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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vacation Planning

When was the last time you gave yourself a vacation? Studies show that time off can increase productivity, problem solving skills, creativity, and enthusiasm for your job. This is as true when you run the business as when you are a worker at the business. As the owner of a company it is hard to leave things behind to take time off, it can be easier if you prepare in advance for that time off.

As this goes to post, I am on vacation. When I was planning my time off, I took into consideration that this is a traditionally slow-ish time of year. Considering my calendar and previous years mean that I can try to take off time when it will (hopefully) have the least impact on my clients and co-workers.

Another kind of vacation planning

I do both social media and am a parts expert at W.L. May. Like many of you, I wear a few different hats. Starting with social media, one of the ways that I prepared was to write and schedule my blog posts before I am off the clock. I use the Blogger software for this  blog and it has a schedule feature that will allow you to post articles to be published at any time I request. This allows me to prepare blog posts to appear while I am away. 

To prepare my social media, I could schedule Facebook posts and Twitter tweets using a service like HootSuite or Buffer. If I were to take that approach I would not truly be able to disconnect because I would want to keep an eye on those pages to stay involved with any interactions on those pages. To allow me to fully disconnect while away, I am using teamwork and having those sites monitored by a team member (Kelly in this case). This is the approach I would recommend, if possible, since the less interactions performed remotely, the more you are actually spending time AWAY from your business, which is how to maximize the effects of your time away.

That covers the blogging and social media side of my job, but I am a parts guy in addition to being a blogger. The parts side of the equation also takes some preparation. To my mind, the most important thing is letting my regular clients know that I will be away so that it does not come as a surprise if they call and I am not here. W.L. May is a team oriented company and our parts people have a "go-to" person that we can suggest our clients speak to when we are away (Todd in this case). This allows for coverage, in the case of vacation or illness, with a parts expert that our client already has some experience working with. You may notice, I have 2 people helping to cover for me, this helping to spread the work around a little bit with the goal of minimizing the impact to both my clients and my co-workers. 
While away, other regular daily duties are handled by the "go-to" person as well. I met with my back up before leaving to advise of any unusual circumstances that might arise during my absence. Is this all overkill? Maybe, but it leaves my clients and co-workers prepared for me to be gone. Using these techniques, I am more comfortable leaving things in the hands of someone else while I am away and I have found that when I return, things fall back into place quickly. 

Of course, you may have other steps to take before you can take off-we would love to hear what YOU do to prepare for time off. Let us know in the comments section. However you go about making time off happen for you, I urge you to do those things. You might well find yourself happier, more efficient, and more profitable after taking a little time to recharge.
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