Entrepreneurs need to find balance, it’s not a nice-to-have, but a must-have. With vacations looming, William Vanderbloemen takes a look at how to get the most out of your time.

Photo from Morgan Sessions via Unsplash

With Fourth of July weekend coming up, people across America are preparing to take time away from their busy lives and spend time with friends and family. For most people, vacation is a welcome change of pace. But for entrepreneurs, learning how to do vacation time well is a tricky balancing act. When your company is in a season of growth, you feel like there’s no time to rest because you want to ensure success is sustained. When your business’ growth is stagnate, it feels like there’s no time to rest because you have to figure out what’s going wrong and remedy it.

But resting well is vital for business leaders to achieve long-term success and prevent burnout. Learning how to vacation in a way that gives you an energy boost while keeping you accessible to your team is hard, but it is possible. Here are seven tips for getting the most out of your vacation while still keeping your finger on the pulse of your company:

1. Segment time.

Any entrepreneur knows that you can never completely unplug from your company. But if you’re going on vacation, you need to actually be on vacation. So how do you reconcile these two things? The best way is to segment your time. Set aside time for work, time for rest, and time for those around you. Then stick to it. If you let one segment bleed into the others, you’re robbing yourself of something you need.
2. 10-2-4 your emails.

Set aside specific times to catch up on emails. My friend Tim Sanders, former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo, used to use the old Dr. Pepper prescription as his email clock. At 10 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 4 in the evening he’d catch up on emails. Outside of that, he was present where he was. Find what works for you, and honor that.

3. Set your VIPs.

For the majority of emails, abiding by your set check-in times works great. But as entrepreneurs know, there has to be some level of access at all times in case an emergency or a great opportunity presents itself. The VIP setting on your iPhone’s email is a great way to give a few people emergency access to you while keeping some level of distance from the grind of work.

4. Know what energizes you.

Too often, people go away for a weekend only to return more tired than when they left. It’s usually because they spent time doing things that aren’t actually relaxing to them. Lying on the beach isn’t for everybody. For some, golf is restful. For others, sitting back and watching a movie or show does the trick. The key to getting rest that will rejuvenate you is knowing the things that energize you and the things that don’t.

5. Be intentional.

In the Christian and Jewish faiths, the first thing that God called “bad” was “for man to be alone.” When you’re spending time with your family, know that just sitting in the same room doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spending quality time together. For all the good technology provides, it can make family time feel like screen time if phones aren’t intentionally shut off.  Make sure that your focus is in the right place when you’re with loved ones.

6. Only work on new things and broken things.

My friend Dave Ramsey once gave me advice that changed the way I did work on vacation. He said that entrepreneurs should commit to working only on new things and broken things. Time away is great for dreaming about the future and gaining perspective on systems that aren’t working well. By keeping the focus on these two things, you’ll set yourself up for a productive vacation as well as a restful one.

7. Schedule a nap.

The schedule of an entrepreneur is non-stop. It’s exhilarating, rewarding, and exhausting. My advice? Schedule a nap when you’re on vacation. Time with friends and family is great, but sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is get an extra hour of sleep. You’ll feel refreshed and be a better leader for it.

Finding the right work-relax balance on vacation is a difficult thing for business leaders to achieve. But it’s worth it, and in the end, it contributes to the longevity, health, and sustainability of both you and your company.