by Donna Toothaker
Are you tethered to your laptop? Is your iPhone or iPad your constant travel companion? Virtual Assistants rely heavily on these technologies to operate, but on occasion, it is necessary – and healthy – to take a break and leave it all behind. Consider taking a work-free, wireless-free vacation this year, and reconnect with nature, your family, and yourself. Since work must go on, and you must get out, here are a few tips to help you make vacation a work-free zone.
Break the news early. Weeks before you plan to be away, inform your team and your clients that you will not be available — with several weeks to plan ahead, there is really no excuse for any last-minute, frantic calls to you on vacation. Assign team members to work directly with clients, and ask them to check in with clients at the beginning of your vacation, so clients feel they are being cared for. Ban texts from clients and team members. It is just too easy to dash off a text message about something that is not urgent. If there is a true emergency, they will call you. Even if you don’t respond to a text, you will still be connected to work by having read it.
Lose control! Before you can leave your business, ask yourself — are you ready to cede control of the day to day work to your team? With good business systems and trustworthy team members in place, you should be able to take a break. Review and improve your business systems ahead of time with your team to ensure that things run smoothly while you are gone, and you’re not worrying about things falling through the cracks.
If you don’t have a project manager, select your most thorough and knowledgeable team member to be the designated point person to handle any issues that might come up for clients, other team members, or any other party with whom you do business. Leave it to her to resolve the issues, or in a last resort, call you. Although you may wish to check in sometime mid-week or if there is an important project in the works, avoid contacting your team more than once or twice. Not only may it create work for you, it sends a message that you are available, and may also hint that you do not think your team is fully capable of handling things on its own.
Choose a vacation destination that discourages wireless. Checking voicemail and e-mail messages is one thing, but another way we online entrepreneurs spend a good amount of time is on social networking sites. If WI-FI is not readily available, you will be either unable, or less tempted, to get caught up on Facebook and Twitter, and waste time you could otherwise be spending with your family. Give a team member control of your business Facebook and Twitter accounts for the week by setting up posts and tweets ahead of time and having her put them up while you are gone.
Recharge your batteries by plugging-in to some memorable, relaxing and rejuvenating activities, without looking back! With a little planning, good systems, and some willpower, you can disconnect from the virtual world, and leave work behind.
Donna Toothaker is CEO, founder and coach of Step It Up VA Coaching, and the creator of the 6 Steps to 6-Figure VA Success System. These highly sought-after VA coaching programs have been created for established, successful VAs who wish to create the 6-figure business of their dreams. Visithttp://www.stepitupva.com to receive the free report, Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a 6-Figure VA Business.