Health + Wellness

Tips for Taking Time Away From Work (Even if You’re an Entrepreneur)

As the owner of a small (retail) business, the idea of taking time off can be scary for me. I had grown accustomed to overworking, and that actually became the source of more stress and anxiety. A few years ago a mentor of mine suggested I start taking Fridays off to give myself a bit of a break. That time was life-changing so I wanted to share that (and some other good tips) for taking time away from work.
November 2021
Tips for Taking Time Away From Work (Even if You’re an Entrepreneur)
Tips for Taking Time Away From Work (Even if You’re an Entrepreneur)

If I’m being honest, when my mentor suggested I stop working on Fridays, I found the idea preposterous. But, I gave it a try anyway and it has totally changed my relationship to work. Having one day during the week to myself gave me time to catch up, take care of personal things, and have some free time that is different from the time I spend with my husband and kids on the weekends. I can even use that time for some self-care like a massage or hair appointment if I need it! 

While implementing this no (or low) work Friday has been really helpful, it’s not the only time I need away from work. Here are a few more tips that can be really helpful when planning to take some time away from work: 

1. Plan your time off work and put it on the calendar 

Whether you want to take a long weekend or a full week (or more) away, put it on the calendar and let your team know about your plans. This way any big meetings or other commitments can be planned around your travel commitments. For my husband (and business partner) Leo and I, we plan our time out of the office around big things like photoshoots and special projects that need our attention.

2. Tell your team and colleagues how to get ahold of you in an emergency, and brainstorm together what constitutes an emergency

The better you plan for emergencies, the less likely they are to happen (or you will have put a plan in place for someone else to handle them). You might tell your direct reports to call your cell phone or text in an emergency so you don’t have to constantly be looking at your email to make sure everything is okay. It’s also a good idea to talk about what is an emergency and what can wait until you return in advance. Understanding the things your team thinks are emergent ahead of time may also help you give them ideas that empower them to handle things on their own until you’re back. 

Tips for Taking Time Away From Work (even if you're an entrepreneur)
Tips for Taking Time Away From Work (even if you're an entrepreneur)

3. If you are going to work on a vacation, set time limits 

For longer trips or larger blocks of time away from work, you may really need to check in with the office – and that’s ok. Try to set time limits for yourself and let your team know when those times might be. For example, you could block an hour or two every Wednesday morning to check email and quickly check in with anyone who is covering for you. This way, if they need your help with a quick decision or some information only you have, they know when and how to get it. If you’re noticing this check-in time keeps getting longer and longer - set a timer for yourself and as soon as the timer goes off, you need to wrap up what you’re working on and put the computer (or cell phone) away.

4. Ease back into work 

On your first day back at work after a trip or a few days off, try to work from home or at least keep that first morning free from meetings or calls you need to prepare for. This will let you catch up on urgent messages and feel less overwhelmed coming back into work mode. Whenever possible, it’s also helpful to schedule an extra day off after your trip so you have a day for laundry and catching up on home life. 

As I have taken more time away from work, I have come to appreciate both my business and my life more. I think as a society we reward hard work and hustle culture and that can be a detriment to people who are consistently striving to overachieve. It can leave us feeling like we always need to be on and working when really that isn’t the case. 

Taking time to throw on some of your favorite Printfresh pajamas and read a good book or watch a movie, and planning real vacations is an important (and enjoyable) part of having a career and life you love.

How will you take time away from work in the coming weeks or months? Tell us about it in the comments. 

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