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How to Hit Pause Without Rewinding Your Progress

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

It might be a vacation to a far-off land or a staycation that involves a social media detox and midday naps for no reason at all. Regardless, it can be difficult to unplug and trust that the progress you’ve made in your career will still be right where you left it when you’re ready to return.

The Feeling

When growing a following feels like it needs constant attention and clients don’t book themselves and newsletters need to stay consistent and the writing deadlines are looming… you’re lucky if you can turn away for a few hours without feeling like you’re falling behind.

A vacation is about completely breaking from your normal day-to-day and tuning out your normal responsibilities so your mind, body and soul can recharge and gain perspective. If you never completely step back from your work you’ll be too attached to it to know when it needs fixing.

The Truth

As much as I am my brand, I’m the face of my company, the career I’m building isn’t about me, it’s about serving my community. Serving that community is bigger than just me and should be able to function with or without me.

By building a career with the mindset that your business lives and dies by your ability to be present or on call at all times will not only set you up for failure and burnout, but also limit the overall scope of success that your business/career is capable of reaching.

How do you begin to build a system that works for you?

I always like to start with a checklist – a run down of everything that should be done in preparation for a trip or staycation. Once you have your checklist you’ll need to decide how you will execute it and how everything on that list will fit into your current situation.

Time management isn’t about always sticking to a plan. It’s about knowing what deserves your focus at any given time so you can take action on what matters and not waste time on what doesn’t serve your goals.

Being an entrepreneur is messy. I like to think of it like triage at a hospital with the benefit of not actually being a matter of life or death. Last minute things will pop up, things will take longer than they should, other things will get cancelled or rescheduled, and other factors that are beyond your control will mess with your plan.

How to Create a Life-Giving Calendar

Step One:

First, check the calendar for all upcoming deadlines in the next two weeks. Which are hard deadlines and which are self-inflicted? Which ones, if any need to be rescheduled or delegated?

Step Two:

Then go through your list and make note of what absolutely has to get done before V-Day. Make note of bills that are due, subscriptions that you might want to pause, and content you may want to batch and schedule ahead of time.

Step Three:

Take the top priority/time-sensitive projects and break them down into microtasks. Once you’re able to see that a bunch of graphics are needed for multiple projects or multiple people needed follow ups via email or numerous spreadsheets needed to be updated you have a clearer picture of how much time it will take.

Step Four:

Next, after breaking things down, schedule in blocks of time into your last week before going away to batch and tackle many of these tasks. Emails may be a block of time, knock out the graphics in one sitting, newsletter content can be its own block, etc.

Establish Expectations

In addition, reach out to high-priority contacts a week before you leave to let them know your plans. It allows for a much smoother transition as it manages people’s expectations and it helps avoid unforeseen pop-up projects.


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Add your upcoming travel dates to your email signature in your CRM like HoneyBook. Don’t have a custom email signature? Gotcha covered.

It’s also important to take some time and schedule a few posts to go out while you’re away. It’s a HUGE relief to know that content is getting out there on a consistent basis and you don’t have to think about what’s going on in cyberland.

What NOT To Do

Don’t schedule a launch while you’re away. If the trip or detox was a last minute decision, MOVE YOUR DATES. Do NOT ever, ever, ever schedule the launch of a release or website or product or service while you’re away. Go away AFTER the launch or a bit beforehand, like a babymoon, but never during.

Don’t assume you’ll get it all done to and from your destination. On a normal day being on a train or bus can be a great time to knock out a few small yet important tasks. However, stress and emotions can run high when traveling for a vacation in a much different way.

Don’t schedule anything for work the day before you leave for a vacation because it will inevitably get eaten up with last minute personal errands.

Be more conservative with how much time you have left. Reschedule and delegate some of those other projects you were planning on finishing if they’re not super urgent.

Lastly on my list when preparing for a trip {besides, obviously packing and running personal errands}, is to create a value-packed auto-reply message for emails and make sure you add an extra day to your trip.

This is a great way to keep your business going while you hit pause. In the email, I direct them to check out a recent piece of content and/or to schedule a call with me for when I’m back.

Many people contact me with similar concerns, so by including a link to something that might be able to answer their question while I’m gone is valuable. It also allows me to feel that my community is being served even when I’m not checking email 3 times a day.

If you’d like the full checklist I just went through, a copy of my ever-popular Packing Checklist {which you can usually only access by purchasing the 2019 Rock/Star Life Planner} AND a copy of my recent auto-reply click here to download it!

Remember: unplugging is crucial for the success of your business. With the proper preparations, you don’t have to shut down the business just to shut off for a few days.

How will YOU unplug next? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. Click here to access my Vacation Mode Checklist!

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