If you, like many people, will be headed over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house — or anywhere else for that matter — you may stress out at the idea of stepping away from your business for days or weeks at a time.
Thankfully, we live in an era of technology and being out of the office doesn’t have to cause a catastrophe for your business. Here’s how to reduce that holiday stress, enjoy time with family and friends, and keep your business up and running.
Plan Ahead. Simply giving your customers a head’s up that you will be unavailable (or have limited access to email if you can’t go cold turkey) will eliminate much of the email you’d get during that time. Your customers are busy with their own holiday plans, so don’t expect too much activity while you’re away.
- Take care of any assignments or projects that are due ahead of time.
- Ask your clients if they need anything before you leave. (Do this at least 2 weeks out.)
- Spend extra time now clearing your plate for your vacation.
Get Your Apps Ready. The great thing about technology is how many wonderful mobile applications there are. You don’t even need your laptop to stay on top of business. Queue up the apps that you use so that they’re easily accessible on your phone.
- The Freshbooks mobile app lets you invoice people, track time, and accept payments on the go.
- The Insightly mobile app lets you take your CRM wherever you are, so you can keep the pulse on what’s happening with your customers.
- The Google Calendar app helps you stay on top of meetings and deadlines.
Carve Out Time to Work. If you absolutely need to check in with work, plan ahead of time when you’ll do it. Maybe it’s the early hours before the kids are up, or after they go to bed. Limit your time and stick to it. Check in, put out fires, then put your devices away.
- To manage their expectations, let your family know you plan to spend some of your vacation working.
- Schedule work ahead of time so you don’t miss out on family get-togethers or events.
- Find somewhere quiet to work so you can focus and finish quickly.
- Set up automatic task reminders in your CRM. You'll be notified when critical tasks are waiting so you won’t miss a deadline no matter how busy you are.
Put Your Marketing on Autopilot. Your marketing efforts can go on without you while you’re enjoying eggnog and Christmas carols. You can write several blog posts in advance and schedule them to publish while you’re gone, and you can even schedule social media updates. Spend a few hours lining everything up so there’s no evidence that you’re not working hard, even when you’re skiing the slopes.
- Use a social media dashboard like HootSuite to schedule updates on all platforms.
- Use Twitterfeed to automatically share your blog posts through your social networks.
- Set up your email marketing software to automatically send emails while you’re out.
Know When to Say No. It’s far too easy to check your work email with a touch to your phone, but do you really need to? Technology has made us all too accessible at times, and it’s up to us to take control again. If there’s not a reason you need to make yourself available to your staff or employees, turn your vacation autoresponder on and go enjoy your family!
- Sign out of your work email from your phone so you’re not tempted to access it.
- Turn off social media notifications.
- Let go and enjoy your time off!
You’ll never be satisfied trying to work and enjoy your vacation at the same time, so aim not to work. It’s a challenge for us Type A personalities, but it’s completely doable.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.