This guest post is by Stephanie Foster of Home With the Kids.
I did something recently I haven’t done in a long time. I took a vacation from my blogging business just about entirely. For once on vacation, I didn’t spend the evenings making up for lost time. I didn’t write blog posts. No tweeting, no blog commenting, none of that stuff, for an entire week.
Sure, I still used my computer for fun. I brought it along and I even had internet access most days. I just didn’t use it for work, and did relatively little leisure stuff on it. I was too busy at the beach, the zoo, places like that to bother with my computer.
Taking a vacation from my blogging business is something I do too little of. My laptop always travels with me, and most times I spend my evenings working. The only problem with that is that I don’t give my mind enough of a break from business, so eventually I get tired and even head toward being burnt out on the whole deal.
Many home business owners do the same. It’s all to easy to work long hours and rarely take a break to refresh your body and mind, even for a few minutes during the day, never mind a whole week away. Yet it’s necessary.
Getting ready for a vacation
Taking a vacation from your blogging business isn’t something you can just do on a whim. Well, you could, I suppose, but most times it’s not that great an idea. You need to figure out how things are going to go without you.
What about email? Cleaning out spam blog or forum comments if you have those on your site? What if your site goes down or gets hacked?
You need to figure out how much stuff you can drop from your business for a week or so, how much you can handle in a few minutes each day while you’re on vacation, and what should be handed over to a virtual assistant or trusted friend or family member while you’re gone.
The great thing about many home businesses, especially if they’re online, is that you often can drop quite a bit of what you’re doing to take a vacation. Many things will wait. Others won’t.
You can schedule blog posts to run in your absence. I always like to do this, even though it means extra work while preparing for a vacation. It keeps things running just a little bit and then I don’t have to feel rushed to prepare blog posts when I get back because I’ve been gone a week and there aren’t any posts ready for the next week either. I can take a little time and ease back into my work with only a small gap in my posting, or even none at all if I get so far ahead that I can schedule some for just after I get back.
Use self-control while on vacation
It’s not always easy to leave your home business alone once you’re on vacation, especially if you love what you do. There’s always that temptation to do just a little work during your downtime.
Don’t do it. Find some other way to enjoy your downtime. Read a book for pleasure. Play with your kids if you have some. Go out with your spouse, significant other, some friends or just on your own. Keep your mind off your business. It will still be there when you get back.
If you must check on your business, try to keep it to just a few minutes a day, maybe first thing in the morning so the rest of your day is clear. If you’re having to get too involved in things, maybe you didn’t plan well enough for your break and need to rethink how you can get away for a time.
The benefits of taking a vacation
I feel great now that I’m back from my vacation. It was wonderful not thinking about that next blog post for a time. When you don’t take real breaks, all the stuff you know you should be doing is more like clutter in your head. It’s there and you really can’t deal with it effectively. A vacation gives you time to sort it out, even if you aren’t actively thinking about it at the time.
A vacation can also freshen up your ideas. Work too long on a project, and you get stuck with certain sorts of ideas. A vacation gives you time away from all that, and you might find new ideas come more easily after, even if it’s only a new perspective on the same things you were working on before.
You should also be more relaxed after a vacation. It’s a time when you shouldn’t be focusing on whatever stresses are in your life. Most of the things that cause stress in your life can wait that week too.
Taking a vacation from your blogging business isn’t always the simplest thing to do, but it can be a great idea. You don’t have to bring your business along every time you go on vacation. Sometimes it’s best to leave it all behind.
Stephanie Foster runs Home With the Kids, a resource for work at home moms and dads. She writes about running her home business, work at home scams and being an at home mom on her blog.