So, I finally went on a break from the hustle of every day life and busy routine. What happened? Creativity struck as I walked through the oldest kauri forest in New Zealand! Ideas for this and that came flooding in, and it was almost overwhelming. I was meant to be having a break from all that right? I mean I literally added 20 hours that final week before I departed, getting everything ready, so I could step out of my business – it was exhausting!
I am used to getting up early, so whilst my family is in bed I’ve gotten up and watched the sun come up. Normally I do this from my clinic office as I do paperwork. Whilst I was away, I walked along the beach instead in Paihia, New Zealand. I know which one I would rather do on a permanent basis! So, I took a bunch of photos for my clinic wall, so I can take those precious glimpses with me.
It got me thinking. We can’t always jump on a plane and escape our routine life. But when we do, there’s things we can be proactive about to enable us to step out of running our business and regenerate our energy levels. Here’s my top tips!
1. Set an auto response on your email
Every email products and most social media forums have an ‘out of office’ response which can be set to advise all incoming mail recipients of your absence. We all take holidays, and it’s a great opportunity to continue to communicate with your audience, even though you’re not there! This function allows you to set your return date and include a customised message.
2. Change your mobile phone message
Just like your email, when customers and members of network contact you, it’s also great customer service to have a modified message on your phone. This message can advise that you’re presently not available, and, can include your return date. Your message can also direct people to your web page or other social media forums if required, for example “to book an appointment online go to my web page”!
You don’t have to miss out on prospective sales, just because you aren’t able to answer your phone.
3. Pack light
Unless you are backpacking, the accommodation you’re going to, generally has everything you need in terms of basics. Towels and basic item toiletries are provided, so leave your good stuff at home. It adds unnecessary weight to your luggage and tends to explode in your suitcase – creating another job for when you arrive.
I have recently travelled with active seniors who are avid campers and together we ‘recycled’ clothes or pooled washing. Their luggage was manageable and light, ours by comparison was not! It was a metaphorical lesson which made me look at what other ‘baggage’ I could let go of, or didn’t need.
4. Don’t look in the mirror
Because you didn’t pack your favourite hair conditioner and have just used the hotel’s conditioning shampoo and conditioner, when you dry your hair YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK DIFFERENT!!! And it wont be a look you generally go for!! So brush, tie back, put on deodorant and enjoy the day ahead. Besides you already know what you look like, do you really need to reaffirm it? When on holidays, appearances aren’t everything. Grooming and personal hygiene is optional, but preferred if traveling with others!
5. Hug a tree
Walking through a forest can be a delightful overwhelm to the senses! To start with there’s no white background noise. Don’t get me wrong, it can be noisy, but of the nature kind. Even something as simple as wind in the trees causing the leaves to rustle can be noisy. But I find it soothing and reassuring.
Secondly, the smell of the forest is lovely. Fresh. Organic. Real, no synthetic scents within the immediate vicinity. My senses were lovingly overwhelmed and distracted and I felt a deep connective sense of inner peace. Not once did I think of checking my emails, but rather how to capture the radiant sunlight shinning through the tree canopy.
If the forest isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps the beach is? Allow nature to overwhelm your senses and distract yourself from the busy daily routine. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can immerse yourself in nature and distract that busy entrepreneur mind to relax and let go a little.
6. Ask for a tour guide
When we visited the oldest kauri tree, we asked for a tour guide. We were fortunate enough to have an enthusiastic young indigenous man who was filled with both pride for his culture as well as strong botany factual knowledge. Being a qualified environmental scientist, I found our discussion both engaging and stimulating. Before I knew it half an hour had passed, and I hadn’t thought about business once.
Having access to the guide provided us with details that were not available on sign boards. Having previously worked for an environmental protection agency, I was able to converse of the legislative controls and politics involved with protecting such magnificence. The research data alone that warrants creation of legislative control is incredible.
A guide provides you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself into an experience without overtaxing your time or budget. You also gain stories you may not otherwise experience if just reading tourism boards.
7. Pack board games for the trip
We travelled with active seniors who instigated an electronic device free time period each day. My daughter completed homework, I read or walked. We even have played board and trivia games. During this time, I didn’t miss the social media newsfeed highlights once – I was far too busy!!!
I will admit to doing a little social media here and there. But it wasn’t daily, and that was refreshing as it was a break from the normal grinding routine.
8. Step out of your comfort zone
Sometimes, especially when in a new place, you have to take advantage of the ability to try new things. Whether it be hiking to a waterfall, watching the sun rise or set, or going zip lining. When our senior friend joked about wanting to go zip lining and asked whether I would go I laughed and said “sure”. She jumped up and down with glee and was delighted she finally had someone to go with her!
Once we hit Queenstown I was almost relieved that it was offseason and the zip line was closed. So we took a trip on the gondola instead and walked back down the mountain. Same same but different!
9. Quote of the day
Part of our recent trip, my daughter had to keep a travel journal for her school studies. We included pictures of our travels. For her maths homework she calculated distances travelled each day and the time taken for each leg of the trip. We also discussed fuel consumed and it’s associated price, as well as budgeting for various activities.
The highlight of these journal entries included documenting ‘quote of the day’. There was no shortage of frivolity or laughter both during the event or re-telling the story. Now that we are back and sorting through 1,000s of photos, my daughter’s story book is turning into a wonderful adventure to share with family and friends.
Quote of the day also enabled me to focus on being present. This focus brought me into ‘now’, rather than my ever evolving ‘to do list’. It is proving to be a new thing we will have in our household. I’ve realised you can’t put a price on the health benefits of laughter and shared some of the funnier stories in my private coaching tribe – #changetribe.
10. Technology addiction
I surprised myself with my avoidance of my phone, which is always on during business hours, checked and clients responded to. However, I have a new-found awareness that I enjoy scrolling through my news feed looking for updates from friends and family, or sharing pictures via messenger. I’ve also enjoyed capturing pics via Instagram.
It was refreshing to unplug and simply focus on me. Focus on my family. Focus on the adventure.
Who would have thought this technotard would embrace technology and social media so much? But when internet became patchy, or worse my international roaming didn’t work I found myself relieved. There has to be a balance somehow of immersing oneself into the trip, versus sharing the stories every minute of it.
11. Plan ahead and where possible automate or schedule
Prior to leaving for this latest trip I created and scheduled over 150 social media posts. The automation feature on Facebook for business pages was a godsend. You can also schedule posts from colleagues pages in order to vary up your content. I didn’t post anything random, it was all part of my strategic communication plan. Prior to leaving, I just knuckled down to ensure that from the outside looking in, my clients wouldn’t feel abandoned at my various sites. I still had a presence in a space I’ve worked hard to create.
12. Sew the seed of the next place you want to visit before this adventure ends
My family and traveling friends migrated throughout New Zealand so successfully over three weeks and 3,500 kms that we are now planning our next trip. This process started the day before we were due to return home. We spoke of our bucket list of destinations and why they were important. Openly acknowledging these dreams enables us to have clear communication about how we make this a reality. It helps us to goal orientate. It certainly helps me to return to clinic being grounded and centred, focused and balanced for both you my clients, but also for me.
Perhaps Paris in spring may be the next destination?
So my fellow entrepreneur, wishing you all the very best in planning and taking your next break from your business. May your experiences enrich your creative spirit and you return to your business with renewed enthusiasm!