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How to actually relax and enjoy your summer vacation

Do you dread taking time out for vacation?  Do you struggle to relax and unplug during your break?  Taking time out for hard-charging entrepreneurs can be challenging.  Here is the definition of the word Vacation: A period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.  

Here are 6 tips to actually relax on your next holiday.

1 – Bookend your vacation calendar with a day of white space

If you have flexibility in your scheduling, put a white space day the day before you leave and the day after you return.  There will always be unexpected things to tend to before you depart or upon your return.  If you are scheduled right up to 5 pm on the last day you will find you will end up working late the night before you leave.

2 – Identify your back up person

For some of you, this is your admin assistant, your assistant manager or someone like this.  For others, you need to form a partnership so you have backup coverage while you are out (you reciprocate for them).  This is critical so that no client work gets dropped while you are out.  And there is a high chance that you will be interrupted on your snorkel cruise in Maui.

3 – Set expectations with key clients/stakeholders

Phone or send a note to those key people whom you interact with regularly or whom you expect would need something while you are out.  Let them know you are taking time for your family and that you have a backup person to help them while you are out.  Most clients understand and unless it is mission critical, will not interrupt you or even reach out to your backup person.

4 – Actually stop working

Remember the definition of vacation above.  Yes, stop working.  Your kids or your partner want your time and deserve it.  Stop the e-mail stream on your phone.  Disengage your slack or skype feed.  If you have the right team in place and a backup person, there is very little that you actually MUST attend to during your vacation.  This is about you letting go!  Do it!

5 – Actually get some rest

We all want to go everywhere, see as much as possible, and make the most of our 1 or 2 weeks away however you actually do need to rest.  Schedule downtime in your vacation itinerary.  Everyone including your kids and partners need a quiet day at the beach or the pool.  Schedule several into your agenda.

6 – Have a re-entry strategy

The best thing I have ever done was take that white space day after my vacation and work from home or the cafe, not the office, and work through the e-mail inbox and message streams.  Schedule 1:1 meetings with your direct reports or assistant and have them give you the rundown on the business activities while you were gone.  Book client meetings and calls lighter than normal on your re-entry.  Glide back into full steam, do NOT book back to back meetings starting at 8 am on day #1.

Remember, everyone needs to take time out to rest and re-charge.  You will come back with a clear mind, rested, energized and more productive which means efficiency and more profit.  And if you haven’t taken your vacation yet, stop reading this and book it now.