delivering said product.
You know a system works well when you feel assured everything that needs to be done will be done effectively, efficiently, consistently, and on-time every time. Refine, implement, and test your systems before you go on vacation. If you don’t know where to start, you probably need to know about the Predictable Income and Profits Progamme!
5. Come back a day early
Or, more accurately, tell everyone you’ll be gone for longer than you really are. This gives you an opportunity to get home, collect your bearings, and start digging through your inbox and post without anyone expecting an immediate response. (The last thing you want at 9:00 a.m. on your first official day back in the office is to be bombarded with phone calls and voicemails from people expecting you to be available right now.)
Your systems are running flawlessly. Social media and your blog are ready to go. Now it’s time to let your business do what it’s been prepared to do: run without you.
Are you ready for that? Are you going to be able to stop checking your email every two hours, taking those quick peeks at Twitter, and responding to every Facebook issue yourself? That’s the challenge I’ve set myself for 2 weeks. I’ll let you know how I get on!
And let me know how you cope with being a business owner on holiday, what tips would you give?