Kids are out of school, beaches are filled with sun worshipers, and projects all over North America are being held up because someone’s on holiday.
Yes, it’s summer (aka: vacation season) and the livin’ is easy. Or is it? I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer here, but as great as vacations are for those who have paid time off, it can be rather frustrating for the rest of us.
So how do you take a little time to enjoy the summer, yet still be productive so your business continues to run smoothly? Depending on your situation, it can be a bit tricky, but it’s definitely doable.
I’ve been self-employed for more than twenty years now, and during this time, I’ve learned a few coping mechanisms that allow me to be productive, still have a little fun, and survive vacation season.
When there are people in your space. If you work from home and have a nice little routine going, nothing can knock you out of your productive groove like having a house full of people. Especially when those people are on vacation and you’re still trying to work. It is essential, in this case, to set firm working hours. If you don’t have a separate office in the home (like a room with an actual door), consider going to a coffee shop or a co-working space when others are hanging out at your house, so you can work without distractions. If you have family visiting from out of state, make sure they understand you’re working and will visit when you’re able to give them your time and full attention. Setting boundaries BEFORE they arrive is key. If you can do that, you’ll be all right.
Eek no childcare! If the people in your space are your own young children, consider hiring a local teen to come in and help mind the kids for a few hours a day. Make sure the helper is aware of your working hours. If there’s a coffee shop nearby, use this time to leave the house (and the children) to get some dedicated work time in. This may not always be possible, given your specific circumstances, so even if you must work from home, having a paid helper on duty can help reduce some of your responsibilities so you can still be productive. I know this isn’t always ideal, as your children will have a hard time not running to you when they know you’re home, but it’s better than having to be the sole care provider while you’re also trying to work. Explain to your children that when teenage helper is at your house, it means you’re invisible.Yes, you can stay productive and still have fun during vacation season!Click To Tweet
When you’re traveling away from home. Nobody wants to work while on vacation, but sometimes, that’s just the way things happen, and you don’t have a choice. If this is the case, all you can do is try your best to modify your work hours so you’re not missing quality family time. This may mean you’ll need to get up early and get some work done before others are up for the day. Or stay up a little later to get things done. A great trick here is to try and be productive whenever there’s any downtime. Maybe that’s catching up on paperwork during the plane or car ride (if someone else is driving, of course), or making use of some other chunk of time during which your presence won’t be missed.
With all of this in mind, you might consider another strategy so you can actually relax with your vacationing loved ones; like working extra hours to get more things done leading up to the holiday. If it’s possible for you to dedicate an extra hour or two a day to get a jump on your work so you can breathe a bit easier and join in on the fun when everyone’s off having a great time, it might be worth it!
Of course, my best advice would be to hire a team of professionals (like ours!) to look after business for you so you can enjoy a (relatively) stress-free vacation with your family and friends. I am now able to take time away from work without worrying about it, because I have a fabulous team in place that knows what needs to be done, and how to do it so nothing is missed while I’m away.
How do you handle vacations as an entrepreneur?
Also published on Medium.