[REAL BIZ TALK] The Benefits of Taking Time Off & How To Vacation-Proof Your Business

Running a business, but think you can’t time off from it?

For small business owners and online entrepreneurs alike, taking a vacation may seem nearly impossible – one where you’re NOT chained to your laptop or device.

You probably also worry that if you do go on vacation, you’ll need to spend hours on your laptop in your hotel room or conduct some business of some sort while you’re on the beach or out sightseeing.

All, while your partner or family is livid, that once again, you simply can’t leave your work at home? (But, you’re just checking emails – what’s so wrong about that?!)

As health and wellness business owners, we can be especially prone to not wanting to leave business matters well enough alone, because people need us dammit!

We’re often so overly giving of our time, energy and resources that we actually find it hard to dedicate an equal amount of time, energy and resources to ourselves – and our own needs.

You’re not alone in this predicament, but you need to do it anyway. (Take time off, that is, without pissing off your family – and running your business into the ground in the process!)

The Benefits of Taking Time Off From Building Your Business

  • Productivity (in fact, the real secret to increased productivity is…time off)
  • A change of perspective, fresh ideas and a new flow of creative juices
  • Better focus or a resetting of your focus, i.e. allows you to reprioritize and keep your eye on the prize
  • Recharging the batteries = better mental health
  • Emphasizes the importance and value of time with family, friends and loved ones – and reminds you to preserve this time in the future.
  • An opportunity to rekindle relationships – my husband and I call our kidless vacations “marriage savers”
Krista running Kits Beach - taking time off
  • If you have a physical job, such as a Personal Fitness Trainer (as I did, once upon a time) – this an opportunity to give the bod a break!

The Impact of Not Taking a Vacation

The benefits of taking time off, and the risks of not doing so — are well documented.

You invest an incredible amount of time and energy needed to build a business from the ground up, but then invariably you burn out because you simply can’t create space for the Three R's: rest/relaxation, recovery + reflection. Click To Tweet

Sure, your business depends on your time, but your continued passion for it depends on your TIME OFF.

Overwork, the downfall of many an entrepreneur (and online business owner), can lead to health problems like:

Did you know that not taking a vacation can lead to heart disease, especially in women?!

In a 20-year study, researchers found that women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than women who took at least two vacations per year.

It has also been reported that working more than 50 hours per week cuts sharply into productivity, and then productivity drops off completely after 55 hours.

Working more doesn’t actually accomplish more or get you further ahead in your business. It just leads to burnout – physically, mentally & emotionally.

As reported by Entrepreneur.com, one study found that mental fatigue takes hold after three hours of continuous time-on-task, scientists say brains need a break after 90 minutes, the length of the “basic rest-activity cycle.”

Burning up your supply of mental resources (without replacing them) leads to a chronically activated stress response, then eventually burnout.

This level of stress makes it hard to focus, plan or make good decisions. In other words, you’re literally hurting your brain, which is hurting your business – when you don’t take some time off to rest!

More On The Mental Health Benefits Of Taking Time Off

The fact is, time off is good for the brain, especially if you can place yourself in new, different and natural environments, i.e. traveling! But, the benefits diminish quickly, so that’s why it’s good to replenish or engage in them frequently.

Opportunities to immerse yourself in the 3 R’s might range from short breaks during the workday to activities that allow you to shut off your work mind off completely when you get home at night/sleep — to weekend activities and extended vacations. And I don’t just mean a little overnight “trip” once in a blue moon!

[Video credit: The Holderness Family]

A study at the University of Toronto found that people who engage in took “recovery breaks” during workday had higher levels of positive affect (observable expression of emotion) after the breaks.

Have you ever tried the POMODORO TECHNIQUE? I work almost daily using it…plus, I dance at my standup desk. Don’t laugh – I find that I’m ridiculously productive when I’m getting my groove on!

Take regular breaks…daily, weekly and monthly. While this doesn’t necessarily constitute a vacation from your business, it is imperative and even critical to your own health & well-being – which is ultimately a direct reflection of the health & well-being of your business.

Going beyond daily breaks in the workday — it has been shown that taking an extended vacation leads to significantly higher performance upon return to the job, as well as offloading stress and decreasing anxiety, a common byproduct of being an entrepreneur, especially a solo business owner.

How to Take Time Off From Your Business – When You’re a Busy Wellness Entrepreneur

As much as I’d love to tell you it’s possible to totally unplug yourself from your business while you go on vacation for a week (or two), I can’t.

I do have a habit of checking in on things while I’m gone, but I’ve learned ways to minimize the time I spend working. Because, if you take time off, but you’re just feeling guilty about it the whole time, is this really “time off”?

Let’s face it Online Wellness Business Owners, we got into this particular space so that we could ultimately have more freedom, and better work-life balance…am I right? But, has it really felt much like freedom to you?!

To truly tap into the benefits of a vacation, especially those for your mental health, you have to know that you are entitled to time off. You deserve it and owe it to yourself - and to your business. Click To Tweet

Strategies I’ve used that you can adapt to your own needs = vacation-proofing your business!

How to vacation-proof your business!

For example, here’s the process that I ran myself through for a period of about six weeks prior to when my husband and I took our kids on a 2-week whirlwind vacation to Florida – now affectionately known as the “Disney Shit Show”.

1| SET RULES & BOUNDARIES

Work-life balance isn’t about sitting at the beach working on your laptop (like, really – the sand!!). The key is knowing when to hit the ‘pause’ button and just take a step back — or completely away from your business.

Set rules and boundaries around your time off – and stick to them! This should be preciously guarded time and space that belongs to you (and your family & loved ones). Again, give yourself permission to take this vacation. You are deserving of it!

Your business will still be there when you get back…but some advance prep does need to happen so that you don’t come back to a business that’s partway into a nose dive 😉

2| ADVANCE PREPARATIONS

To prep for your time off, you’ll be trying to strike a happy medium between the two main ways to carve out time away: hiring short-term help, and automating as much as you can.

  • Delegating (or delegating more)
  • Preparing and advising clients (and team members, if any) – inform your clients and customers that you’ll be away and you’ll be available when you return
  • Hiring on help and training well in advance – outsource what you can to a VA, intern, social media or business manager
  • Anticipating imperfection – yes, something may not go as you would like while you’re away! Shit happens, and that’s part of the business-building journey. Try to “pre-troubleshoot” potential problems.
  • Automate everything, and I mean everything. Not just for the purpose of being away, but you truly need to automate as many parts of your business as possible.
  • For example, scheduling software, a robust email marketing system, a team/project/collaboration board (like Trello or Asana) and a social media scheduler (my fave is SmarterQueue) are all a good start.

Another key to vacation-proofing your business is Batch Content Creation!

This means creating as much of your content ahead of time and in batches – when inspiration hits! This was paramount to being able to get away, relatively stress-free with my family for 2 whole weeks.

I batch created everything from social media posts (including for my FB group) to blog posts to guest posts! I was a content creation machine for a 6-week period prior to taking off.

Now, you might be saying “but you’re a professional writer! It’s probably easy for you to create content!!”

Perhaps more so than other people, but I’ll give you the basics of tapping into YOUR batch creation zone:

  • It begins with nailing down a date to write all of your content, e.g. 1x per week or 2x per month if that’s all you feel you can reasonably commit to.
  • Choose an otherwise commitment-free day(s) and remove all distractions – close out web tabs, no other devices, kids are occupied, no cleaning or errands. Just creation 🙂
  • Find when your peak “creative time” is and use that to your advantage by scheduling dedicated content creation during that specific time.
  • For example, I am super juiced up in the first half of the day. However, my energy and creativity wane right around the 2 pm mark – this is when I know to shift into other business activities, or even call it quits for the day sometimes, as my schedule is often dictated by my kids’ afterschool activities!
  • Prior to writing/creation day, set one day aside to come up with ALL the ideas – but at this point, you may have a big list already (that you haven’t finished or implemented yet!), so work from what you’ve already got, e.g. if you decide to create all of your content on the first Tuesday of each month, you should create a list of topic ideas (+ outlines, even better) no later than Monday. Don’t sit and do all of the brainstorming on writing/creation day!
  • When I go to write a blog post, I always do a “skeleton” of it first. I map it all out before I do any research or writing. This would just be the working title, the main headings, a few point-form notes, and perhaps a reference to a book/website/study/author that I want to include
  • Create content in themes or series – think of a topic and related sub-topics
    that you can write (and publish) in series format, e.g. bridge each piece from one to the next.

Try not to view this activity as a chore – shift the mindset to it being a “money making activity” as it serves just that purpose: to educate, engage, excite, entertain, bring value to and get your people to know, like and trust you.

And when they trust you, they will buy from you.

3| CONTINGENCY PLANNING

If you simply *must* work (otherwise your business-building brain will explode, and you’ll be so guilt-ridden that you won’t enjoy your holiday anyway), then plan for this accordingly too.

  • Set aside ONE hour early on in your vacation day, and get shit done. Then BE done, and go enjoy the rest of the day, guilt-free. (that’s if you absolutely, positively *have to* attend to business matters while you’re away)
  • If you have left someone at the helm back home while you’re away, resist the urge to micromanage and continuously check in with them. Trust that they’ve got it handled.
  • Plan your vacations around when work is typically slower for your type of business. For Health & Wellness business owners, there tends to be a lull in the industry where things just get quieter: Summer (kids out of school, parents focused on keeping kids busy) and December holidays. There are always a few crazy busy times that are renowned in the industry, especially popular for launching health, nutrition & fitness programs: January & September = bandwagon seasons, so these may not be optimal vacation times.
  • Going back to work after a vacation can be its own form of jet lag! Consider taking a bit of extra time upon your return to readjust. Consider taking a day to unpack, do meal prep, sleep, practice self-care, etc before jumping right back into the grind.
    The benefits of time off from business

4| ACCEPT & PLAN FOR FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

And lastly, whether you’re hiring help (outsourcing), pushing the budget to pay for automation software or anticipating a slowdown in sales — there’s one common denominator: all of those things will impact your bottom line while you’re away.

However, just like you’d plan for the financial implications of the vacation to your personal budget, you need to consider and prepare for how it may affect your business finances.


Whether you’re gearing up for a few days off for a long weekend, or planning a two-week travel extravaganza, with a bit of planning (ok, quite a bit of planning!) your business will still be there when you get back.

I can honestly say, that the business I’ve built over the past 4 years with Making Lemonade has evolved into something that I’m truly proud of, and completely, utterly in love with.

But, even madly in love, a person still needs space for themselves. Unplugging (mostly) and taking honest to goodness time off has the pleasant side effect of offering up a bounty of renewed energy, fresh ideas, sharper focus and motivation to keep your eye on the prize!

I encourage my team to do the same and to make sure their time off is just as meaningful and fulfilling as their time spent working on Making Lemonade client projects, as well as their own amazing stuff.

Speaking of my team – have you checked them out yet?!

They’re a pretty awesome crew if I do say so!

MEET THE LEMONADE SQUEEZE SQUAD