Have you ever taken a vacation, only to spend hours cooped up in your hotel room answering emails and taking unscheduled client calls instead of relaxing by the pool or playing with your kids?
Or have you been putting off a much-needed break because you dread the inevitable pileup of work in your inbox that you’ll have to tackle when you get back?
Perhaps you’ve taken a few days off work, unplugged your laptop, and even deleted your email app off your phone, only to find your mind keeps wandering back to all the work you’ll have to catch up on when you get back. You can’t seem to shrug off that feeling of dread and you end your vacation feeling even more stressed, anxious, and worried.
If any of that sounds like you – I have good news. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Taking time off can be stress-free, relaxing, and productive. In this article, I share my tried-and-tested, 8-step process to reduce worry and anxiety and help you feel calm, confident, and empowered as you plan and take your well-earned break!
To best support and nurture yourself and to give you ample time to prepare, try starting these 8 steps at least 2 weeks before you head out on vacation!
Step 1: Plan for Your Time Off
Nope, I’m not referring to hotel bookings or reservations at that fancy restaurant you’ve been wanting to check out (although that’s something fun to plan for too!). Being productive even when you’re on vacation really comes down to planning how you will manage your time away.
My biggest tip is to plan for an extra week in addition to the time you will be away. It sounds unusual, but it works! Clearing off your schedule and having all your content prepared for an additional week after you return from your vacation gives you a WHOLE week to ease back into work mode after your time away. It also gives you buffer time to prepare for the coming week(s) - I’m talking about lots of time to sort through your inbox and perhaps even explore your creativity! Doesn’t that sound much better than having to hit the ground running after some restorative time off?
Step 2: Organize Your Tasks & To-Do’s
Once you’ve figured out how much time you need to plan for, you can start organizing your tasks and figuring out your to-do list for when you are away and the one additional week. If that feels overwhelming, start by listing out all your recurring tasks. What are some things that have to get done every day/week/month to keep your business running smoothly?
If you’ve never made a list like this before, it can feel like you’re spending a lot of time on this upfront, but trust me - it is 100% worth it! Some common recurring tasks wellness entrepreneurs often have include:
Writing email newsletters
Posting on social media
Preparing and releasing podcast episodes
Responding to emails
Scheduling and registration
Recording classes or workshops
Writing and publishing blog posts
Following up with clients
Once you have the list of recurring tasks, take a look at your calendar or agenda to see if you have any one-off tasks to be completed within the time frame of your vacation, such as renewing an annual subscription or meeting a deadline for a grant application. Add those to your list too.
Step 3: Schedule Time Blocks
Next, schedule time blocks in your calendar to do the tasks! I recommend scheduling at least three time blocks in the couple of weeks before your time off and three more in the week after you return. Setting these time blocks for at least 2 hours each (if not more) works for me and gives me time to take breaks in between tasks, but you may find a different system works for you.
Step 4: Plan What Gets Done, When
Now that you’ve scheduled time blocks to prepare for your time away, you need to assign tasks to execute during that time. Whether it’s batch creating content or automating systems to run smoothly while you’re away, you have to plan when everything gets done and assign it to a specific time block.
You might use one time block to create social media posts, and another to write your email newsletters. Assign another time block to automate your emails to current clients or for your membership program. As you’re doing this, don’t forget to plan out the time blocks after your vacation! My favorite thing to do is setting aside a time block for catching up on emails, planning my upcoming marketing strategies, and perhaps even taking some creative time.
Step 5: Work in Batches for Recurring Tasks
One thing that will help you be ultra-productive during the time blocks you’ve set aside for specific tasks is working in batches. If you are working on creating social media posts, work on creating all your social media posts for the entire week or month. If you are writing email newsletters, try writing out a few of them at the same time.
Batching reduces cognitive strain on your brain because you’re not switching between different activities. It not only allows you to remain focused and be super efficient with your tasks but also saves you a lot of time!
Step 6: Automate with Technology
I’m so glad we live in the 21st Century because now we can use technology to automate tasks in our business! All of the content you created for the time that you will be away (and the week after!) - automate its delivery or performance using software.
Set up your email newsletter to be sent automatically on a specific date via your email software provider. Automate your class content to publish on a future date. Schedule social media posts ahead of time using software. This saves you a ton of time and ensures that you can continue your business marketing efforts and serve clients while on vacation. Remember to set up an auto-responder away message for your email inbox too!
Step 7: Follow the Plan
This step is absolutely critical to being able to stay productive and stress-free while on vacation - stick to the plan! If you’ve followed Steps 1-6, you have a solid plan that is going to help you continue to serve your clients, stay visible (especially on social media!), and run your business while you’re away, so follow it as closely as possible.
It may feel like your weeks are incredibly full in the few weeks before you leave on vacation, but it’s all going to help you feel calm and confident that your business is running smoothly even while you’re taking time off - so stay the course!
Step 8: Enjoy Your Vacation
Ready for the best step my Light Worker Friend?! It’s now time to kick back, relax, and enjoy your vacation! You’ve earned it - and with this 8-step process, you can be sure that everything keeps chugging along in your wellness business as you refresh, rejuvenate, and reinvigorate yourself to serve your clients even better!
Want to learn more about how best to manage your time so you can take stress-free time off and stay productive? Join me in Time Management 101, a mini-course designed especially for wellness entrepreneurs, where you’ll learn how to time block, manage your projects, and prioritize so you have more time for the things that matter (like self-care!). Find out more here.