Today’s guest post, by financial writer Jim McKinley, offers several practical suggestions for business executives on how to avoid stress while taking much needed vacations.
I think some of the same suggestions can be applied to middle managers as well — and even some freelance writers!
As the winter holidays approach and visions of Caribbean or Mexican beaches beckon, here are Jim’s tips for truly getting away from it all (or at least most of it):
By Jim McKinley
Business owners work under a great deal of pressure and consequent stress. Business fortunes can change in the blink of an eye, and a deal you’ve sweated over for months can come to nothing.
Waiting it out can be highly stressful and can overwhelm even the most experienced business professional, considering how much is at stake. Sometimes, getting away from it all becomes a dire necessity, and you’re left to debate whether you can afford the time away given work responsibilities.
Knowing that all is well in your absence, and that you can trust employees while you’re out of the office, can make all the difference.
Here are a few tips that may help you feel better about taking a holiday for a week or two.
Spread the word
Sometimes you have to get away just to recharge your batteries and indulge in some long overdue self-care.
Talk to your clients before leaving. Make sure they know when you’ll be back, who will be standing in for you and who your clients can reach out to with questions and problems.
It’s likely they’ve already met some of your staff so they may be familiar with your assistants, but take the time to make sure all clients know what to do if they need help.
Reassure them that there will be no gap in activity in your absence and that work will continue as normal.
If there’s a particularly important deal in the offing, or if there’s a problem on the horizon, it may be worthwhile to move your vacation back a couple of weeks. Otherwise, be certain that your clients know they can get in touch with you if necessary and how.
Who’s carrying the ball?
Make time to meet with support staff, collectively, before your departure.
Be methodical and go over each situation that’s pending so everyone knows what action may be needed while you’re away.
This is a necessity if you’re to enjoy time away; otherwise, you could be sitting on the beach staring out at the waves, wondering if a scheduled conference call will take place if no one back at the office has been left in charge.
Make a list of items that need to be handled in your absence and go over them with everyone, labeling each according to priority and what needs to be dealt with right away.
Many people go on vacation leaving strict instructions that they’re not to be contacted unless there’s an emergency.
While you’re certainly within your rights to establish similar rules, it’s in the nature of business to remain in contact with the office while on vacation, periodically, as deals progress and if problems arise.
Nevertheless, your assistants should be well-informed enough that they can handle pretty much everything in your absence.
You may choose to assign individual assistants to specific clients so there’s no confusion as to who’s taking care of whom. Consider setting up a daily check-in call with staff at a prearranged time of day.
Take time each day you’re on vacation to be still, clear your thoughts and meditate so you’re able to disconnect from work for that day, can enjoy vacation activities and be completely present for your family.
Reconnecting with loved ones is, after all, an important part of many vacations, so it’s important to to detach from work as much as possible.
It can be difficult to flip back and forth between vacation and work, even if only briefly, while you’re away on vacation.
Making careful arrangements before leaving is an essential step in the process; it’s really the best way to ensure that you’ll enjoy your holiday and derive the mental and physical benefits you deserve and need from the experience.
Author bio: Jim McKinley is a retired banker who loves explaining financial issues; see his website moneywithjim.org.
You might also like Jim’s previous guest posts: