The 3 Step Method Business Owners Can Use to Balance Work & Holiday

We’re officially in holiday season now, with many people taking time off over the summer. It’s easy to say we’re going to switch off on holiday, but how realistic is that goal? Inevitably, most business owners and managers will be thinking about business in some way.

It’s essential to have rest time, and that should absolutely be a non-negotiable when taking time off (even at weekends), but if you’re anything like our team here or some of our clients, you’ll find yourself inspired by an idea mid-hike somewhere, come up with a solution to that niggling problem while you’re having a conversation at dinner one evening or maybe you’ll be mentally re-designing your website while you’re watching the waves on the beach.

Whatever’s happening in your world, we’re sharing the best way we’ve found not to let business thoughts take over all your holiday time and hit the ground running when you get back – without compromising your break.

If you’re going to do it, we say do it like this.

(If you find it near-impossible to switch off on holiday, consider doing this the evening before your time off to get it all out of your head and ‘on paper’. You can add to it as you think of more things).



The 3 R’s

While you’re taking in some R&R, use this 3R principle to set boundaries and use your time and attention wisely for your self and your business.


#1 Reflect

Reflect Business Owner (l)

Honest reflection is tough. It’s not just about what you can see, it’s also about what you can’t. Some of the most successful business leaders I see are the ones who are fully ok with knowing what they don’t know – and certain they’ll get the right people to fill those boots.

Reflecting on tangible goals is essential, but when those goals aren’t being achieved, it’s usually something that isn’t so tangible.

Set a timer for 10 minutes and brainstorm everything you’re reflecting on and thinking about. Here are some reflection questions to get you started on thinking about what is really happening at the core.


  1. What am I doing that I enjoy doing, but I’m not the best at?
  2. Who in the team is contributing effectively and fully?
  3. Who in the team isn’t?
  4. Am I contributing effectively and fully?
  5. How is this happening?
  6. What’s my leadership philosophy?
  7. Am I living it and sharing it?
  8. Where is my time going?



  1. Why did/didn’t we (or are on track to) hit our goals?
  2. Then answer “why” again
  3. And once more – why is this the case?
  4. What is the business doing, if not changed, will mean we stay exactly where we are?
  5. What is our business culture and our values, in practice? (Not the culture and values you feel you should be living by, the culture and values that are real in practice right now)



#2 Review

Business Owner Review (l)

Out of this honest reflection, you’ll have uncovered the good, the bad and the ugly.

Take your list and section them into these 3 categories, listed down on the left side of your page. Set a timer for 10 minutes again, and on the right of each item:


Take the good

Find 1 way you can double down on it – and implement it.


Take the bad

Make at least 1 action to either improve or ditch it, immediately.


Take the ugly

These are always the uncomfortable ones – they can be a little bit messy to unwind. Come up with 1 tangible way to transform it into something that works for you; if you can’t, work out the best way to stop or pause it – this step can be challenging, but it’s well worth doing to break through the ceiling and evolve into more effective activities.


If you work alongside a coach, mentor or closely with someone in your team, consider sharing your outcomes so far with them, or a close version of it. Part of the review stage is to catch everything from all angles and the best way to do that is to share it with your trusted people.



#3 Respond

Respond Business Owner (l)

The good news is by the time you’ve reached step #3, you’ve done the hard part. You’ve taken the time and space to consider everything that’s going on and now it’s all out there ‘on paper’ (or in Evernote, in my case).

This final step is all about responding to what is happening, not to what you want to happen or think is happening. By tackling the facts honestly, the clearest decisions arise. Here are some of the best ways leaders can respond to ensure the essential actions that need to be taken happen and keep the momentum going.



Check your reflection and review against your existing strategy – do they match 100%? Where are the gaps and what are they? Are you heading in the right direction, or veering off the path? Integrate your discoveries by giving your strategy a re-fresh, thinking about working a different way that bears more fruit and utilises your resources fully.



Remember you don’t have to do everything on your own – even though it might be tempting sometimes! Everything that you can delegate to your team or an outsourced provider should be delegated – and here’s the key – with a full brief, including your rationale. To get everyone on the same page as you, make sure they’re briefed in a way that reduces the chance of misinterpretation and mistakes which will likely set you back in both time and money.


Protect your time

Your time is your biggest, most valuable asset. Without spending time on the things that matter most, you’ll always find yourself in a rut – an easy problem to see but often a difficult one to solve. The best, most effective way to do this is to have protected diary time, periods where no one gets in. Lock slots in your diary like you’d lock the front door to your home a few times a week so you are steering the business from your leader seat.

You can balance this by having open time in your diary if you want and need to. For example, have dedicated slots where your team can book in themselves for a 15-minute check-in, if they need 1-1 time with you.



Top Tips for Overactive Minds

Aren’t quite convinced you’ll switch off and get all that business-thinking out of your system? Try these top tips:

  1. Have a ‘Chuck it’ section/channel on a platform like Slack dedicated to ideas and thoughts, just for you, so you can come back to it after your break and trust it’s not lost.
  2. Leave yourself voice notes, ideally where they can also be transcribed and summarised by an AI tool.
  3. Email/slack etc yourself pictures, emails or any content that inspires you.
  4. Forgotten a to-do item? Send yourself an email with the to-do in the subject line.
  5. Remember your big WHY – it won’t be your to-do list! It will be lifestyle, contribution or something that surpasses the day-to-day business activity; remember there is a direct route to get there and stepping back for some R&R is essential to find it.
  6. Always come back to “what do my customers want and need?” Staying connected to the voice of your customers is pivotal to success.
  7. If you feel your mind is in chaos, it’s likely the same thing is happening in your business. Find the root of the chaos to resolve and find clarity.
  8. If you’re getting stuck on one thing, do something creative and completely different, and come back to it later. It really does work.
  9. Trust yourself – be confident in knowing what you do know, what you don’t know and that you’ll find it

Time for a Strategy Refresh?

We often see the most inspired business strategies in September and October, likewise, that’s when many industries have a big spike in sales and marketing activity.

Our (informal) theory? When leaders have had rest, time with family and friends, a change in routine and taken a step back for a short time, they are fired up and ready to create and implement change for the better.

We’re booking out our workshops throughout September and October to help our clients with:

  1. Recap of budget and a review of actuals vs projected revenue
  2. Re-financing exercise
  3. An in-depth audit of sales activity and revenue targets
  4. Long-term financial strategy review
  5. Supporting commercial KPIs and plotting the right direction in alignment with priorities
  6. Planning for team expansion, plugging understaffed or skills gaps

Is it time to take a fresh look at where you’re heading and how you’ll get there? Let’s connect and talk about your 3 R’s and optimising your business strategy and strengthening your financial position – and planning ahead so you’re always getting that holiday R&R without the worry.



Main Image Credit:  Photo by Lance Asper



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