It is well-known that a third of SME business owners take fewer than 10 days off per year and on average work at least 50-plus hours per week compared with the average of 37 hours for employees.
Even those who do manage to take a holiday often keep in touch with their offices and would not dream of turning off the phone.
This is hardly likely to please your family or whomever you are holidaying with, but have you thought about the damage it may be doing to you and your business?
Why you should consider turning off your phone on holiday
The most obvious reason is that you need time to relax and recharge your mental batteries. You are hardly likely to be able to do this if you are constantly attuned to the possibility that you need to be available to answer questions by phone or email.
Many business owners also suffer from a need to be constantly in control of every aspect of their operation and find it hard to delegate to others in their organisation. This means that too many are working in their business rather than on it and may be missing out on opportunities and ideas for growing and developing the business.
This focus on maintenance instead of strategy can lead to stagnation instead of growth.
This relates to the main reason why you should consider turning off your phone. You can relax properly. An uncluttered brain thinks subconsciously and can bring a perspective to problems. It affords you the time to reflect and through the process of reflecting on past successes and failures you come up with new ideas for the future.
You really ought to have the systems in place and sufficient back up to allow yourself to switch your phone off without anxiety. You should be able to reassure yourself that the business will continue without you, albeit only for a few weeks.
If however it really is impossible to be completely cut off from your business while on holiday, there are several things you can do to better manage that contact and carve out time to relax, refresh and reflect.
You can engage a call handling service that you can brief properly so that they can handle your calls in a way that only critical ones are passed on. Another option is for you to receive a daily report with details of anything that needs your urgent attention. You might schedule a daily 15-30 minute time slot to deal with anything that emerges knowing you can switch you phone off outside here calls.
If using a virtual assistant/ call handling service is not right for your circumstances you can identify someone to whom you can delegate to operate a similar system. It may be that this will also help to identify areas that can be perfectly well handled by another member of your team in the longer term and free you from the need to control everything as well as from the fear of letting go of at least some control.
If you are planning a holiday and are willing to risk turning off your phone for most of the time it is wise to make some simple preparations such as informing all clients that you will be away and giving them the name of a person to contact with anything urgent in your absence. You will also need to explain to that person what they need to know about any current issues clients are facing.
Consider such preparations as business continuity planning just in case you need to take time off. What happens if you are ill?
If you really want to, you can resolve to take your break and relax reassured that it will be in the best interests of your business to do so.