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As a business owner, can you leave your email at home whilst on holiday?
by Adam Schallamach

As a business owner, where prompt communication with customers,  suppliers, partners and colleagues is now the expected norm is it feasible to be able to plan for your absence and ensure there is no drop in your company communications?  The answer is yes, with the right strategic approach you can enjoy your holiday and return to a relatively manageable email inbox.

The BBC reported last week that an employee from a Berlin based charity was taking a month long ’email sabbatical’ (bbc.co.uk 4/8/13).  Ms Briedenbach, who is now in her third year of ‘August unplugged’, told the BBC it was ‘liberating’. She normally receives 100 email a day and found it ‘overwhelming’ to be on holiday knowing they would be there when she got back.

Time and again in recent weeks we’ve heard of business owners debating whether they can leave their computer at home whilst they take a well-earned summer holiday with their nearest-and-dearest.

For fear of incurring the wrath of holiday partners, family members, and playful offspring I would suggest that it is almost impossible to entirely switch-off and leave your business behind for a sun-lounger and a good book.  Certainly the idea of deleting a whole month’s email is just a crazy idea for a business where every email could be a prospective lead.

Planning a break from your business well in advance is the only way that you can get the benefit from your holiday that you and your family deserve. 

Spending more time working on your business, and less time working in your business is a Business Doctors mantra, and it is certainly relevant here.  Try to understand what tasks you have to achieve and then prioritise them accordingly.

Most people will undertake the tasks they like to do first, leaving the complicated or repetitive jobs until last.  If you use a tool like the Time Management matrix available to download at the bottom of this article, you will begin to understand how clearing your mind of all the clutter associated with the day-to-day running of a business will help you see the bigger picture, and more able to react accordingly.

Strategic thinking and planning will really benefit you, your business, and your holiday plans.  Avoiding the checking of your email whilst on holiday may be impossible as the owner of a business, but with careful advance planning and management of your business and its employees you shouldn’t have any large surprises in your inbox on your return.

Business Doctors are running a programme of free* Project Management training courses in Halifax starting in September.  From the biggest projects down to planning how to delegate responsibility whilst you’re on holiday, project management skills are beneficial to every business owner.  

*subject to eligibility

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