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Quick Note on Taking Time Off

Interestingly enough, I’ve had conversations with a few of you over the past couple of weeks about taking time off. Some of you have lamented that you simply don’t have time to get away with your family like you used to when you were “working for the man,” and some of you are telling me how guilty you feel taking time off while jump-starting your new venture.

When you become an entrepreneur, you have to look at time off differently. Here is why….you’ll drive yourself crazy if you don’t.

Back in the day, when someone else signed your paycheck, you could walk away from your “job” and take time off. You may or may not have to field a phone call or two, but generally, there was someone else around who could help you out. Or you could simply ignore your phone for a week. Nothing burned down. There were no real emergencies.

So, to those who say “I don’t have time to take a vacation,” I say shame on you. If you want it badly enough, you will make it happen. You started a business for crying out loud. You did one of the hardest things ever. I think you can figure out how to take some time off.

To those who hate leaving town because of the payback when you get home, I understand (I was out of town for 10 days between 4/18 and 5/15, and I feel like I just caught up). But I want to offer some ideas for you:

  • Don’t look at this as an all-or-nothing decision. There’s a middle ground here that will satisfy your need to leave town and unplug, and keep your family from feeling neglected.
  • You can take time away with your family, frolic in the waves with your kids, play golf, and eat high-priced seafood. But you can also spend an hour in the morning, before everyone wakes up, checking in and making sure your clients aren’t feeling neglected. And you can do the same thing at night after everyone goes to bed after a long day in the sun. Just make sure to set expectations with a really nice email auto-reply, letting people know you’re not checking email throughout the day but only two times. We understand. We think you need time away, too.
  • Also, don’t set your expectations of what you can accomplish while at the beach too high. You’ll set yourself up for failure if you do. Have modest expectations, guys. Don’t try to launch a new product line from your beach chair.

I have news for you:

Until you can hire someone to duplicate EXACTLY what you’re currently doing, you will never be able to totally unplug. But you don’t have to despair. Strive for little victories, grasshopper.

If you’re like me, hiring that person right now isn’t possible. So, until then, we need to give ourselves a collective break, take a deep breath, and remember that we’re all human. You HAVE TO UNPLUG to recharge, or you’ll run yourself into the ground. And when that happens, you’re failing everyone, especially yourself.

Have fun on your trip!

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