How to Take a Real Vacation this Summer

Jun 26, 2015

Today is the last day of school here in the Forsyth household – the girls get home at noon and we are officially in summer mode. Our first stop is a week at the family cabin in Montana, and yes… I will be 100% unplugged during this time.

I’m curious – are you taking a vacation this summer?

I remember a study* I found a few years ago that stated half of entrepreneurs do not take summer vacations. And for the 52% that do, 71% of you are taking work along – checking email, keeping up with clients, quick calls with your team. Yipes!*

Now I don’t know about you, but I did not get into business to have to work 52 weeks a year… in fact, part of the reason I started my business was to be able to take time off when I want to (and not have to ask someone’s permission to do so). And when I take that time off I don’t want to bring my work with me – doesn’t feel like a real vacation if I have to do that.

Even the kids who work at McDonald’s get at least 2 weeks off per year! (they do here in Canada) I believe as an entrepreneur you should be able to do the same.

That being said, I get it… if your business is reliant on your presence then it can be REALLY hard to unplug for a week or two. It might seem downright impossible but I assure you it isn’t.

I’ve helped hundreds of people take unplugged vacations – everyone from solopreneurs to the owners of multi-million dollar businesses – and I have yet to find someone that wasn’t able to do so within 90 days.

How to Take a Real Vacation This Summer (100% Unplugged)

First, pick a date no further than 90 days out and put a down payment on the vacation – book a flight, put a non-refundable deposit on a vacation rental home, make plans with a friend to meet them somewhere. Do something that you can’t back out of (or at least, you can’t back out of it without paying a price)

Next, let your team and clients know that you will be taking this time off. If you give enough notice you and the team will be able to plan accordingly, and they can also hold you accountable to take the time off! (It’s harder to back out when you’ve already let people know your plans)

Plan for how work will be done while you are away. There are generally two categories of tasks – stuff that needs to be done and stuff that can wait until you are back. We might think that the world will fall apart in our absence but 9 times out of 10 that simply isn’t true. Yes, there are some things you will need someone else to cover for you and it is your responsibility to train someone to do those things in your absence.

The final and most important step – cut yourself off! The #1 mistake people make on vacation is keeping the lines of communication open. Leave your laptop at home. Don’t have email delivered to your phone and turn off any “pings” and notifications. The temptation to stay “plugged in” is strong – dare I say even addictive? – and if you aren’t diligent in shutting those channels during vacation time you may find yourself being sucked in! (No one can resist the ping! I know I can’t…)

At the end of the day it is simply a choice – you can either decide to stay trapped by your business or you can take a week off.

I know my decision, how about you?

** Looking for more great tips on how to run your business so it doesn’t run you? **

Buy a copy of my award winning book The Entrepreneur’s Trap and you will get a seat in our first ever CEO Summer School. I’m going to be covering the 3 hottest topics for busy entrepreneurs who are tired of the grind and looking for a better way to work (it’s hot stuff!)


* Stats from Small Business Trends


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