How much time off can you take this summer?

Summer Holidays

One week or two?

I am a few days away from my annual holidays and I can’t wait – it’s been quite a while since our last decent break and at this stage I could really do with it!!

For the next few days I have a “lorry load” of work to get through so that I can go on leave with a clear head, knowing that there is nothing important left undone.

This might sound like I am going away for a month but I am taking just one week off!

Feel familiar?

I wonder am I doing something wrong that I am managing just a week off?

I know the importance of some chill out, switch off time to recharge the batteries and I wonder is a week enough? To be honest I don’t think it is – I always need a few days to fully unwind, then I start to properly relax and with a few days left I tend to start thinking about work again. With a one week break you have barely relaxed when the break is nearly over!

While I know and understand this I feel a week is the maximum amount of time I could take off without disrupting the business to much. Deirdre, my other, and much better half is my partner in the business and she is holidaying with me, which affects the amount of time we can take off together but surely we should be able to manage more than a week?

In Fuzion we are really lucky in that we have a dedicated hard working team who we totally trust, so we should be able to take a longer break- this makes me wonder are we not delegating properly and enough?

I was chatting to another business owner about his holiday plans and he totally shared my anxiety about leave – he reckons the very most he could comfortably take off is about 10 days. So much for working for yourself!

Is this the reality of self employment or does this mean we are disorganised or have issues about effective delegation?

How much time off can you take this summer?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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15 Responses to “How much time off can you take this summer?”

  1. Steve McDonald Says:

    Greg, if you feel that you can only comfortably take a week off, then you might want to review how you delegate and how you further empower those hard-working people you trust to look after things when you are away.

    A ten days to two week break is reasonable to rest and recharge the batteries.
    Anything less and you are probably short-changing yourself.

  2. Miriam O'Connell - Space For Change Says:

    Could it be separation anxiety Greg? What if the business does thrive without you? Are you ready to find out that you are not as central to the business as you thought you were? Of course I am not directing these questions at you personally but I do think that a lot of us that are self-employed have our identity so wrapped up in our businesses that we find it hard to separate the two, to let someone else very capable look after it and possibly do a better job. Sometimes, we need our businesses more than they need us!!
    Enjoy your well earned break!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Interesting perspective on work – these days it is nearly 100% work so it wouldn’t be hard for this to happen. I love what I do so in some respects I do need it I guess but I know I need a break as well.

      Thanks a million for the post

  3. Michele O'Briain Says:

    Everyone deserves and needs a break even if they are self employed as it recharges the batteries and sometimes helps you to see things that you might have seen as difficult issues in a different light when you return. You should have booked ten days off – maybe taking a Fri & Mon as well as a full working week and if any emergencies came up that your dedicated hard working team could not handle they could contact you and as technology is so accessible these days you could have worked remotely if absolutely necessary! I hope you are going somewhere nice and your battery recharging involves some sun, fun and wine. Enjoy!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Off to Tuscany Michele .. Sienna for the Palio (incredible festival if you can make it sometime) – when we are back we have a Press group on a FAM trip but that should be enjoyable as well as being work (the original plan was a weekend off when we came back – Oopps!). Maybe a week at the end of the summer ..

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Off to Tuscany in Italia !! We are taking in Sienna where there is a festival called the Palio – great fun (you have to take it in some time if you haven’t been there). The plan was a longer break but we have a press FAM visit when we come back, which should be fun – not too much hardship!

      Looking forward to some Chianti in Tuscany!!


  4. Billy OConnor Says:

    I could throw in all the time management clichés you’ve ever heard but I’m not sure if that would help matters. The fundamental problem for most sme owners is that they work IN rather than ON their business almost all of the time. So if you have staff, an office, meetings, customers to meet and prospect etc. etc…the usual stuff, then the reality is you are tied to the biz. Thus…one week holiday is a must, two maybe a luxury and three…well, unless you have a SUPERB self-directed, managed and motivated team who can do it BETTER without you, you’ll probably come home to trouble!

    I know this is not for everyone but ask yourself, “how could I work abroad in the sun for X weeks/months and know, with absolute confidence that, when I come back to rainy Ireland, I will still have a business?” All the IMPORTANT stuff we neglect and fail to work on is the answer here…systems, processes, delegation, training, appraising, preventative maintenance…which will actually give us the freedom to take that extended leave. That is why “master franchising” ones business can really work here and perhaps solve the problem.

    I am a HUGE fan of the franchise concept and am currently working with a number of suitable businesses who see this as the way to generate “passive” income, create freedom and avoid “presenteeism” (another blight). They realise they could work 50/60+ hours per week and make less than they would if they had numerous franchisees working their “SYSTEM”. Tip: design your business AS IF it was a franchise!

    As a potential master franchisor, if you really embraced technology with laptop, SKYPE, conference-calls, internet, access to printer/scanner/fax and so on…well need I say more about working abroad? Read Timothy Ferriss’ Four-Hour Working Week as a real eye-opener…bit O.T.T. but there are gems in there.

    The reality Greg is that this is all really “do-able”…but I accept that it is not for everyone or for all businesses. Nobody really cares IN WHAT LOCATION you are today as long as you continue to deliver an excellent service and, provided you don’t have to be there face-to-face, many professional/service businesses can be operated from abroad…think of how much is done over airwaves today! You could be in the office next door.

    Better end here as I could go on a rant with my favourite subject!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      I hear you Billy and thanks for the feedback – I find if I take a call or read an email my mind is occupied and I may as well be at work! A buddy of mine has no issue taking calls when he is on leave as it doesn’t bother him – I don’t think I could do that and actually manage to have a break at the same time.

  5. Colette O'Loughlin Says:

    It’s the reality of self employment! I often find those who think it would be great to be your own boss are those that have never made the leap of faith & actually tried it themselves 🙂

    Yes, you can have a great team behind you who are more than capable of managing without you for a week or 10 days (you should be so lucky!), but it’s your name and reputation that has the business where it is today so no Greg, a business owner never, in my humble opinion, switches off fully, but would you have it any other way?? Don’t think so! Happy holidays 🙂

  6. Joe Fox Says:

    Are you ever really on holiday though?
    Ive been working in the US/Canada for the last 3 weeks with a week to go and yet here I am doing my usual Friday morning routine of going through emails and writing blog posts and following blogs.
    I generally travel a month away from home a year and a month at home per year but I am a one man band so even turning the phone off for a month, I’m probably losing business, business that probably wont return.
    Its a tough one to call, you definitely need a break but in the last 10 years I dont think Ive ever had a true ‘holiday’. Even then thinking back to the previous 10 years of employed employment there was always someone who thought they could try and reach me when I was on holidays.
    This is the first time I have taken my travel photography on the road in our ‘Summer’ generally winter is my quiet time but not this year.
    Would I have it any other way though?
    Probably not 😉

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Enjoy your travels Joe – at least when we are self employed we can decide when we take breaks even though this inevitably means we take less than other people.

      I am back to work tomorrow and I am happy with it – I remember a time when I used to be heading back to work after two weeks off and I would be in a depression!! … in those days I worked for someone else!

  7. Dave Cuffe Says:

    This may be too late, at least for this time. I have it written into my staff contracts that they have to take at least one break of two weeks or more every year (that’s 10 of their 30 days) as it has been shown that shorter breaks do not have the benefits that 2 + weeks give. I am a veterinary surgeon. For years I have taken all of August off. The rational is that if the locum is great the clients are happy, and if not, the clients are happy to see you back. If I died tomorrow, the practice would survive, thrive even. Life is short. Don’t look back on a life of short-changing yourself and family.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      I can totally see where you are coming from – I must say I like to see my bunch taking a proper break as well.

      We are back from our week and I have just spent the best part of Sunday clearing down email backlog!!

      Ah well ..

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