If you are a like a lot of business owners, taking time off can slip so far down your to-do list that you look up in August and realize you've forgotten it completely. But there is still time to take a last-minute trip this summer. Here is some of our best expert advice for how to make the most of your summer vacation, from how to prepare for your trip before you go to unplugging while you're gone and how to readjust when you get back.
Re-set your body clock before taking off. "Try
to advance or delay your sleep a few days before going away so
that when you leave your circadian clock has already started to
adjust to the change," says Vancouver-based naturopathic doctor
Melanie DesChâtelets. Advancing your bedtime by an hour or two if
heading east, and delaying if heading west can help you adjust to
the new time zone easier and have you falling asleep
Read More: 6 Ways to Reduce Jet Lag Naturally
Set up clear systems for employees to
Brian Miller, the chief operating officer of AdviCoach, a provider of business coaching to small companies says business owners often struggle to unplug because they worry about the day-to-day operations like keeping the books and counting the cash registers at night. He suggests you "franchisitize" your business by following the example of franchises and creating an efficient operating system that employees can easily follow while you're away. Create a document that outlines exactly what to do across a range of scenarios, so employees can take action on their own. "The general rule is that 95 percent of the time the workers should be able to figure out a solution without consulting the owner," he says.
Read More: 5 Steps to a Stress-Free Summer Vacation
Set aside a specific time each day when you will check in
with the office.
Aside from that pre-determined time, let go of work.
Read More: Most Americans Work While on Vacation, Report Finds
Arrange to stay connected ahead of time if you are
traveling outside of the country. Before you leave,
purchase a Skype number (starting at $6 a month for three months)
and forward your incoming calls to your Skype number. Calls from
Skype to other Skype accounts are free, regardless of location.
However, there's a fee for calling mobile or landline phones.
Purchase Skype credits in advance (they never expire) or, if
you're going to be out of the country for several weeks, consider
getting a one month subscription for the country/countries you'll
Read More: How to Save Money When You Can't Unplug on an Overseas Vacation
Tackle email in batches. Decide how much time
you can devote to email and break it up over a few days. "Many
people have the impression that email is work, but real tasks are
more important," says David Troy, CEO of 410Labs, a Baltimore,
Md.-based tech firm that designs software to increase
productivity. You'll get through your emails quicker if you sort
by sender instead of by date. This will help you find and tackle
important client emails first. Troy says to also prioritize
one-off messages over conversation threads because it might
indicate a fresh inquiry from a potential client. And if you
subscribe to daily mailing lists such as deal-of-the-day or news
sites, quickly batch and delete old emails that are no longer
Read More: Taming Your Post-Vacation Inbox
Take two-minute mini-vacations. It's just as
important to ease back into your work routine as it is to pace
yourself when returning to the gym after a few weeks off. "When
you go on vacation, you're changing your pace," says
Toronto-based business and life coach Joshua Zuchter. Taking
short breaks throughout the day to clear your head or go for a
short walk can make the transition to your work routine less
aggressive. "Otherwise, whatever [stress-relief] you gained from
your vacation is lost in the first day," says Zuchter.
Read More: How to Maintain Your Post-Vacation Bliss
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