I've been reading a lot of stories lately extolling the virtues of taking a real, honest-to-goodness, turn-off-the-cellphone and lay-down-the-laptop, unplugged vacation . It's good for the soul, they say.
But if you're like most entrepreneurs, the thought of preparing for — and recovering from — a week's vacation is enough to land you in the cardiac unit before you even pull the overloaded minivan out of the driveway.
So, for those of you who have to settle for a work/vacation hybrid, (I believe we're calling it a "workation " now) here's a more practical guide to getting in some R&R while still keeping an eye on your P&L.
On holiday – For starters, plan your vacation around a holiday weekend. That way, you automatically get three days during which you don't have to worry about anything. The hotel and airfare might be a little more expensive, but it's worth it. (If you own a beachfront taco stand or a liquor store, please ignore this suggestion as you'll likely be needed on a holiday weekend.)
Vacations all around – Consider giving your employees an extra day off after that holiday weekend. They'll be delighted and it's one less day you need to worry about keeping the home fires from burning out of control.
Midsummer day's download - You know you'll be checking your email while you're on vacation, but when you do it can make all the difference. Rather than trying to do it first thing in the morning, why not wait until the middle of the day, when the rest of the family is ready for a break and no one will mind if you sneak off and do a little work? That way, you're not keeping everyone waiting first thing in the morning when they're anxious to get to the beach.
Point made – You know you'll be getting phone calls from employees and customers while you're away, but that doesn't mean you can't cut back a little. Appoint one employee as a point person through whom everyone else needs to go. Have that person call you once or twice a day with a list of what needs to be dealt with. Who knows — maybe they'll even solve a few problems on their own.
Social media MIA – If you're worried that your absence will leave a gaping black hole in your social media presence , consider setting yourself up with a social media management tool like Hootsuite before you go. You can schedule posts to go live days in advance. You'll be racking up the "likes" and the re-tweets faster than you can down the Coronas.
Know thyself – Before you go feeling guilty about working while you're on vacation, maybe it's time to admit defeat. The fact is, you probably like working. As much as that reality may annoy your partner, the truth is, you probably wouldn't own your own company if you didn't love to work. So, rather than trying to become something that you're not for one or two weeks a year, how about just being a little less the "work you" and a little more the "fun you"? That's the real secret to work-life balance, anyway, right?
Jeanette Mulvey is the managing editor of BusinessNewsDaily. She has written about small business for more than 20 years and formerly owned her own e-commerce business. Her column, Mind Your Business, appears on Mondays only on BusinessNewsDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanettebnd or contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.