The Guilt-Free Guide to Not Working Over the Holiday Weekend
The 4th of July is upon us, and small business owners everywhere are glancing at their calendars fearfully, wondering if this long weekend will really be a weekend for them.
While being self-employed has dozens of perks, it’s also got some notable drawbacks. One of the most pronounced is that it’s tough to step away from your desk, office, or email. Even when everyone else seems to be doing it.
What if you miss something? What if someone needs something? These are common fears, and most small-business owners feel compelled to check-in, even when they’re supposed to be checking out for a long weekend or vacation.
With that in mind, here’s your complete guide to tuning out, and ditching the guilt, this holiday weekend.
5 Efficient Ways to Prepare for a Work-Free Weekend
Heading to the lake with family and friends or tucking in for a staycation full of household chores? These five tips will help you avoid putting in extra hours when you should be relaxing.
1.Schedule Your Emails in Advance
Got emails that need to be sent this weekend? Spend some time scheduling them ahead of time. A tool like Boomerang for Gmail is a simple, yet invaluable, way to save yourself the hassle of manually writing emails, and give yourself permission to step away from your computer this weekend.
To use it, just install the Boomerang extension, open a new window to compose an email, and select “send later” at the bottom of the screen.
From there, you can choose when to send the email, and schedule recurring messages, if you wish.
2. Create Your To-Do List NOW
To prevent overwhelm when the long weekend comes to an end and you find yourself back at the desk, craft your to-do list today. Use this list to organize the daily and weekly tasks you’ll need to complete upon your return, and anything that’s not critical enough to be done today.
This helps you stay organized and reduces anxiety over the long weekend. Keep in mind that you’ll need a bit of time to re-integrate, so you don’t want to schedule early morning meetings or calls for your first day back.
3. Define Some Boundaries
If you don’t take this time to set boundaries, you’ll just end up working the whole weekend. Instead, set mental and verbal boundaries, and let the people around you know what they are. While it’s fine to check your email once or twice while you’re out (if that’s what you’d like to do), you should make it clear that you’ll be out of the office, away from the phone, etc. etc.
You may want to set up an auto-response for your business email, or change your company’s answering message for the weekend to make it clear to people that you’re out of the office, and let them know when you’ll return. This helps manage expectations and streamline your communications. It also frees you up to enjoy the heck out of your holiday weekend!
4. Consider Leaving Your Phone
I know, I know: your phone is your camera, and all that. What if the kids do something cute or there’s an emergency? When you’re a small business owner, it’ important to remember that your phone is also a connection to work. As such, many people don’t ever feel fully unfettered until they leave it behind. With this in mind, leave the phone at home (as long as you’ve made it clear to customers and employees that you’ll be out of reach) when you head out to the lake with your family or take a scenic hike.
If you want to take pictures, bring along the old point-and-shoot. As long as someone on the trip has a phone, you can call for help in an emergency. What’s more, you’re likely to feel blissfully unattached and free, which allows you the time and space you need to recharge and head back to work with a fresh state of mind.
5. Give Employees the Power to Make Decisions
Out-of-office times are ideal for giving employees more responsibility. This weekend, set yourself free by giving your employees or managers the power to make decisions without you. Take a tip from Tim Ferriss and put a cap on their responsibility. For example, they can do whatever they need to assist a customer, as long as it costs the business less than $100.
Not only will you be relieved of having to intervene, but you’ll also give your employees a morale boost by showing you trust and value them. Chances are, many of them will rise to the occasion in ways you hadn’t previously thought possible.
Smart Tips for a More Relaxing Weekend
While it’s tempting to burn the candle at both ends as a small business owner, this is also a recipe for burnout. When you give yourself permission to ditch the guilt and recharge during a weekend away from your computer, office or phone, it’s easier to head back to work in a stress-free and innovative mindset, which is great for everyone involved.