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Welcome to episode 18 of The Grace-Filled CEO Podcast. I’m grateful you are listening in because this episode is going to empower you in taking time off in your business. I am not just going to advocate that you do it, but I’m going to tell you how to do it well so you can come back refreshed and NOT overwhelmed. We’ve all experienced the post vacation or post-time off overwhelm where we hop back into the inbox and it's overflowing with questions and updates and we are unsure where to start. Or maybe it's logging back into your project management tool and seeing ALLLL of the notifications. Truly, the day after vacay is ROUGH. And dare I even say it's even tougher as an entrepreneur because in some cases we already feel guilty for taking the time off and the pressure that everyone needs something from us just creates the perfect storm of overwhelm.
I have just the thing for you today to make sure this doesn't happen. Or to at least set yourself up for success so that when you start to feel the pressure and guilt come in, you can find peace in this process.
When was the last time you took off time in your business? Like really took time off. I’m not talking about Labor Day or taking off for the Fourth of July, because technically it's a holiday and everyone else has the day off so you decide, “oh I’ll take the day off too”, except you check your inbox because you know you will be behind if you don’t.
Whose toes did I just step on? I definitely stepped on my own! It's truly so hard to feel comfortable taking time off in your business. Especially if you are in your business full time and you are an income-earner for your family. There is more pressure there. I want to acknowledge and validate that because that’s a real feeling.
BUT you will not be who your business needs you to be without time off. Without some time to reflect, rest, and realign you just simply cannot show up as the driven, energized person who started the business to serve and make an impact.
There are a number of reasons why you would want to take time off in your business. Maternity leave, sabbatical, vacation, summer break with your kids, healing from a medical procedure, and more. Regardless of why, the HOW always gets us tripped up. How will my team operate in my absence? Will they have everything they need? How can I keep leads coming in? How can I keep things going in my business while I’m out if I am really the only one in my business?
These are all very valid questions but I want to try to simplify this for you.
Instead of all of those questions, start with one. “What has to be true for me to take off from my business?”
Be mindful that to take off a week would look differently than having to take off a couple of months. Both are important and life will demand them sometimes so think through which one best applies to you right now. What has to be true to take off X amount of time?
After you’ve answered that, keep asking the same question. So if you ask yourself the questions “what has to be true to take off a month in my business,” let's say your answer is…
- My team has to have a plan for what they will do
- What has to be true for my team to know what they will do?
- I need to save X to keep paying myself while continuing to pay my team (this is applicable if you are the one who primarily does client work)
- What has to be true to be able to save X amount?
- I need to have a plan for stepping away without being pulled back in.
- What has to be true to be able to step away without being pulled back in?
The answers to these questions will uncover a lot. They will expose where you aren’t feeling super confident and probably put a spotlight on all the reasons why you didn't want to take time off in the first place. But I want to encourage you to keep pressing forward and do the good work of planning ahead so that when life demands time off you aren’t just systematically prepared, but your confident that you can do it and not stress yourself out. Make sure you also listen to Episode 17 about financially preparing for time off in your business.
Have a plan and tracker.
Next you want to outline the plan and build a way to track the status of things. There is nothing worse than taking time off in the middle of a big project or maybe just in your business which is in itself a big project (just ongoing!) and come back feeling like you are out of the loop on everything. It makes you feel out of control of the one thing you need to have control of. Can you tell I am speaking from experience here?! HAHA!
Having the right plan, people and system in place will make you feel confident about stepping out for a time.
If you have a team, a couple of ways to do this:
- Outline the plan in a Google Doc. Brain dump your ideas and needs before you loop in your team. Make sure you make note of who will run payroll, pay invoices, check in on things with password-protected areas, etc.
- Have a central location where tasks are located.
- Have a database where people can comment on where they last left something off and the status of what they were working on. This database can link to the actual task or be in your project management tool for easy access. Clickup would be great for this.
- Establish priorities for team members. What do they need to work on first?
- Create a time, place and space for them to meet without you. Creating a company culture where team members can support one another is GOLD. I would argue it's one of the most powerful things that can make your business successful. So you can cultivate this by empowering your team to support one another.
- Choose a team member to be the point of contact in case of an emergency. Because it’s your business and your livelihood, you need to be in touch in a protected capacity. Whether that be through text or Voxer or even just email, choose this person wisely and empower them to not reach out unless it's an emergency.
- Identify what an emergency is.
- Set up a recurring task for your team to update the tracker. This tracker will be what you come to when you return. Not your inbox, not your slack channel, not the dark holes of online business, but an actionable and clear status view of how things were left.
Now if you don’t have a team, decide what you want and what’s possible to continue in your absence. For example, if marketing is a concern, schedule social media posts, schedule emails to go out, keep your ads running, etc.
Do you want people to sign up for something?
What workflows do you need to build to support this?
What applications can help you automate some of these things?
If you are unsure what these things could be, look into my favorites.
- Zapier: connect multiple apps together
- Dubsado: sets up automatic scheduling, follow ups and workflows. (Get 20% off!)
- Flodesk: set up automatic emails to go out (Get 50% off!)
Decide what can keep moving and look into automations and workflows that cna do the work for you.
Go to one place for all notifications or turn them off completely.
This one is pretty clear. Remove yourself from tasks, turn off your notifications, and choose the one channel you will be available one for emergencies.
There is no need for you to be on Voxer, popping into Slack to see how things are going, or in your email to browse around. That's like saying “oh I'm going to get on Instagram for that link that someone sent me” and 30 mins later you’ve been in a dark hole of reels. Again, speaking from experience.
You can do this, I believe in you! Turn off the notifications, and choose the one you’ll be available on.
If setting yourself up for success to take time off in your business feels like a hurdle that would just be easier to avoid, a strategy session might be a good fit for you so I can come alongside you and help you plan out next steps.
Ok friends! That's it for this episode. I hope you found it helpful and I hope that if you walk away from anything, you walk away with the idea that this is possible for you. Maybe even more than that. It's essential. Reach out if you have any questions about it.
- Book a Strategy Session
- Get 50% off of Flodesk
- Get 20% off of Dubsado
- Get ClickUp
- Ep 17: Be Financially Prepared to Take Time Off in Your Business with Madison Brown
- Jillian Dolberry’s website