Entrepreneur’s Guide to a Working Vacation –

From Flickr user dental ben:

Last month, we discussed the increasing prevalence of business owners who either don’t take a vacation, or work while they’re on vacation. For so many entrepreneurs, it’s like summer vacation doesn’t exist at all, and even if it does, there’s still the pull to get work done. In fact, 71% of small business owners say they use a mobile device to work while on vacation, and surprisingly, 60% say they actually get to enjoy vacation more because of the ability to work remotely. It’s pretty clear that entrepreneurs are working while on vacation. But are they doing it effectively? Read on to learn how you can work through your vacation and still have an awesomely relaxing time.

Let’s face it: no one really wants to work while on vacation. But as a business owner, you may feel compelled to stay on top of things. After all, most entrepreneurs (and especially solopreneurs) are the life of their business. But down time is important, too, and working through your vacation can rob you of the rest and relaxation that you so desperately need to recharge and do a great job. But if you must find a way to check email while tanning on a white sand beach, try sticking to these guidelines:

  • Set limits. It’s reasonable to want to check your email at least once a day to make sure your business isn’t on fire. But don’t let things get out of hand. Limit yourself to checking in just a few times throughout the day, or just once in the morning or evening to get a daily digest of activities. Under no circumstances should you be checking email all day, every day. You’ll never get a chance to let go and relax.
  • Get up early. You may have to rise with the sun, but if you wake up extra early to knock out your work in the morning, you just might have it all wrapped up by the time your traveling companions are enjoying breakfast. Plus, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment that can help you relax and enjoy the rest of your day on vacation.
  • Don’t tackle everything. Is your business actually on fire? Your website down? Use your vacation time to get some perspective, and make a commitment to let the minor emergencies wait until you get home.
  • Let people know you’re on vacation. Setting up a vacation auto-responder is not a sign of weakness. Other people take vacations and they’ll understand. Even if you’re checking email occasionally, it’s just polite to let other people know that they should not expect your usual prompt response. You can also be proactive about it, letting clients and other key parties know ahead of time that you’ll be mostly unavailable so that you can wrap up issues before you head out.
  • Ask for help. It may be a little nerve-wracking to give up control, but it’s good for growth and your sanity. Appoint a trustworthy assistant to manage your emails and work affairs while you’re gone. They can tackle smaller tasks and alert you if a major problem happens to come up during your vacation. Plus, as they take care of your day to day, you’ll have less work to come home to.

Working on vacation may be a fact of modern entrepreneurship, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of your fun. Do you work while on vacation? How do you ensure that you’ll still have a great time?