I get it, the very concept of taking vacation changes when you create your own enterprise.

Suddenly there is no-one to take over when you close the office door behind you – and often there is no office door to close, if you work from home. In this case, taking holidays may not be as relaxing as you wish.

I was lucky enough to have survived a couple of periods that came close to burn-out before becoming an entrepreneur. I say lucky, because thanks to those experiences, I then knew that when I would start out on my own, I would need to take care of myself from the very beginning. Hence I decided to accord myself five weeks of uninterrupted vacation.

With these super tips, I have managed to find again the real purpose of holidays – even though my own little corporate baby is never really forgotten.

1. I batch and plan before leaving and let things run on autopilot

Batching a certain type of work is one key to my productivity. This means that in my calendar there are days which explode with interviews and days when I just sit home (often in my pyjamas) and write, write, write. And before activating my ‘out-of-office’, I schedule blog posts, social media content for not only during my absence, but also for a few days after my return.

2. I formulate my out of office message very carefully

I have a friend who does this: when she goes on vacation, she leaves an out-of-office message that explains she’s away and asks the sender to resend their message after her return. The tip might be brilliant, but which entrepreneur is really ready to take a risk of repelling a potential client just by not being available? Not me.
So I do this instead: I explain in my out-of-office message that I am on vacation and do not read my messages as I regularly do. Instead, I ask people to call me or leave me a text message so I can call them back. I often also make it clear that I am available for new projects after my return.

3. I remove the email app from my iPhone

Once, I had to go to extremes and delete the email app from my phone completely. I just wasn’t able to let it go otherwise. In the ideal world, I would like to be able to check my messages only every other day or so, but who knows, maybe I’ll manage to do that this year?

4. I get a head start when coming back

You know, how the last days of vacation, the thought of work starts creeping up? You start looking at your calendar and ironing your blouses. When that happens, I know it’s time to open the laptop and start looking at emails, task lists or social media statistics. Nothing too heavy or stressful, but small things that will ease me back into the work and get a small portion of it done beforehand.

5. I accept I will come back to chaos

There was a time, when I genuinely thought I could control my returning to work and make it as stress free and peaceful as possible. It was when I did not have my agenda filled with projects and meetings. The price of disconnecting during my absence is light chaos on my return, and I am working on accepting that as a part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

I wish you a peaceful winter holiday! Enjoy the sun / slopes / family time / exploring museums or whatever is on your agenda this year.

I really hope these tips help you – because even entrepreneurs deserve a re-energizing, peaceful winter vacation. Let me know in the comments below or on LinkedIn or Twitter – do you take vacation or is your work following you everywhere you go?

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