“What are your summer plans?”
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Every June, I pose this very question to my business coaching clients. And about 65% of them go on to tell me about the trips that they have planned, the cruises they have booked and the weeks or months that they plan to step away from their business and spend time with their families. It’s one of my favorite questions to ask during a coaching session, and is a great way to highlight strategic depth and growth and celebrate victories together.
But for many business owners, this question highlights a problem area in their business that should be explored.
Do you get enough time away from the office?
If not, what are the reasons behind that decision?
Are you the only one that can do payroll? Are you the only one authorized to pay bills? Do you make the work schedule every single week? Are you the chief firefighter and spend your days putting out customer service fires? Whatever it is that is keeping you from taking time off, must be addressed. Over the course of the next week, write down every single thing that you do during your work day and then look at ways that you can begin to train others on your team to take over those tasks. While you won’t be able to delegate 100% of your workload, you should be able to hand over a significant portion of it to enable yourself to take a short break.
And make yourself a goal. Perhaps a long vacation isn’t the cards for you this summer, but it should be on your agenda for the following year.
What if your weekly task list ends up being pretty light? What if you have done a good job of delegating and cross training your staff on key tasks within the business, but still have trouble stepping away? You aren’t alone. Lots of small business owners worry that no one will be able to manage their company properly while they are away, and that fear leads to anxiety and stress.
My suggestion would be to start slow and wean yourself off of going to the office every day. Begin by taking a half day once a week, then when you are comfortable with that, try taking a week off….and then two….and work your way up to month. It won’t happen overnight, but as you see how competent your team is at handling things in your absence it will get easier.
Being an entrepreneur has more highs and lows than a roller coaster at Disneyland and for many, that feeling can be addictive. So, when you force yourself to step away from the office and unwind it can be difficult at first to detox from the thrills of running your business. But there is a very real cost to running on all cylinders (both on your health and your mental well being) and taking time off will make you a better leader.
So, what are YOUR summer plans?
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