"Vacation" and "entrepreneur" aren't words usually heard together - but they should be. The long hours and stress of running your own business can really take its toll, not just mentally but physically. It may seem counterintuitive to step away from the business, even for a week, but that time away can help recharge your batteries and gear you up for a productive fall. Here are a few tips to help entrepreneurs and small business owners make the most of their vacations.
Don't unplug completely. Most entrepreneurs get anxious if they can't check their email a few times a day. Instead of leaving the smartphone and tablet at home, bring them along. But do leave the laptop at home. There's no need to do any work on vacation, and it will only leave you feeling stressed if it sits there neglected.
Use the technology for good. Because you're bringing your tablet, use it to help you relax. Download games, or visit BookBub to find low-cost or free e-books to read while you're traveling or relaxing at your destination. (Or use the wifi connection at your destination to catch up on all those shows you're watching on Netflix.) Use your smartphone to explore and find unique places to visit on vacation. And if you're a runner, bring your Garmin to keep track of and create souvenirs of your vacation runs.
Be adventurous. Entrepreneurs are adventurous by nature, and vacation is a great time to try something new: a sushi restaurant, ziplining, or surfing. Check out the reviews on a site like Yelp, and head off for something you wouldn't do back home.
Be lazy. Part of recharging your batteries means laying around, whether it's on the beach, by the pool, or on the balcony of the place you've rented - or even in a cool little coffee shop. Don't feel guilty about reading a trashy novel or napping in the middle of the day. This is vacation.
Treat yourself. Is there a spa or outlet shopping nearby? Or just a really good soft-serve place? No matter what, get yourself a little treat, whether it's a massage, a pedicure, some new shoes, or an ice cream cone with chocolate sprinkles.
If you take the time to relax, you'll come back from vacation feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge, whether it's landing a big client, expanding the business, or solving a conundrum that's been nagging at you. No matter how difficult it may seem to do, enterpreneurs can greatly benefit from taking a real vacation to prevent burning out.