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Avoid Summertime Burnout

Wow – it seems like the weather just gets warm, then before you know it, the summer is over. Have you taken or at least scheduled your summer vacation yet? I know it’s hard to even think about taking time off when you’re running a business. You may feel that you don’t have enough hours in the day to get your work done, much less have time to be away from it; but if you don’t, you may find yourself headed towards summertime, small business burn-out.

If you run a business or work for yourself it’s critical that you take a breather, and the summer is a great time to do it. Here are some tips on how to make sure you take that vacation and reduce your stress around doing it:

1. Plan vacations well in advance.
In fact, I often recommend to my clients that they plan their time off for the year. This way you can schedule deadlines and work flow around them. If you don’t schedule time off in advance, chances are there will always be things that come up and prevent it, so you’ll never get around to it.
2. Admit that even YOU need some time off. Just because you run a business doesn’t mean you’re super-human. After a vacation you’ll have more energy, be able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
3. Give yourself permission to relax. Be a great boss (to yourself!) Great bosses know that everyone performs better when they’ve had time off.
4. Have employees? Help them prepare for your absence. Assign tasks, responsibilities and goals to work towards while you’re away.
5. Develop contingency plans so that everyone will know what to do if something goes wrong in your absence, without having to contact you.
6. Let your customers know when you’ll be away. Check in with them several weeks before you go to find out if they need anything, and to let them know who to contact when you’re away. Do you work solo? Attend to their needs before you go, and let them know when you’ll be back. This way you’ll not only save yourself a lot of stress, but develop better customer relations (and possibly book some more sales in the process.)
7. It’s not a vacation if you’re hooked up to your smart phone or other technology. Turn them off! Change your outgoing message or set up an auto-responder to state that you’re away and the date of your return. Resist the temptation to check messages. Let employees, colleagues and customers know you’ll be out of touch. If you don’t, you’ll never truly be able to relax – and isn’t that what vacations are for?
8. Focus on tying up loose ends before you go. Make sure you’re taking stock of your business situation in the weeks leading up to a vacation so that you can avoid last minute emergencies.
9. Pace yourself – don’t leave things for the last minute! Take action on what needs to be done before you go. Make a list, prioritize it, and schedule time to do it so you won’t have to pull an “all nighter” before you leave.
10. Create an action plan to get into gear upon your return. It may take a day or so to get focused again once you’re back, especially if you’ve really let yourself relax and get away from it all. That’s OK! Make a list of all of the things you’ll need to do once your vacation is over and you’ll be more efficient upon your return.

Small business burn-out is rampant in this fast paced, competitive world. What’s the hardest thing about taking time away from your business? Join the conversation below:

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