As we approach the holidays you may be wondering how to take time off from your business without losing momentum.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are notorious for not taking enough time away from their businesses, but we all know that over-working actually leads to serious overwhelm and exhaustion.

In today’s unpack it, let’s look at 8 things you can do to prepare for a vacation!

1. As soon as you decide on your time off, be sure to block it off on your calendar.

There’s nothing worse than finding a call right smack in the middle of your time off – or worse, when you’re schedule to be in the middle of a flight. Be sure to consider time before and after your vacation as well to allow prep time or re-entry time. This may seem frivolous but it will help you get the most of your time away.

2. Check in with clients about any outstanding projects so you can plan appropriately.

The more notice you can give the better so no one is counting on you to execute or offer support in their business while you’re away.

3. Check in with your team to ensure any necessary coverage is available.

While you’re away, there are likely things your team can continue working on with some proper planning and preparation. Don’t leave this to the last minute in case there are things you need to work on or create for them before you step away.

Alternatively, this could be a good time for everyone to have a break! So consider if it makes more sense to give your team time off as well! Many businesses find it more useful to simply shut down between Christmas and New Years for example because so many of their customers are also away.

4. Prep your marketing for the time away.

If you don’t want to go radio silent, plan ahead to get your marketing prepped and scheduled before you leave. This doesn’t mean you have to do “business as usual” marketing, instead a more minimal content plan would work fine. For example, rather than creating new blog posts you could highlight older, evergreen content or posts that have been especially popular in the past. Or, you could have a team member take over your blog for a post. Whatever you decide, figure out what needs to be created or set up before you leave.

5. Prepare for any expenses or invoices that’ll need attention while you’re gone.

This is a simple task that should be pretty quick but it’s also important to ensure smooth sailing. For example, you don’t want to leave your team hanging because you didn’t arrange payment in advance. You also don’t want to deal with a suspended software account that prevents project work from continuing.

With most things on autopay, there may not be a lot to actually do here. But, you’ll enjoy your time away a lot more if you know your invoicing and expenses are handled.

6. Empower your team to handle as much as you’re comfortable with — and perhaps even a bit more!

Time away is often a good time to experiment with having your team step up. Consider what parameters or guidelines you can give them that would allow them to make decisions you normally would. If there’s expenses that pop up, give them a method of deciding how to proceed. For instance, if they need to buy a $25 ebook to help facilitate the completion of a project, can they? Your answer here would likely be different if you’re talking $25 vs $250 or $2,500 and that’s fine! Let them know what you’re comfortable with and what needs to wait.

Similarly, consider things like refunds or onboarding a new client. What can they do on their own? What should wait? What should prompt an interruption?

7. On that note, how can they get a hold of you?

If you establish clean parameters for when to reach out, you have to be sure they know how – especially if you’re disconnected from the normal means they use to reach you. The last thing you want when you get back is to find out you lost out on a lucrative deal because they couldn’t reach you when they tried.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be reachable. But if you’ve told them when they need your input or permission, you need to be sure there’s actually a way to get it.

8. Wrap up early!

As tempting as it can be to work until the last possible moment, be sure you leave enough time to actually complete the tasks on your to do list. You don’t want to leave anyone hanging if you can help it or delay your departure for one last deliverable that just could have been planned for a bit better.

Similarly, create a wrap up checklist to make sure any final items get handled so you can leave with the assurance that you’ve done what you need to.

While taking time away can be a bit more complicated when you run your own business, it is just as critical for your well-being. Running yourself ragged will generally lead to burnout which will certainly cause more disruption than stepping a way for a week or two.