September 13th, 2011 Archive

Balancing Work and Play

September 13th, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle

As a small business owner, I know how important my presence is at work. But as a human being, I occasionally need to take break from work, too! :) I know that going on a short vacation is not easy when a company is relying on you for survival – one day of absence might contribute to a major business disaster! But still, taking a break or mixing a little bit of fun into work is an essential to keep ourselves in top form in our professional and personal lives.

No matter what time of the year it is, it’s possible for you to go on a short break or have some fun at work, provided that you plan everything out carefully. Let me walk you through a few of the key steps to organizing everything at work in preparation for going on your much-needed vacation.

Delegate Ahead
Before you leave work for a short vacation, make sure that you already met the deadlines and delegated any other pending tasks to your trusted employees. You shouldn’t be taking your work along with you – the whole point of taking a vacation is to get away from work, after all! :)

In her Small Business CEO Magazine article, Can You Delegate?, Linda Talley mentions that “delegation is an important skill for managers/owners to master”. According to her, “You either delegate to others within your organization or develop a way to self-delegate without becoming overloaded”. When you delegate, you increase productivity and prevent burn-out.

To help you delegate properly, make a clear list of expected output for your people to complete during your absence, complete with detailed instructions for each. Do this so that your people will have a clear line to follow and they won’t pester you with work-related calls during your vacation! :)

Find the nearest vacation spot
You don’t need to go to the Caribbean or Hawaii just to enjoy a good vacation, especially if you can only go on a break for two to three consecutive days. You most likely have a couple of prime vacation spots near your place of residence – you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Before seeking a vacation spot, set a goal first. Is there something you want to do in this particular getaway? Would you like to sunbathe, take a swim, or go on a hike? Now, with that goal in mind, are there nearby areas that would fulfill it? Try searching online, or asking your friends who live around the area. Your vacation spot don’t have to be a beach or a far-flung mountain range – maybe there’s a Caribbean-themed hotel nearby with a great pool in it, or maybe a place that provides a guided nature hike.

Finding a nearby vacation spot is also beneficial if you have urgent to return to work immediately. Your return trip will be shorter and cheaper. :)

Include your loved ones in your vacation plans
Going on vacation gives you the chance to shed your formal business persona and step back into the role of a doting mother, loving wife, or loyal gal pal. That said, your vacations shouldn’t be just for you; it should be for you and your loved ones. If you’re an especially busy business owner, you probably don’t get to spend a lot of time with your family or your friends on normal working days. Taking a short vacation is a great way to spend some quality time with relatives and friends, and to catch-up on the things that you may have missed while you were toiling away at the office.

Don’t worry, be happy
Whether you take a short vacation or not, you need to enjoy yourself once in a while to help you cope with and manage your stress. In the Healthy Wealthy nWise article called How can you laugh when your world isn’t funny? Lynette Crane, M.A says: “it’s difficult to force yourself to laugh, and annoying if someone else urges you to do so when you don’t feel like it. But developing strategies to bring genuine laughter into your life can be an important part of stress management.”

Arriving at your office in a bad or gloomy mood tends to contaminate everyone else’s. Your people will become more edgy or paranoid around you, thinking that your foul mood might result in you having little patience with them. This will obviously heighten their stress levels, and you’ll undoubtedly get even more irritated or upset if nobody does their job well due to the stress that you’re indirectly causing. Do your best to come into the office in a good mood, no matter how many problems you have at home or elsewhere. :)

If you feel like you need to calm down after something gets your goat at work, then go ahead and take a few minutes to grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, or just do some little things to lighten your mood. Read a few pages of a book that you like, listen to your favorite music, walk up and down the building’s stairs if you must; just anything to help you release that stress without bringing anyone else’s mood down at the office.

Remember: even though your business or team expects a lot from you as a leader, you need to maintain a careful balance between work and play. If you manage to de-stress and unwind once in a while, you’ll be in a better mood at work, be more productive, and ultimately foster a healthy, positive atmosphere in your workplace. :)


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