Taking time off is key to running a successful business.

By Stuart_Selbst
In MSP Coaching
May 8, 2012

This week I read an article in MSPmentor written by my friend Joe Panettieri titled, “HTG Peer Groups Dallas: How’s Your Home Life?” It really got me thinking about my life, travel and time away from work.  As an MSP Business Coach, I travel a lot for my work. Because of my job I spend a good amount of time away from home working with the partners that I coach or attending conferences.

Those of you who follow my personal Facebook and Twitter, also know that I love to vacation in Hawaii with my wife Loree. As a matter of fact, Loree and I are leaving this Saturday for a week-long vacation to Kauai, HI to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Loree, I love you for these 5 amazing years.

As I began to clear my calendar for vacation next week, I started thinking how important it is for business owners to take vacations and truly disconnect from work for a few days or even a week or two. As F. John Reh says in his About.com Management Blog, “Studies have shown that it takes four days away from work before your body can make your mind understand that the stress has been removed and you can begin to recharge your batteries.”  Most of the time owners of really small businesses tell me that they can’t take a vacation because they’ll lose business. I don’t agree with that excuse because if you never take a vacation the stress of constant work will lead to burn out which can only have negative effects.  Where will your family, let alone your business, be if you end up sick, hospitalized or worse yet, DEAD?!

Here are a few tips to help you disconnect while on vacation.

1.       Plan, Plan, Plan: You need to plan for your time away from the office. This may mean bringing in a contractor or two to help with the work flow. Better yet, dig into your network of IT friends and ask them to watch over the “shop” while you are away.

2.       Communicate: You need to communicate to your clients and vendors that you are taking a vacation. This allows you to finish up any projects for the clients and make sure that everything is covered with your “fill in” people.

3.       Disconnect: That’s right, turn off the cell phone, leave the laptop off and stay away from the internet cafés. There is nothing so important that you must deal with it right away. Especially if you have a plan.

4.       Schedule: If you must work, create a time schedule for when you are going to reply only to critical emails. If you stick to a schedule you will still be able to enjoy time off with your family and everyone will know what to expect. Personally, while on vacation, I check emails once a day. I generally do this early in the morning. To me there is nothing better than enjoying a cup of Hawaiian coffee and the beauty of the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean.

Life is short people. We need to make the most of it with the ones we love. Take some time off even if it’s just stealing an afternoon, a day or a weekend here and there. Make the time to stop for a minute and enjoy the beauty of your life and appreciate what you have around you. Time is a precious commodity that we can never get back no matter how much money we make.

All the best in success.