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Tue 28 Jul 2015 08:51 AM

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How to detach and relax

We look at how entrepreneurs can enjoy time away from their business

How to detach and relax

As an entrepreneur, how many balls do you juggle on a monthly basis? And how many of them do you allow yourself to drop every now and then? “None or only one” is a typical response.

More often than not, that ball has a ‘vacation’ sign on it. Are we right?

Many entrepreneurs conclude that the ball, which they assume is made of rubber, will bounce and get back into their hands when the timing is better, the business is more stable, the team is more experienced to work without supervision, and so on.

However, what if it is made of glass and will break into small little pieces? Pieces that can be labelled health, good sleep, tranquillity, emotional balance, strong focus, and many more.

The picture in the corporate world is not much different.

A 2014 study by the US Travel Association, revealed that 56 percent of senior business leaders thought taking time off was harder the higher up you go and 54 percent thought nobody else could do the work. Among those who did manage to take some time off, 46 percent were responding to work emails while on vacation, and 22 percent were spending some time working.

If both entrepreneurs and senior executives put some effort into planning their vacations, they might manage to unwind and come back rejuvenated to a still successful business.

Here are a few tips:

How to prepare

In order to reduce vacation anxiety, undertake some preparatory activities to leave your business in good hands when you’re off.

Firstly, inform your people that you’re leaving and tell them for how long.

If you’ve been afraid to delegate, this is also a perfect moment to face that fear. When assigning certain additional tasks to your team members, make sure that they receive enough information, and also try to prepare them for various types of problems that may arise.

Secondly, inform your clients, at least the more important ones, of the same. In that manner, you’ll communicate how important they are to your company and that their needs will be well taken care of by your colleagues in your absence.

Lastly, we are all aware that you’ll hardly be able to recharge your batteries without feeling guilty. Therefore, carve out a time of a day to attend to business if you must. That can be even twice a day, an hour in the morning and an hour at night, when you’ll be checking your emails and messages, returning phone calls and similar.

An important note is to refrain from extending the time designated for your business matters.

Where to go?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to entrepreneurs’ and corporate executives’ choice of where to spend their vacations.

Those who travel a lot on business purposes tend to stay closer to home when going on a holiday. Warren Buffett spends most of his vacations at a holiday home in Laguna Beach, California, which is not that far from Omaha, the place where he has built his empire.

Others choose far-flung destinations, such as Richard Branson’s private island retreat and holiday resort in the British Virgin Islands. Since 1979, when he bought now the famous Necker Island, Branson has even turned it into his permanent place of residence.

The latest generation of entrepreneurs has added a new option to this list – joining a travelling community of location-independent bloggers, designers, or early-career entrepreneurs, to share a co-working space in Vietnam, Bali, Thailand or the Philippines.

A number of co-working retreats worldwide offer structured packages that include a month of accommodation, meals, a WiFi connection and office space, as well as various trainings or workshops if requested.

How to relax?

Getting there is only half of the mission – you’ll need to unwind as well. And that’s easier said than done.

Famous entrepreneurs advise on the importance of not upsetting your daily routine even on a holiday. In case you haven’t committed to some morning or evening rituals, this is a good chance to get into a new routine.

Most of the tips of successful people include getting up early for a good 20-minute-long workout or a meditation practice.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief at the Huffington Post Media Group, is often quoted as saying that if a business leader practises meditation, the business will enjoy a competitive advantage.

Throughout the day and in the evenings, spend time with family and, preferably, in nature.

A good habit to take back from your vacation is also a commitment to read at least an hour before going to bed. That’s what Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates does every night.

Lastly, the relaxing days will allow you to reflect on what’s really important and what you could accomplish more efficiently in your business. But, to achieve that, you’ll need to stick to your plan above.

Good luck!