Taking More Time Off: New Year, New Vacation Policy

by | Jan 11, 2021

One of the biggest things that pushed me to opening my own business was wanting to be in control of my own time. I also really wanted to be in control of my own vacation policy.

Why?

I just really like to take time off.

I like to travel to dog events. I like to travel internationally. I like to visit my family (and they live 3000 miles away from me). I like to spend time with my spouse.

In previous jobs, it was sometimes a battle to be granted my earned time off at the same time my spouse was able to get time off. I fielded comments from others who opted not to use their vacation time about how I took too much time off. I had to choose every year… do I visit my parents, or take a needed and well earned vacation? And eventually, all of that got old.

As a business owner, you can sometimes feel pressured to work ALL. THE. TIME.

I am here to tell you, as a business owner, its SO IMPORTANT that you take time off. You need to recharge and prevent burnout. You need to enjoy what you have built for yourself. You need to trust that your years of hard work will not disintegrate if you take off for a few weeks!

If you struggle with giving yourself time off, I am here to give you a simple plan for scheduling your NEW vacation policy in just a few simple steps.

How Much Time Off Do You Want?

Make things easy on yourself by planning in advance. All of the following will make it a lot easier for you to take time off. Its not 100% necessary, but trust me when I say you’ll be glad you invested the time into each of these things!

  1. Write down a list of reasons you could use time off: trials? Family visits? Cousins wedding? Vacation? Staycation? Anything goes! Write it out with the number of days you will need for this. Whenever possible, I like to schedule vacation and time off for slower seasons. 
  2. Look Back: Take a look back at your previous year and the finances. How many days did you take off? If there is a substantial difference between the two, you will want to adjust your schedule accordingly to ensure you meet financial goals. This means you can increase your prices, rearrange the way you see clients to maximize income, etc.
  3. Build a set schedule. This can be hard, but it is a lot easier to take time off if you know the days and times you see clients, the tentative class schedules, the times you do administrative tasks, etc. 
  4. Pay yourself on a regular schedule. Rather than just take in money as it comes, set up an account and pay yourself from it weekly, bi weekly, monthly. Whatever works for you. This will ensure you are able to give yourself “paid” time off, even on weeks when you do not make any actual sales. 

Now that we know how many days you want to take off this coming year, it’s time to plan for it.

Your Annual Plan: A Vacation Policy

Make The Plan and Take the Time:

  1. Calculate the time off you need. This sounds hard, but it’s not. Write down all the reasons you take time off each year and when you need that time. I suggest giving yourself a minimum of 3-4 weeks off each year.
  2. Mark your calendars. Before the new year starts, I want you to open your annual calendar/planner/scheduling software. Now, take a deep breath and mark your calendar as “busy/vacation” for those events you wanted to take off, for the WHOLE year.
  3. The week before and after your time off, reserve a few hours each week as “catchup” days. I usually give myself a few half days. This allows you to shut down and reopen easily without feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Every 3 months, review your time off. You can make adjustments as needed. Maybe that cousin broke off her engagement so you don’t need to go home for a wedding. Awesome. Reallocate that time in a way that makes YOU happy. Take a staycation, use it to revamp your website, or add in time for clients.
  5. Review your end-of-year finances. This is important. You need to know what you earn annually, figure out where you can improve, and make sure the “cost” of time is not impacting you in a negative way.

And just like that, you have some time off!

Now tell us in the comments, what will you be doing with your time now that you have a nice new vacation policy?

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