According to the American Psychological Association’s 2018 Work and Well-Being survey, most American workers have more energy and are more productive when they return to work after a vacation. They feel more motivated and less stressed, and the overall quality of their work improves.

You probably didn’t need a scientific study to tell you that taking a vacation is a good idea. For business owners and entrepreneurs, however, taking time off can seem impossible. But you can take a break without breaking your business, and an executive coach can show you how.

An executive coach works with executives, leaders, and high potential employees on achieving both professional and personal goals. These goals can include enhancing job performance, improving emotional intelligence, developing better business relationships, or increasing self-awareness. These goals can also include finally taking a real vacation, something Dr. Martha Anne Rich believes should be a priority for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Rich is a psychologist and coach with more than 20 years of experience, and she is also the owner of Rich Potential, a business that specializes in life and executive coaching.

“Time off of work recharges you,” Dr. Rich says. She adds that after a vacation, “many people report that they have renewed perspective on the meaning behind the work they’re doing. They have a better sense of purpose.”

Here are the benefits of taking vacations and pointers for how business owners can do just that!

Dr. Martha Anne Rich is a psychologist and coach with more than 20 years of experience. She is also the owner of Rich Potential.

Breaks can boost creativity.

“When we’re unplugged and far away from whatever goal or task that might often be on our mind, that’s when we’re sometimes the most creative and innovative in our thinking,” Dr. Rich continues. “So we can sometimes find creative solutions to problems or think of opportunities we hadn’t considered.”

Plan ahead.

An executive coach like Dr. Rich will tell you that if you want to take a vacation you must plan ahead.

“What doesn’t work is waiting until the last minute to find people to do the tasks for you,” she says. “This will often cause you to worry on vacation or for your vacation to be interrupted by urgent work matters.”

Early on, business owners should identify top team members and employees with great potential and begin preparing them for more responsibility.

“A process of developing people around you to take on increasingly challenging responsibilities and projects will not only have them feeling more empowered and therefore more engaged in most cases, but also have you feeling more confident that your business is in good hands while you are away,” Dr. Rich says.

Eliminate, delegate, and outsource.

An executive coach can help you figure out what tasks and projects, both professional and personal, you can eliminate, delegate or outsource. This list might range from work demands to grocery shopping.
A coach can also help you think through systems, protocols, and procedures. Having these in place can make it easier to unplug and get away.

Do others know where to find the information needed to keep your business running smoothly? Can they access it easily when needed? Are they trained to use the systems that are in place? These are just a few of the questions an executive coach might guide you through answering, Dr. Rich says.

Having a system that allows team members to view and update progress on projects is also important, whether that system is an app like Trello, Asana, or  Evernote, or just a big whiteboard in the conference room. “This would allow the business owner to check and monitor progress if truly needed on vacation in a low-touch way,” Dr. Rich explains.

When you eliminate, delegate and outsource, it makes completely unplugging a reality.

Track your time.

One of Dr. Rich’s favorite things to help her clients with is time management. “This is probably a part of my coaching with every single client I work with,” she says. “One of the first steps of getting a handle on how you spend your time is really knowing exactly how you spend your time.”

Dr. Rich often instructs her clients to use a time tracking app or chart to determine exactly how they’re spending their days. “It gives you more data to figure out what you can eliminate, what you can delegate, what you can outsource,” she says. “All of a sudden you realize, ‘Oh, I thought this was a small task, but I’m actually spending an hour a week on it.’”

A believer in David Allen’s Getting Things Done time management system, Dr. Rich helps her clients create an organized system of to-do lists. “Many people operate from one list, and if you’re a business owner, you’ve outgrown one list,” Dr. Rich explains. “You’ve got a lot on your mind, and it’s pretty important to get those things out of your mind into some trusted system both so that you can manage and prioritize those to-do’s better, but also so that other people can step in and help with the many tasks that occupy your mental space.”

All in all, Dr. Rich believes a healthy workplace is one with a culture that encourages and supports taking time off. The APA 2018 Work and Wellness survey found that, for nearly two-thirds of working adults, the positive effects of time off disappear within a few days. However, when a company’s culture encourages time off, employees are more likely to benefit from vacation time and those benefits last longer.

“A coach can help you think through how to begin creating a culture of development for the people who work with you and also a culture where it is expected that you take vacation and you take time off and, of course, you have to model that yourself,” Dr. Rich says. “You have to provide positive feedback when your employees take vacation. Then they understand that part of the work that they do with you is that you’re helping them grow and develop so that you can also take that same time off.”

To learn more about executive coaching options Dr. Rich offers, visit richpotential.com.

This article is sponsored by Rich Potential.