For many entrepreneurs, the lead-up to a holiday can be a period of heightened pressure and stress.
A backlog of work brings longer days; forgotten actions disturb sleep and before long plans are afoot to smuggle the laptop and mobile phone into the luggage. Worse still is the attempt to move the holiday by a day or two or in extreme cases, shelve it altogether.
Here are five structures to put in place now to ensure your holiday is just that.
1. You've planned your holiday, now plan your businessIf only we spent as much time planning our business as we do our breaks.
Holidays are often planned many months in advance, this is particularly true for our summer holiday. In reality, we have ample time to minimise the effect on our business.
Start by listing the basic functions of your business, those that crop up regularly. These may include bookkeeping, ordering, invoicing, marketing and so on.
Next, list the actions that will be necessary for each function prior to your break, clearly indicating when the action is necessary and who is responsible. Draw up a detailed list covering each step with dates to commence and add to the list as new items come up.
When we write actions down and have them become part of a plan, they can quickly diminish as a cause of anxiety.
2. Finishing unfinished business"Unfinished business" describes all those things that have built up over the preceding months. Tasks that for one reason or another have not been completed.
Membership renewals, computer upgrades, follow-up letters, stationery supplies and the like.
Once these items are listed, plan steps to handle them. Put them into priority order and be realistic about what you can and cannot do before your break.
3. Set up systems --- Establish boundariesAs the holiday gets closer it will be time to give extra consideration to how things run in your absence.
This may include basics like: phone and fax answering, email response and post box clearing. Additionally, you may need to consider work delegation and external project management.
Whatever the issues, it's likely you'll need to draft some procedures if only for your own peace of mind.
4. Security checkHave you backed up your computer? Is your office as secure as it could be? Where are you most vulnerable and how can you combat this weakness?
5. Plan your homecomingThe last part of preparing for a holiday is preparing for your return.
Clean and tidy your office from top to bottom before you leave --- there's nothing like walking into a fresh office after a holiday.
Enjoy your break!