How to Take a Vacation…Without Your Computer
As a small shop it’s all hands on deck all the time. Taking vacations (or even small breaks) is crucial for your mental health and avoiding burnout. It is definitely easier said than done however. With. asmall team everyone is doing their own thing and it may seem like only you can do certain tasks. While that may be true, there are still ways you can set up your business and prep to take that much needed and much deserved time off.
This post will focus on your marketing efforts but can easily be translated to any type of priority you have on your plate.
Make a list of your tasks!
What is on your plate that only you can do? Be honest with yourself. As leaders there is a difference between what only you can do and what you’re unwilling to let go control of. For example, only I can host the podcast, it would be weird to have someone else fill in. But, I could have someone else help out with shownotes. I’ve created a system and they have examples to look at so they could do it themselves.
If you’re struggling with this part, do a time study for a week. Track everything you do and figure get real with where you’re spending your time. Is it on the right things? I understand you’re super passionate about your organization and want to put your best foot forward. You can’t increase your impact, let along take a vacation, if you don’t let some things go!
Group your tasks
Now that you know what you have on your list, group similar activities together. When you do similar tasks you are more productive with your time. You will also be able to figure out the systems you need to ensure that work can go on while you’re out of town.
To start building out your systems look at tasks that you’re repeating over and over. Figure out ways to automate those tasks. This alone will free up some space in your day and make it easy to separate during vacation.
Remember how you figured out what tasks only you can do? This is where you also offload things other people on your team can help with. You might have found in this exercise that several of you are working on similar elements in the organization. Lumping those together will help you make your entire crew more effecient.
What you should be left with are the tasks that only you can do and what you’ll need to pay attention to in order to take that much needed vacation.
More than likely you aren’t deciding to take a vacation tomorrow. Get intentional with your tasks so you can have all your elements lined up and ready to take a break. Batching tasks helps with getting more done with less time. This is a good practice to have in general regardless of if you’re planning for some days off or not.
This helps you get ahead of schedule, especially with marketing. We try and record and edit 2-3 podcasts at a time. That means that my editor can work on episodes all at once, I can create the show notes all at once, and we can create the promotional materials all at once. Then I have 2-3 weeks worth of content and only have to do it 1-2 times a month instead of weekly. It also helps with building better quality with less errors.
When it comes to leaving with your mind at ease, this also means that you’ll plenty of content ready to go for while you’re gone. Just as importantly, it means you won’t be scrambling to get things done as soon as you get back.
You can use this philosophy with so many different types of tasks! When you’re not prepping for a trip, approaching your tasks in this manor means that when “emergencies” come up, you’ll have the space in your schedule to handle them without sacrificing your core job responsibilities.
Leave resources behind
At the end of the day things will come up. There is no way you can plan, prep or determine all the things that might come up for your team. If you and your team have systems in place for where things live then it will be easier for them to find the information they need while you’re gone. If each employee keeps things in their own place organized in their own way that makes things confusing.
Start building out your knowledge base so that there is a reference place to be able to find things, and understand procedures for how things get done.
To start building this out, begin with your individual tasks that only you can complete. Write down the step-by-step actions you take to accomplish that task. This isn’t a quick process, so make sure you build out time in your week to continue to build this tool. Each employee should do this for their own tasks. This will also ensure you are consistently executing the tasks necessary to reach your goals.
At the end of the day, being able to take a vacation, and a break from work, is as much a mental exercise as it is anything. Mentally prepare yourself to cut ties. Communicate with your team what constitutes and emergency so they know when to reach out (if at all). Set your out of office so people know who to get in touch with if they need something. Even better – a few weeks prior to your time out of office, put the dates in your email signature to start to prep people.
Then it’s on you to not check email, voicemails, etc. You have to let go and unplug or you won’t fully relax. Things might not go 100% the way you want them to, but I promise you your business will not crumble to the ground.
If you put these simple steps into place you’ll be in a great place to take that summer vacation, long weekend, or stay cation, to refresh your mind, body and soul!