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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 20 June 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

The Art of Time Management: Part 2

How to Take Time Off (Because, Yes, You Deserve It)

It’s no surprise how hard small business owners work. According to a recent Gallup poll, 39% of them say they work over 50 hours a week. Longer hours working mean fewer hours resting. To avoid burnout, you must set aside time to recharge. Studies have proven that productivity drastically drops at the 49-hour mark. So at that point, you’re not doing anyone any good by continuing to work. You not only deserve the time off, but you also need it.

business owner and family roast marshmallows at night

To celebrate the first day of summer today, let’s carve out some R&R for you by using the following tips.

Plan Time Off During Slower Periods

Slower times will depend on your business or industry but are ideal for taking vacations. You can start planning for them if you already know when these quiet periods occur. Set that time aside in your schedule and make a plan for completing work that’s normally due during those days earlier. The simple act of putting vacation time on your schedule will automatically motivate you to use your time more efficiently.

If you feel as though there are no “slower periods” in your business, ask a trusted friend or co-worker when they think the ideal time to get away might be. When running a small business, it’s easy to default to “there aren’t any slow times in my business. I’m always busy.” Simply getting someone else’s perspective might shed light on a good time for you to take a break.

Delegate Now

Since your work won’t stop while you’re away, you should plan how things will get done while taking time off. If you have employees or can outsource work to contractors, decide what types of work you can delegate and to whom on a regular basis so that work can continue seamlessly in your absence. This will make things more manageable for you and could strengthen your company overall.

Communicate With Your Clients & Employees Ahead of Time

When preparing to take time off, the key is to communicate clearly with clients and employees what the expectations are while you’re away. With your staff, be specific in laying out guidelines for what work is required and how communication (if any) will take place. If you don’t want to be contacted unless during an emergency, clearly list what constitutes an emergency.

Also, communicate with your clients ahead of time, letting them know when you will be away and who to contact in your place. Communication with your clients will be essential to ensure you can enjoy your time off.

Have Backup for Your "Backup"

Having plans in place is crucial, but what will give you even more peace of mind is appointing someone to be “on-call” as your backup if anything needs immediate attention. If you work alone, this may not be possible, but if you have an employee you trust, it’s good to put that person in charge and let everyone know who that person will be.

Define Boundaries for Your Clients and Employees, But Also for Yourself

Taking time off to unplug might mean turning notifications on your phone off.  This time away is as much about “detoxing” from technology as letting those emails and phone calls wait. If you’ve prepared for it, your business really can make it without you for a few days. Setting up clear boundaries and abiding by those boundaries will give employees and clients comfort and assurance.

You can plan for a vacation and enjoy time away from your small business. It just takes a little pre-planning and organization. Enjoy the summer!

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