I recently had to take a week off work unexpectedly and dash off to Ontario when my step-son went into the hospital. An hour before we hit the road, I was emailing clients and friends with promises of finishing up projects as soon as I arrived at the hotel room.
Silly me! After a 20 hour road trip, all I wanted to do was get to the hospital. That remained my priority for the next 4 days and thoughts of newsletters and websites were long gone.
On the day I left, my friend said all my clients would surely understand if their newsletters were late going out. After all, they have families too. There is no doubt in my mind that all of my clients would have been supportive and accepted my apologies… if that had happened.
But that didn’t happen. The newsletters went out. The emails got answered. New sales were made. It was an unplanned test and we passed. Yay!
Last year I was smart enough to bring on a superwoman (Danielle) to work with me. Because we’ve been getting so busy this year, we have been diligent about documenting everything, from client schedules to step-by-step instructions. And it paid off!
I was mortified at the thought of letting my clients down. Danielle knew that and made sure it didn’t happen.
What did I learn?
- I can relax a bit and not be quite so focused on documenting everything (but just a bit).
- I now have a ton of confidence in Danielle taking over for me when need be. I dropped several balls that she picked up and juggled while I was gone.
- We are not profitable enough to do that for long, without losing money. Unless I don’t want to get paid!
- There are a few small holes we need to fill – and we will.
I’ve had much less success taking planned vacations in the past. This is the first time I’ve had a whole week off in a few years.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on September 25, 2012