By Deborah Sweeney
As you read this I am currently floating over the Pacific Ocean, nestled safely in one of many canopies that dot the deck of a pristine, white cruise ship. I’m also probably watching my boys hanging out with Mickey Mouse, and later I’ll likely be enjoying a nice dinner in the company of Donald Duck. (Who doesn’t love the Disney Cruise line?)
And, hopefully, I’m not checking my iPhone every three seconds, my heart gripped with an unexplainable fear that some terrible fate has befallen my company. I’ve owned my own business for a while now, and though I’ve learned to step back and let things run their natural course, it still feels odd to be separated from such a large part of my life. I remember when I first took some time off work after becoming CEO – how convinced I was that something terrible was going to happen without me there to smooth out all the little wrinkles. While you’ll never be able to completely shake off the apprehension when you’re OOO, there are ways to prep your office so that your vacation is actually relaxing.
Trust your managers and your employees.
I seriously doubt you’ve hired anyone who you wouldn’t trust, so when you start to feel a little anxious, you need to remember that you’ve hired people who know how to take care of the little mini-crises that plague everyday business. Even if your business is too small for management, if it is just you and a couple of people in a cramped office, those few employees have watched you successfully deal with your business’s problems everyday. It’s a good idea to ask them to create a broad record of what they’ve worked on while you’re gone so you’re able to stay in the loop on what they’re up to. I’ve hired employees that came with horror stories about bosses who would actually spend hours on the phone with the office, doling out orders like a general to their troops while on vacation. Don’t be that type of boss – it’ll cause friction in the office, and you won’t ever be able to relax. Remember how proud your employees have made you in the past and let go, trusting them to handle everything for the next week or so while you’re out.
Write out your solutions.
Like I said, your office has probably spent plenty of time watching you tackle the problems that naturally arise when running a business. But if you’re really worried about a particular scenario, or scenarios, write them down along with a solution. You’ll have a nice, easily accessible document that you can then forward to everyone in the office. Even if the solution is as simple as ‘put it in a red folder and place it on my desk,’ having a plan in writing that your employees can consult in lieu of you takes a lot of your mind. You can rest easy knowing that the worst case scenarios will be handled in a way that you’d like them to be, and your office won’t be running around in a panic if something does go wrong.
Leave your phone in your room.
Technology really is a wonderful thing – I can be thousands of miles away from my office, and my wonderful little iPhone will put me in contact with anyone I want to talk to within seconds. But life’s little conveniences have a way of morphing from electronic allies into little metallic jailors that keep us from getting out and enjoying our time away from work. I would never recommend that you leave your phone at home – I’d probably go insane if I didn’t have some connection to the outside world. But you should, at least, leave it in your room before heading out and enjoying the day. This way you can still be contacted in an emergency, but you’re also able to wean yourself off of the hyper-connectivity that defines our lives.
Relaxing is pretty hard when you own a business, no matter how big or small it is, but separation aside, this is your time to unwind and focus on yourself and wherever the destination may take you. Never forget that the more vacations you take, the easier it gets! Bon Voyage!
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and Trademark & Copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.