6 tips to help you take a much-needed vacation

For business leaders, taking a vacation is often difficult. However, it's important to take a break to recharge yourself. It's good for your own personal health, and the health of your business as well.

Here are six timely tips from Marie-Claude Guilbert of the Groupe Conseils MCG to help make taking some crucial time-off a bit easier. 

1. Mark your vacation on your calendar

In the fast-paced business world, it's easy to find excuses for putting off vacations: strategic projects, important sales contracts, etc. Therefore, Guilbert suggests it's a good idea to schedule a one-hour meeting with your team two weeks before you're scheduled to leave to review all your top priorities. Why? That way you can make sure everyone's focus is on the right areas, "so you can go away with some peace of mind." 

2. Know how to delegate

According to Guilbert, it's a mistake to think a company can't function without its leader. Owners who put their company in jeopardy when they go away on vacation should seriously rethink the choice of their employees. That's why it's critical to have good people on your team. Delegate responsibilities to a core group you can trust. 

3. Show your employees you believe in them

A boss who never takes a vacation can undermine the employees' spirit, because it may be interpreted as a lack of trust. It's very gratifying for a team to have the boss say something like, "Congratulations! You did a great job holding down the fort." 

4. Ask your family for help

It's okay to ask your kids or spouse to help you shut down. Of course, one of the hardest things nowadays is to turn off your cellphone. It's rare to find a leader who can manage to store it away in a drawer for two or three weeks. The solution: give yourself 15 minutes a day to check for anything urgent. Ideally, it can wait until you return! 

5. Take a lifesaving mini-break

"I can't tell you how many business leaders I've heard say they weren't able to unwind during their vacation," says Guilbert. One tip she suggests is to schedule a few short trips on top of your annual vacation. For example, a fishing or hunting trip, or a short tropical getaway can be very restorative. 

6. Close down shop completely

Depending on the sector of activity, some business leaders chose to close down shop completely during vacation or holiday periods. Obviously, clients must be notified in advance. The benefit is that the entire team can return to the office with their batteries recharged. 

There's no one-size-fits-all solution for having a successful vacation. Every leader has to come up with their own based on their personality and field of activity. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal is the same: return to the office feeling rejuvenated. 

To start back on the right foot, Guilbert advises not leaving any files on your desk before you go away. That way, your vacation will be more relaxing, "and your first day back will be more enjoyable!" she concludes.