How to take time off (a guide for entrepreneurs)

3 Minutes Read

How to Take Time Off (and actually rest)

I am heading out of town in a few days for a retreat. When I was a yoga and meditation teacher, I used to joke that vacations and retreats were easy because I couldn't take my work with me.

But running a company is a different thing entirely.

In case you are in a similar position in your business or you just want to learn how to stop "checking-in" on your work while you are supposed to be on vacation, here are some of my tried and true tools for unplugging.

I won't lie, some of these tools are structural changes to your business that probably won't happen overnight, but there are some you can get started on today that will help you immediately if you want to take this weekend off and feel rested by Monday.

1. Know what you might worry about and deal with it ahead of time
As a Master Coach I work with my clients not just on the bones of their business and life but also on their mindset. But all too often I see people try to hold themselves to a standard of perfection of what their vacations or retreats "should" look like and then create a lot of stress for themselves when they are worrying about work.

Instead of telling yourself you shouldn't be thinking about work while you are out of the office, instead turn your "worries" into your COO.

Make a list of all the things you might be concerned about while you are on retreat or vacation and take care of them as best you can before you leave.

For instance this week, I did all the little things I knew would follow me on retreat: I sent out reminders to my clients that I would be away, and how to get any technical help they needed. I followed up with a contractor we are going to work with on a big internal project and will shut my computer one last time after having a meeting with my co-founder and husband, Steve, to make sure he feels supported at work and at home to have an amazing week.

2. Ease into your downtime

If you are running a business, it is hard to flip a switch from hands on in your business to completely unplugged. I have watched a lot of clients over the years try to rush their work and put in extra hours the week before they are taking time off and then they land in their vacation exhausted and disoriented (I have done this many times too).

My suggestion is to start easing into your downtime sooner. Think of it like switching to a new time zone. Most people have a hard time flying across the world, but if they prepare for it and start easing in a few days before, the transition is a little smoother.

It could be as simple as taking an afternoon off to walk or rest or practicing locking your computer in your office on the weekends. Ease into it like it is a practice worth learning and your extended vacations will be more relaxing.

3. Know yourself and use that information

The first two tools above require some planning.

And if you are serious about creating a business and a life that includes vacations (where you aren't checking your email or low key working the whole time) you should absolutely apply to join The Vision + Process Mastermind.

However, you can also build in some ways to outsmart your impulse to work while you are away according to your own personal knowledge of how you tick.

Some of the little hacks that are popular with my clients and some that I use personally:

Get out of your day-to-day life to rest.

Who this works best for: people who always find "work" waiting for them in their world. If they aren't working in their business they are working around the house, chasing project after project. Go somewhere where the project is you resting :)

If you are travelling, make the experience as luxe as possible and start your downtime the moment you leave (think, first class plane ticket, 5 star hotel etc.)

Who this works best for: people who feel that spending money on a beautiful travel experience would be "spoiled" or missed if they worked through the whole thing.

Don't bring your work tools with you (that's computer on the trip, or if you must bring it, delete all work related apps and social media, lock your email so you can't check it)

Who this works best for: people who have strong systems in place and/or a team they trust to manage their business while they are away.

Reward yourself for NOT working. Make it a game.

Who this works best for: people who love a game and want to untangle from their work brain in a way that is playful and not rigid. Challenge yourself to go a day without checking email. See if you can make it two and "compete" with any other business owners you are on vacation with for a fun prize or title of "Most Relaxed CEO." 

I hope these ideas inspire you to get started building in more downtime into your life.

Remember, while business is a spiritual practice, it isn't your whole identity or your reason for living. Retreats and vacations remind you that you are more than the hats you wear in your business, so treat that time with love and gratitude.

And by the way this is the last call to apply for The Vision + Process Mastermind here. You will learn how to build a business that affords you beautiful vacations along with the mindset tools to enjoy them inside this program